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Is something interfering with your PC’s sleep pattern? These solutions are more effective than counting sheep.

Sleep mode is a great way of keeping your PC ready to go at a moment’s notice without wasting power. If it stops working, it can be a difficult problem to diagnose.

Like many common Windows issues, the best way to tackle this predicament is to try a variety of different solutions. Work your way through this list, and hopefully you’ll be able to give your computer a good night’s sleep.

Check Your Sleep Mode Settings

Before you dive into fixing sleep mode, it’s worth making sure that your settings are all in order. If you’re working on a shared computer or a PC that doesn’t belong to you, there’s a chance that someone else made a change that you don’t know about.

To access these settings, head to Power Options in the Control Panel and click Choose when to turn off the display.

Power Options in Windows 10

Confirm that the dropdowns labelled Put the computer to sleep: are set up properly. If your PC is going to sleep too soon, or taking too long to go to sleep, this should be your first port of call.

Your PC Won’t Go to Sleep

Sleep mode can save your monitor from burn-in and prevent your laptop from wasting its battery life. As a result, a PC that can’t enter sleep mode can cause big problems for one reason or another. Here are a few ways to force your system to get some rest.

Check Your Drivers

Start out by checking that your drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? First, don't fix it if it ain't broke! If drivers do need updating, though, here are your options. Read More are up to date. The most important ones to check in relation to sleep mode issues are chipset drivers, network drivers, and BIOS drivers. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you’re running the latest version of Windows 10.

Check for Power Requests

Software installed on your PC might interfere with sleep mode by sending power requests that keep the system awake. To see a log of all power requests, we need to open an elevated command prompt. Do this by right-clicking the Start button and selecting Command Prompt (Admin).

Enter the following command into the resulting window:

powercfg -requests

This will present a list of all active power requests. All categories should theoretically be empty. If they’re not, make a note of what is prompting the power request. This could be the reason your PC is failing to enter sleep mode.

If your PC is instead waking from sleep unexpectedly, you can use the following command to see what woke it most recently:

powercfg -lastwake

Run Built-In Utilities

One of the best things about using Windows is the amount of support that’s available. Windows 10 is kitted out with plenty of context-specific troubleshooting utilities 13 Troubleshooting Tools to Fix Windows 10 13 Troubleshooting Tools to Fix Windows 10 For every Windows issue, there's a tool you can use to fix it. Find your problem in this list and pick one of the 13 troubleshooting and repair tools for Windows 10. Read More and they can help bring your sleep mode woes to an end.

Open the Control Panel and head to the Troubleshooting section. Select View all to access a list of all the different troubleshooters installed on your device.

Windows 10 Troubleshooting Utilities

In this case, you’re looking for the utilities labelled Power and System Maintenance. Run them both and see whether sleep mode starts working.

Restart Your PC in Safe Mode

Sleep mode problems are often caused by a complication during the startup process. To check whether this is the case, restart your PC in safe mode How to Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode How to Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode Safe Mode is an inbuilt troubleshooting feature that allows you to fix issues at the root, without non-essential applications interfering. You can access Safe Mode in various ways, even if Windows 10 no longer boots. Read More and see whether it can go to sleep. If it can, you’ll need to perform a clean boot to see what’s at fault.

To execute a clean boot on Windows 10, open the System Configuration app. Head to the Services tab, check the box labelled Hide all Microsoft services, then click Disable all. This will ensure that only essential services will run.

Disable all startup services

Next, head to the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager. Disable every item that’s currently set to launch at startup. Finally, close Task Manager, click OK in the System Configuration window, and restart your system. If it’s able to go to sleep when it reinitializes, use trial and error to determine which particular service or startup item How to Manage Windows Startup Programs with Autoruns How to Manage Windows Startup Programs with Autoruns Every power user has wrestled with their Windows startup at one point or another. We show you how to speed up your boot time, either manually or with Autoruns, a tool from Microsoft. Read More was causing the problem.

