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?

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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.


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