Specify and Force Custom Power Plans in Windows

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To specify and force a specific power plan in Windows, you can follow these steps.

1. Identify the Desired Power Plan

Before specifying a power plan, you need to identify which plan you want to enforce. This is done through the Command Prompt with administrative privileges.

  1. Open Command Prompt as an Administrator:
    • Search for ‘cmd’ in the Start menu.
    • Right-click on ‘Command Prompt’ and select ‘Run as administrator’.
  2. List Available Power Plans:
    • Type POWERCFG /LIST in the Command Prompt and press Enter.
    • This command displays all power plans available on your system.
    • Each plan is listed with a unique GUID and an asterisk (*) next to the active plan.
  3. Note Down the GUID:
    • Identify the power plan you wish to enforce from the list.
    • Write down or copy the GUID of this plan for later use.

2. Access the Local Group Policy Editor

The Local Group Policy Editor is a powerful tool in Windows that allows you to manage various system settings, including power plans.

  1. Open Run Dialog Box:
    • Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Launch Local Group Policy Editor:
    • Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog box and hit Enter.
    • This action will open the Local Group Policy Editor.

3. Navigate to Power Management Settings

Within the Local Group Policy Editor, you can navigate to the specific settings for power management to specify your desired power plan.

  1. Navigate to Power Management:
    • In the Local Group Policy Editor, go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Power Management.
  2. Find the Setting to Specify Power Plan:
    • Look for a setting named ‘Specify a custom active power plan’ or similar.
    • This setting is usually not configured by default.
  3. Prepare for the Next Steps:
    • Double-click on the setting to open its configuration window.
    • Keep this window open, as you will need to enter the GUID of your chosen power plan here.

4. Specify a Custom Active Power Plan

Once in the Power Management settings of the Local Group Policy Editor, you can proceed to specify your selected power plan.

  1. Access the Specific Setting:
    • Double-click on the ‘Specify a custom active power plan’ setting to open its configuration window.
  2. Enable the Setting:
    • In the configuration window, click on the ‘Enabled’ radio button.
  3. Enter the Power Plan GUID:
    • In the Options section, input the GUID of the power plan you noted earlier.
  4. Apply and Save Changes:
    • Click on ‘Apply’, then ‘OK’ to save your changes.
    • Close the Local Group Policy Editor.

5. Verify the Changes

After setting up the power plan in the Local Group Policy Editor, it’s important to verify that the changes have been applied correctly.

  1. Check Power Options:
    • Click on the battery icon in the taskbar notification area.
    • Try to change the power plan. If the settings are correct, you should not be able to modify the active power plan.
  2. Confirm via Command Prompt:
    • Open Command Prompt as an administrator again.
    • Type POWERCFG /LIST and press Enter. The plan you specified should be active and cannot be changed from here.

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6. Creating a Custom Power Plan via Control Panel

If you need to create a new power plan tailored to specific needs, you can do so using the Control Panel.

  1. Open Control Panel:
    • Search for ‘Control Panel’ in the Start menu and open it.
    • Go to ‘Hardware and Sound’ and then select ‘Power Options’.
  2. Create a New Plan:
    • In the Power Options panel, select ‘Create a power plan’ from the left-hand side.
    • Choose an existing plan that closely matches your needs as a starting point.
  3. Customize Your Plan:
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to customize your power plan. This includes setting display and sleep settings.
    • Give your new plan a descriptive name for easy identification.
  4. Save the Plan:
    • After making the desired changes, save the new power plan.

7. Manage Power Plan Settings

After creating your custom power plan, you can further manage and refine its settings to suit your specific requirements.

  1. Access Plan Settings:
    • Within the Control Panel’s Power Options, click on ‘Change plan settings’ next to your custom plan.
  2. Customize Settings:
    • Adjust settings for both ‘On battery’ and ‘Plugged in’ modes. This includes setting the time before the display turns off and the computer goes to sleep.
    • For more advanced settings, click on ‘Change advanced power settings’.
  3. Save Your Changes:
    • After making adjustments, click ‘Save changes’ to apply your new settings.

8. Export and Import Power Plans

You can export your custom power plan to a file, which can then be imported on another system or used as a backup.

  1. Export a Power Plan:
    • Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    • Type powercfg -EXPORT C:\path\to\file.pow {GUID}, replacing the path and GUID with your own, and press Enter.
  2. Import a Power Plan:
    • On the target system, open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    • Type powercfg -IMPORT C:\path\to\file.pow and press Enter.

9. Set the Default Power Plan

For systems with multiple users or specific requirements, you may want to set a default power plan that applies to all users.

  1. Identify the Plan’s GUID:
    • Use the POWERCFG /LIST command in an elevated Command Prompt to find the GUID of the plan you want to set as default.
  2. Modify the Registry:
    • Open Registry Editor by typing regedit in the Run dialog box (Windows Key + R).
    • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Power\PowerSettings.
    • Set the value of the ‘ActivePowerScheme’ to the GUID of your chosen plan.
  3. Apply Changes:
    • After modifying the registry, restart your computer to apply the new default power plan.

Additionally, Windows 10 offers downloadable registry files to specify default active power plans like “Automatic”, “High Performance”, “Power Saver”, or “Ultimate Performance”. After downloading the appropriate .reg file, you can merge it by double-clicking on it and following the prompts. A system restart may be required to apply the changes.

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