Your PC Goes to Sleep Without Permission

A system that goes to sleep too often can be even more infuriating than a PC showing signs of insomnia. If your computer goes to sleep without your say-so, you run the risk of being interrupted in the middle of a task. Fortunately, this problem can typically be fixed quite easily, if you know which settings to adjust.

Restore System Defaults

The most straightforward way to prevent your PC from going to sleep randomly is to restore its default power settings. To do so, open up the Power & sleep section of the Settings app, and click Additional power settings.

Windows 10 Additional Power Settings

From here, select Choose when to turn off the display.

Choose when to turn off the display

Select Restore default settings for this plan. If this doesn’t work, or the option is not available, click Change advanced power settings.

Restore default settings for this plan

Click Restore plan defaults. If this doesn’t work, or the option is not available, use the dropdown menu to select a different plan, then try again.

Restore plan defaults

This should fix any problems with your power plan, leaving you free to adjust your settings without affecting sleep mode How to Shutdown or Sleep Windows 10 With a Keyboard Shortcut How to Shutdown or Sleep Windows 10 With a Keyboard Shortcut The fastest way to shut down or sleep a Windows 10 computer is not with a mouse -- it's with the keyboard! Read More .

Adjust Advanced Settings

If the method above doesn’t solve your problem, you may have to tweak your sleep settings individually. Open the Control Panel and navigate to Power Options, then click on Choose when to turn off the display. Next, click on Change advanced power settings.

Now scroll through the list until you find Sleep, and use the plus sign button to expand this section.

Power options in Windows 10

Adjust all these options to your specifications. It’s up to you whether you want your computer to go to sleep after a certain time, or never to enter sleep mode. Afterwards, click Apply and exit the menu.

Remove the Battery

If all else fails, and you’re working with a laptop, your battery might be the culprit. Remove it from your system and wait a few seconds, then re-insert it.

Sleep Well

Now you know how to troubleshoot sleep mode settings and deal with a PC that won’t go to sleep, as well as fixing a PC that randomly goes to sleep. Should you even use sleep mode or would you be better off with hibernation Sleep Mode vs. Hibernate Mode: Which Power-Saving Mode Should You Use? Sleep Mode vs. Hibernate Mode: Which Power-Saving Mode Should You Use? What exactly does Sleep mode do? How is it different from Hibernate mode, which is an extra option on Windows computers? Which should you choose, and are there downsides to using them? Read More ? If none of the above fixed your issues, maybe that’s a last resort.

Do you know another way to solve sleep mode problems? Is there a new fix that’s not mentioned here? Join the conversation in the comments section below!

Image Credit: goodluz, vectorisland via Shutterstock

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  1. Ron
    May 7, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Ever since the Creators update my monitors will not shut off. I have used a screen saver but since removed it in an effort to get the monitors to turn off as I have set them to.

    I have reset all power options to default, and removed any custom plans. I'm still trying to fix this issue but it's getting frustrating.

  2. BT
    January 18, 2017 at 7:04 am

    My sleep problem is different and no one seems to be talking about it.
    My computer goes to sleep but won't wake up. The only other option I have is to make it hibernate which takes much more time on both ends.
    Any suggestions?

  3. Logan
    January 17, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Then there are hardware issues. In the past I have had issues where a machine would power down instead of going into sleep mode. Turned out that power supply pin-9 (supplies power even when the machine is powered down to keep the motherboard alive for wake-up procedures) was bad and the motherboard was completely powered down. Something to keep in mind while troubleshooting.

  4. Timothy
    January 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    My laptop will always sleep when I'm running a backup or rendering a large file in Lightroom/Photoshop or any important activity if I have the lid closed. I have turned off every sleep option there is, even the screensaver. I even tried an app designed to prevent sleeping. Nothing stops it sleeping except leaving the lid open. It started in win 7 and continues in win 10. I think there must be a hidden sleep function that activates when the lid is down that was introduced by a windows update and is still part of windows 10. Or its a glitch that hasn't been fixed.