Using Powercfg to List Your Existing Power Schemes

by Barry Dysert
(last updated September 19, 2016)

As you may know, your computer can run under a variety of different power schemes. A power scheme is a collection of hardware and system settings that manage how your computer uses power. They are typically used the most with laptops, where it's more crucial to trade off between performance and battery preservation. Even a desktop machine can use them, though. There are three schemes that come with Windows by default. They are Balanced, High Performance, and Power Saver, and you can create others if none of these suits you.

There is a command utility in Windows called Powercfg, which provides a great deal of control over your power schemes. (You can use the GUI for much of this functionality, too, but a lot of people prefer using the command line.) Powercfg takes numerous switches to tell it what you want to do regarding your power schemes. To see all of the switches available to Powercfg, invoke it with the "-HELP" (or "-?") switch.

For this tip we just want to list the power schemes that are in your current environment. The switch to do this is the "-LIST" (or just "-L") switch. Case is ignored, so even though I'll provide the examples in lowercase, you can use uppercase if you prefer. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Powercfg -list.

This example shows that I have three power schemes (their names are on the right in parentheses). I have the default Balanced, High performance, and Power saver schemes. The asterisk at the end of the "Balanced" line denotes that this is the currently active scheme.

Note the GUIDs that are listed with each scheme. These are important to other Powercfg commands.

 This tip (13470) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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