Friday, April 18, 2008

Vista, Hibernate and Windows Update

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My laptop lives a boring life. Every morning, I check news and e-mail before going to work. Then I put the machine in hibernate, just to be able to switch it on in half a minute. Maybe I'll go online while watching tv in the evening, and then it's back to hibernate. But in the middle of the night, my laptop lives it's own life. I started suspected something when I woke up to an empty battery every day. Strange. Annoying.

I found the problem after some days, when not hibernating, the battery was happy. But what was happening? As far as I know, hibernate means putting the machine in a power-off state - but saving the contents of RAM, enabling us to start from where we left off when we resume. Turns out this can't be quite true. Cause every night at 01:00 AM my computer would turn itself on - because I'd set Vista to check for automatic updates at that time.

I wasn't quite sure if this was real or not until today, when my colleague Petter showed up at work, telling me had discovered the same thing. His laptop woke him up at 4AM to get the newest updates.

So if you're having mysterious battery-trouble with a laptop running Vista - check your update settings.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted this. There should be more articles on this phenomenon.

After putting my computer into hibernate, and going to bed, I awoke at 3am to a bright screen and the whirring of the fan. I quickly sent the computer back to hibernate and went back to bed. In the morning when I wanted to resume work it came out of hibernate, only to then restart to install the latest updates it had downloaded.

Matt said...

That would be one solution, to do Vista Update during the day. If you want to keep it at night when you're not interrupted, you may be better off setting a sleep timer so that at 1:00 AM after the updates are done, you laptop goes back to sleep, say in 10 minutes. I found this written up here:

Josh said...

Are you certain that the computer is in Hibernate, and not Sleep, mode? Or perhaps, I think Vista supports a new "Hybrid-sleep", are you set to do this? See here

Try manually putting your laptop into hibernation (start-power menu-hibernate or if it is not listed, then the main power button is set to hibernate) with Windows Update set to go and see if it still exhibits this behavior.