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

Starting Programs Automatically at Startup

If you have programs that you want to automatically start when your system starts, this tip tells you how to set them up.

Discover More

Understanding the NTFS File System

The NTFS file system is at the core of the Windows operating system. This tip explains a bit about it.

Discover More

Checking the Archive Attribute with Robocopy

Robocopy can work on files according to each file's attributes. This tip shows you how to use Robocopy to only copy files ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Using Powercfg to Export and Import a Power Scheme

You can export to a file your power schemes and then import them later on. The only caveat is that you must be running as ...

Discover More

Using Two Monitors with Windows

Windows is great about letting you work on multiple things at the same time. Often, however, you end up with so many ...

Discover More

Updating a Device Driver

If you attach a new device to your computer or need to update a current device's driver, this tip provides the general ...

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 six minus 3?

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.