PowerMAN Power Management for Group Policy and Active Directory - superb control of enterprise IT energy costs and waste. Measure, control and save Find Data Synergy Partner

Reducing energy waste (inactivity)

PowerMAN offers a variety of features that can be used to reduce waste (inactivity) levels. These features can be used in combination to achieve the best results for your environment. The exact settings you use will depend upon your organisation, user and maintenance requirements:

  • Idle (or "timeout") policies typically work best because they allow each computer independently reduce waste according to their own usage profile irrespective of general operating times. This strategy avoids a "one size fits all" approach.
  • Scheduled policies can make a significant difference (shutdown at night time and weekends) but may leave uncontrollable inactivity levels during ‘operating’ hours. This is sometimes desirable in timetabled environments such as schools. We recommend that wherever possible you use such policies in a secondary role rather than as your primary power management strategy.
  • The scheduled wake feature can be used to ensure computers are ready for use at the start of the day or to create a regular maintenance window for virus scans or system updates. Please remember that most workstations supports wake from the hibernate and sleep states (but not power off). This is due to hardware design.
  • A combination of "Default/Specific User" policies, that apply when users are logged on, and "No User" policies, that apply when nobody is logged on, may enhance energy saving by allowing a more aggressive savings strategy to be used when no user is present. In some circumstances, it may not be desirable to use any power management when users are logged on. The "No User" feature ensures this doesn’t mean power management is never used.

    NB: If the "Default" policy is already sufficient then a specific “No User” policy may not be required.
  • The logout feature can be used to transition abandoned user sessions to the No User policy state. This is ideal for hot desk / shared computing environment where there is frequent user turnover and the primary strategy is to manage power when no user is logged on. This feature may not be suitable for environments where a user has exclusive use of the PC and power management can be safely used without logging the user out first.
  • The policy enforcement feature can be used to remove PC ‘insomnia’ where applications or Windows services prevent the PC from entering a low power state for a prolonged period of time. Please remember to allow some time for legitimate system activity when the user is not present. A grace period of 10-15 minutes istypically appropriate.
  • It can often work best to initially activate only some modest power settings. This allows users to get used to the change and allows you to measure the effect. Typically, these may include turning off PC’s that are not logged on and turning off monitors after a few minutes. Once these changes are accepted by users, it may be possible to go further.
  • Consider enabling the PowerMAN user interface feature to allow selected users to opt-out or keep their PC awake. To avoid this feature being abused, we recommend this feature is only enabled sparingly to selected users with a specific authorised usage case:

    PowerMAN user interface tool

  • Remember. it can be helpful to communicate the energy strategy and on-going progress to users. Some organisations have reported that user participation may itself contribute to the organisations wider energy/cost saving goals and lead to further increased savings. With PowerMAN statistics, it may even be possible to create league table of the most wasteful computers or departments!
  • Above all, remember that you can continue to use the PowerMAN reporting system to monitor progress, track trends and resolve problems that may emerge in the future.

The following table explains two common scenarios:

  Common feature Possible solution

e.g. User dedicated PC

Majority of users leave systems on to avoid start-up delay and preserve work or allow remote access. Sleep / hibernate systems when not in use (including when users logged on). This preserves system state ready for later access by the same user.

Consider using scheduled wake for start of working day. Configure system for remote wake if remote access required and use a product like WakeMyPC to simplify end user remove access.

Hot desk office


Public access area

e.g. Non-dedicated PC

Users frequently change and therefore data preservation for extended periods is not required.
No requirement for remote access.
Log out / shutdown systems not in use. Consider using log out/hibernate or sleep to minimize delay at start-up.

If appropriate, use scheduled wake / shutdown to match user usage pattern.