Daydreaming Laptops

Windows XP laptops continue to "sleep" from Standby mode.

Question: My laptop users have this nagging problem. They close the lid on their laptops, which puts them in Standby. When they open the lid, the screen stays black. I know the machine wakes up because I can make a network connection, but users can't get any screen action at all. They have to do a cold restart.

We're running Windows XP Service Pack 1 on a mix of Dell, HP and Toshiba laptops. Not all the laptops have the problem, but it shows up on any vendor's box. What's up?

Get Help from Bill

Got a Windows or Exchange question or need troubleshooting help? Or maybe you want a better explanation than provided in the manuals? Describe your dilemma in an e-mail to Bill at; the best questions get answered in this column.

When you send your questions, please include your full first and last name, location, certifications (if any) with your message. (If you prefer to remain anonymous, specify this in your message but submit the requested information for verification purposes.)

Answer: It just so happens that I know the solution to this problem because I was also afflicted by it. It turns out to be caused by a race condition in the power management software. It's documented in KB Article 833740, "The monitor does not turn on when you open the lid after you configure the energy-saving settings on a Windows XP-based portable computer."

The problem is supposed to be fixed in Windows XP SP2, but I'm running the release candidate and I still get the symptom. Maybe the fix is in the gold code that was released a couple of days ago. I'll let you know as soon as I get a copy installed on a test laptop.

The workaround is to add a key (not a value, but a key) to the Registry. Here are the details:

Parent key: HKLM | System | CurrentControlSet | Control | GraphicsDriver
New key: LidCloseSetPower

As soon as I added this Registry hack on my laptop and rebooted, I did not experience the symptom any longer. I haven't had any odd side effects, other than a strange compulsion to watch Charmed on The WB network.

May the Power of Three protect you.

About the Author

Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.

comments powered by Disqus

Reader Comments:

Wed, Sep 29, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

good info

Wed, Sep 29, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

very useful

Tue, Sep 28, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

great info

Fri, Aug 27, 2004 Joe Missouri

I have a win book laptop and I run win2000 Pro and it will do the same when it falls asleep as well.I tried your Idea, and it is still continues. But my other system (dell's) no longer have the problem.

Sun, Aug 22, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous


Sat, Aug 14, 2004 Darrell Maryland

I have a Dell Inspiron 8600 w/XP SP1. This fix doesn't seem to work while my notebook is plugged in recharging. Can anyone confirm this?

Thu, Aug 12, 2004 Andrew S Australia

Great fix. I have had this issue enough for it to be anoying, but not often enough to do anything about it. I will put the fix to the test now.

Tue, Aug 10, 2004 mb Anonymous

I have this problem on a VAIO with a clean Win2k install. It has been very annoying. I plan to try the work around.

Tue, Aug 10, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

good info

Tue, Aug 10, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous


Tue, Aug 10, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

"Power of Three"...LOL!

Tue, Aug 10, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

That should be GraphicsDrivers with an "s".

Tue, Aug 10, 2004 Gill S'Pore

The problem happens with folks who buy laptops with 98 or 95 and upgrade to Windows Xp or 2000.

Add Your Comment Now:

Your Name:(optional)
Your Email:(optional)
Your Location:(optional)
Please type the letters/numbers you see above

Redmond Tech Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.