Using Powercfg to Change the Active Power Scheme

by Barry Dysert
(last updated October 31, 2016)

1

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

Figure 1. Powercfg -list.

As you can see, there's an asterisk on the right of the Balanced line, denoting that it's currently the active scheme. Let's say that we instead want the High performance scheme to be active. You do this by specifying the "-SETACTIVE" (or "-S") switch followed by the GUID of the scheme you want to be active: (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Powercfg -setactive.

Now the asterisk is beside the High performance scheme, denoting it's now the active one.

 This tip (13491) 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

Understanding the Search Index

You can utilize Explorer's search utility to find text within files. To make searches fast, Windows maintains a search ...

Discover More

Moving Your Downloads Folder

If you're on the Internet a lot, chances are you do a lot of downloading. By default, your Downloads folder is on your C: ...

Discover More

Setting Up Your Wi-Fi Enabled Computer As a Hotspot

If your computer is Wi-Fi enabled, you can easily set it up to be a hotspot. This tip shows you how.

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Checking for Faulty RAM

Although it's rare for RAM to go bad, it does happen. This tip tells you how to check for faulty RAM by using the Windows ...

Discover More

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

Determining the MAC Address for a Network Device

MAC addresses are used to uniquely identify devices attached to your network. If you need to figure out what MAC address ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

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}] 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 five less than 7?

2016-10-31 12:00:14

Henry Noble

My primary use for Powercfg is to turn off hibernation and remove hiberfil.sys. From an admin command prompt, enter:

powercfg /h off

Hibernation is a function whose time has passed, and hiberfil.sys is a big waste of space on a small SSD in a laptop.


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.