How To Prevent Your Computer From Sleeping

Windows has several default power saving features such as sleep mode, monitor power off and a screensaver. These features can be useful to conserve energy – especially on mobile devices like laptops and netbooks.

However, they  come into play after a period of keyboard/mouse inactivity which can cause problems – you may not be using the keyboard or mouse but you may still be using your computer e.g. to play music or watch a video.

In such cases you don’t want to be interrupted by the computer deciding to go to sleep or the monitor turning off… To stop your computer going to sleep you could change several of your computer’s power management settings temporarily but would have to change them back again afterwards.

An easier way of doing it is to use a recently updated program called Don’t Sleep. [I reviewed a more basic program, Insomnia, last year but it has not been updated since and does not have as many features as Don’t Sleep]

Don’t Sleep is a tiny free portable Windows program that stops your computer going to sleep as long as it is running – it works on Windows 7 and 8, Vista and XP. It can prevent system shutdown, Standby, Hibernate, Turn Off and Restart. It can also prevent logging off the computer, deactivation of the monitor or activation of the screen saver.

Download Don’t Sleep from the developer here (link is at top of the page). Extract the zip file to reveal the DontSleep.exe program – copy this to your desktop or elsewhere if you want to make it easier to find.

Run DontSleep.exe to open the program. If you see a security warning, untick the ‘Always ask…’ box to avoid seeing that message again – especially important if you intend to set DontSleep to start up with Windows.

The program now opens – there are many options but they are pretty self-explanatory:

dontsleep2

Don’t Sleep program window

  • Block Standby/Hibernation/Shutdown/Log-Off/Screensaver
  • A timer allows time control to unblock or shutdown the computer for a specified time
  • Enable/disable the Don’t Sleep prevention
  • Exit the program or minimize to the system tray (bottom right of screen)

Whilst Don’t Sleep is running (and Enabled) your computer should not go to sleep, turn off the monitor or display screensavers etc – depending on the options you chose.

If you want to revert back to your standard power saving settings, just Exit the program or set it to Disabled.

Don’t Sleep – Autorun

You can set Don’t Sleep to automatically start up with Windows (ans set to either Enabled or Disabled) and can also choose to start it minimized in the system tray.

These advanced settings are found in the Options as shown below:

dontsleep3

DontSleep autorun options

Impact On System Resources?

I am usually wary of programs which run continuously in the background in case they impact on system resources i.e. slow down the computer.

But Don’t Sleep is so tiny it makes no real difference. In my tests it used 0% of CPU power and less than 1MB of RAM which is nothing – a web browser can use 400MB+ of RAM to display just a few webpages…

Tech Notes

The program is portable (no need to install) and settings are saved in a .ini file – it does not alter your standard power saving options.

If you choose to autorun Don’t Sleep it places an entry in the registry at the usual startup location (Windows\Current Version\Run) – you can see this using Msconfig.

To ‘uninstall’ the program, first ensure it is set to not start with Windows, then just delete the DontSleep.exe program file (and the DontSleep.ini file if you want to be thorough).

Conclusion

Don’t Sleep is a simple but highly effective way to prevent your computer from sleeping – and from many other actions that could otherwise interrupt you.

It makes it easy to temporarily turn off power saving features, without having to reconfigure them every time.