Laptop shutdown button changed on Vista

September 12, 2007 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

I recently purchased an Acer laptop with Vista Basic install. I noticed that my laptop power light is on after shutdown. It turns out that I haven’t shutting down the laptop at all, but put the laptop to sleep instead. On a laptop under Vista, the shutdown icon actually make a laptop goes into sleep instead of shutting down the machine like in Windows XP.

What is Vista Sleep

Putting a laptop to sleep causes the laptop to go into a ACPI S3 state. At this state, your computer goes into a minimum power mode.  The screen turns off, the hard drives stops, and the CPU goes into a sleep state that draws a minimum amount of power.

Because a computer in sleep state still draws power, the battery will still run out eventually. The computer will go into hibernation mode after a specific amount of time or when the battery runs low. In hibernation mode, the entire content of your computer memory is saved to disk and the computer is turned off. In hibernation mode, the computer draws no power. When you start the computer, it goes out of hiberation and loads the memory back from the disk so you can resume where you left off.

How is Sleep different than Standby

In XP, you can put a computer into standby and get the same benefits as sleep. By default,  the power management dump the computer into hibernation mode when the battery is low. How is Sleep different than Standby then?

Apparently, Microsoft has made some improvement on how quickly a computer goes into standby/sleep mode, so it is a few seconds faster. In addition, programs under XP can veto your standby, so a programs can keep your machine from going into standby. Now, Vista goes to sleep regardless of how loudly these programs complaint. Those program may crash under Vista, but I haven’t seen any program that has caused problems. I also notice that when I have an USB external drive attached, my shutdown icon now has an exclaimation mark.

Essentially sleep and standby are the same thing. Microsoft has made some improvement, that’s all.


Entry filed under: Laptop, Vista, Windows.

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