Using Powercfg to Change a Setting in the Current Power Scheme

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated June 22, 2020)

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 tradeoff 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 want to change a value in the current power scheme. First, we'll get a list of the available power schemes (covered under another tip). (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Powercfg -list.

The way to change a value is to use the "-CHANGE" (or "-X") switch. The format of the command is

Powercfg -change <setting> <value>

Where <value> is a number of minutes, and <setting> is one of the following:

-monitor-timeout-ac
-monitor-timeout-dc
-disk-timeout-ac
-disk-timeout-dc
-standby-timeout-ac
-standby-timeout-dc
-hibernate-timeout-ac
-hibernate-timeout-dc

So, for example, if you wanted to set the monitor idle timeout value to 5 minutes when on AC power, the command would be:

Powercfg -change -monitor-timeout-ac 5

 This tip (13477) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Using Desktop Themes

Desktop themes allow you to quickly and easily personalize your system so that what you see and hear while working can be ...

Discover More

Using Robocopy to Mirror Directories

It's simple to use Robocopy when dealing with entire directories. Dealing with directories is what it does best! This top ...

Discover More

Customizing the SendTo Menu

The SendTo menu can be used to perform some handy tasks with files. By following the steps in this tip you'll be able to ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Generating a Power Efficiency Diagnostics Report

Your computer uses power to operate, and Windows has a great impact on how much power it uses. You can use a hidden ...

Discover More

Changing the MAC Address for a Network Adapter

MAC addresses are used to uniquely identify devices on your network, such as a network adapter. Here's how you can modify ...

Discover More

Using Powercfg to Change the Active Power Scheme

You can easily change which power scheme is active by using the SetActive switch. This tip shows you how.

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips