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Chapter 35. The Registry > Tips from the Windows Pros: Power Management When Lo...

Tips from the Windows Pros: Power Management When Logged Out

In Chapter 31, "System Applets," you learned how to set your system's power management features to turn off your hard drive and monitor when you're away from your computer for a while. These settings are user-specific, and by now, you should be able to guess that they're stored in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. But what happens when nobody is logged in? There is no current user, right? Well, not really. When nobody is logged in, Windows uses the Registry keys under HKEY_USERS\ .DEFAULT as the "current user." This means that desktop and power management settings can be made in .DEFAULT to be applied when you log out.

I use this trick on all my computers to automatically turn off the monitor (and on some, the hard disk) when nobody is logged in. What I've done is set up .DEFAULT to put the monitor in standby when the system's been idle for one minute. When I log out at the end of the workday, the logon screen stays up for a minute; then blink! it's gone. A touch of the mouse brings it back when I want to log in again the next morning. This way, I can strike a balance between saving energy and being kind to the electronics, which hate being completely turned off and on every day.


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