Last Updated on December 5, 2015 by Dave Farquhar
If you need to change power plans to manage your computer’s power usage, here’s the easiest way to do it without fumbling around in control panel. This works in either Windows 7 or Vista.
Create three shortcuts.
Right-click on your desktop and select New, Shortcut. Type powercfg -setactive SCHEME_MAX, click Next, type Maximum Performance, then click Finish.
Right-click on your desktop and select New, Shortcut. Type powercfg -setactive SCHEME_BALANCED, click Next, type Maximum Performance, then click Finish.
Right-click on your desktop and select New, Shortcut. Type powercfg -setactive SCHEME_MIN, click Next, type Maximum Performance, then click Finish.
Now right-click on each of those shortcuts and select Properties. Click in the Shortcut Key and hit a key. From then on, hitting Ctrl-Alt and the key you chose will select the shortcut for you. I use number keys, but you can use whatever you like.
If you don’t want to clutter your desktop, drag those shortcuts into your Start menu somewhere. They’ll still work, and you can access them from the keyboard shortcuts you assigned.
If you’d like to automatically shift performance, you can put those command lines into your task scheduler too, perhaps running the machine at full performance during the hours you use the computer most heavily, and shifting into minimum performance at times you typically need the computer on, but aren’t doing demanding things with it.
Every year I find little things like this that I can change to save some energy. My budget billing cycle just got adjusted, and it went down $7 per month this year. Some of those little things cost money and others don’t. This one doesn’t.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.