Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ecobutton functionality in Windows XP SP3 for free

I like the idea of the ecobutton, but recently I love the idea of getting the ecobutton for free. By the way, this only works in Windows XP SP3.

Here is the basics of how the ecobutton works. There are six power states that a computer can be in, S0 to S5.
S0 = When the computer is on and using the most power.
S1 = Basic Standby (Shallow sleep). Typically wakes up in no more than two seconds
S2 = Less power consumption than S1 and greater than in S3. Wake up is usually two seconds or slightly more.
S3 = Less power consumption than in S2. Wake up time is the same as S2.
S4 (hibernate) = The lowest power state but with a long wake up time - sometimes a few minutes or more. 
S5 = The real lowest state. When the computer is off and using no power.

Most computers come with S2 and S3 disabled leaving just the most shallow sleep state (S1) and the deepest (S4 hibernate) available to most users. Most people tend not to use hibernate due to the length of time the PC takes to wake up leaving just S1 as the only convenient option. 

The ecobutton puts the computer into the S3 state wherever possible. However, if one could enable S3 on their computer, they could get the ecobutton functionality (in other words, put the computer in a low power state) for free. I have discovered the way to do this on Windows XP SP3.

Here is an easy way to check if you have S3 functionality on your computer.

  1. Click Start --> Run
  2. Type in cmd (without quotes) and press enter. 
  3. In the command prompt, type powercfg -a and press enter. 
  4. The following screen will show which sleep functionalities you have. 
From the command prompt screen, we can see that I do not have S1, S2, S3 and S4 (hibernate). Keep reading to get ecobutton for free.

Important quick note: This guide might lead to your computer not waking up from sleep mode just be moving the mouse or typing on the keyboard. This is one reason that you might want the ecobutton, as it can wake your computer up by just be pressing a button. Note, this does not apply to all USB devices. My keyboard and mouse can wake my computer up from sleep mode.
Steps to getting Ecobutton functionality free: enable S3 functionality
  1. Download a registry file that enables S3 sleep functionality from here. 
  2. Right click the file and click Extract All.... 
  3. Click Next twice and then click Finish
  4. Double click the registry file. (the file with an icon of stack cubes). 

    Disclaimer: I will not take any responsibility for any damages on your computer for following these instructions. I did it and it have no negative effect. What you do to your computer is your choice. 

    1 comment:

    1. Thanks. It all worked out. If I go into standby the usual way, does it go into the ecobutton mode now