I don’t know if my computer is broken or what, but my new Dell XPS laptop keeps running when I close the lid on it and it’s effectively meaning that the battery is always completely drained. Not good at all, I need it for taking notes in class! Is the action that happens when I close my laptop PC something I can configure?
You can most definitely tweak your PC settings to define exactly what happens when you close the lid of your Dell XPS laptop. In fact, there are a ton of things you can change to have the interaction between your hardware and Windows work the way you want, and the newer your version of Microsoft Windows, the more flexibility you have in this regard.
You are going to bump into the sleep vs. hibernation question, however, which is something we should talk about before you decide exactly how your Dell should act. Problem is, even Microsoft’s a bit ambiguous about the difference between the two. Both are intended to switch the computer into a lower power consumption mode (which is what ‘sleep’ does in general) but the difference is that “sleep” keeps whatever’s in memory intact, while “hibernate” copies everything in your computer’s memory onto your hard disk.
Theoretically sleep should be fastest to wake and be ready to go, with hibernate just a few seconds slower, but the real difference comes if your computer completely runs out of power. A computer that’s dead and is subsequently plugged into the wall can successfully waken from hibernation, but can’t awaken from sleep because the computer’s wiped its memory image due to the power-related restart.
Make sense? Yeah, not so much to me either. Microsoft recommends that laptops use hibernation while desktops (e.g. systems that are always powered up) use sleep. Wanna make this even more complex? Windows 7 also has something called hybrid sleep which is optimized for desktop systems, so you probably don’t want to use it on your XPS laptop.
Now, let’s see how you can set your laptop PC to go to “sleep” when you close the lid…
Go to “Control Panels” off the START menu and you’ll see this:
Click on the section title “System and Security” and you’ll see the many, many things you can adjust to have the system behave as you’d prefer:
Scroll down to find the power options and click on the link “Change what the power buttons do” to reach the key area we seek:
Notice that the third option is “When I close the lid” and the behavior can be different based on if you’re plugged in or running on battery. I have mine set to “sleep” (oops!) so I’ll go ahead and change it to “hibernation” as per Microsoft’s recommendation:
Done? Click “Apply” and close the window. Now close the lid and your computer will be having a lovely little nap instead of sucking your battery dry.