How to Change Windows Sleep Settings

Control when your Windows PC sleeps

Computer asleep with ZZZ in dialog bubble on the screen

alexmillos / Getty Images

Your computer goes dark after a specific amount of time, too. Most of the time, the computer goes to "sleep." If you find yourself having to wake your computer from sleep more than you'd like or you'd like it to go to sleep sooner, you can change the preconfigured, factory settings.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, 8.1 and 7. If you have a Mac, check out this great article about changing sleep settings for the Mac.

To Change Sleep Settings on Any Windows Computer, Select a Power Plan

Screenshot of Power Options in Windows 10

All Windows computers offer three power plans, and they each have different settings for when the computer sleeps. The three plans are Power Saver, Balanced, and High Performance. One way to quickly change Sleep settings it to choose one of these plans.

The Power Saver plan puts the computer to sleep the fastest, which is a great option for laptop users who want to get the most out of their battery or those simply trying to save electricity. Balanced is the default and is often the best option for general users, as it is neither too restrictive or too limiting. High Performance leaves the computer active the longest before it goes to sleep. This setting will result in the battery draining more quickly if left as the default.

To select a new Power Plan and apply its default Sleep settings, open Power Options.

There are several ways to do so depending on the Windows version you're using, but one method that works in any version is to press Win+R to open the Run dialog box, type in powercfg.cpl, and press Enter.

  1. In the Power Options window, select the arrow next to Show Additional Plans to see the High Performance option.
  2. To see the default settings for any plan, select Change Plan Settings next to the Power Plan you are considering. Then, select Cancel to return to the Power Options window. Repeat as desired.
  3. Select the Power Plan to apply.

Although you can make changes to the Power Plan using the method described here, we think it’s easier (and a best practice) for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 users to learn to make the changes in Settings, which is detailed next. 

Change Sleep Settings in Windows 10

Screenshot of Power & Sleep settings in Windows 10

To change Sleep settings on a Windows 10 computer using Settings:

  1. Select the Start button in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  2. Type sleep and select Power & Sleep Settings, which will likely be the first option.
  3. Select the arrow by the drop-down lists to configure the settings exactly as you want. 
  4. Select the X in the top right corner of this window to close it. 

On laptops, you can make changes based on whether the device is plugged in or on battery power. Desktop computers only offer Sleep options for when the computer is plugged in though because they do not have batteries.  

Change Sleep Settings in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

A screen shot of the Windwos 8.1 Start screen with a search for Sleep settings.

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 computers offer a Start screen. To get to this screen tap the Windows key on the keyboard. Once at the Start screen:

  1. Type sleep.
  2. In the results, select Power and sleep settings.
  3. Select the desired options from the resulting lists to apply them.

Change Sleep Settings in Windows 7

Screenshot of Windows 7 Power Options.

Windows 7 doesn’t offer a Settings area like Windows 8, 8.1, and Windows 10. All changes are made in Control Panel, including those for Power and Sleep. Open Control Panel by selecting the Start button and then Control Panel.

Once in Control Panel:

  1. Select the Power Options icon.
  2. Select the desired Power Plan and then select Change Plan Settings.
  3. Use the ​lists to apply the desired settings and select Save Changes.
  4. Close Control Panel by selecting the X in the top right corner of the window.