Never, ever, EVER wake a computer from suspend without user consent

I am not a happy camper.

Today, I got in to work and unpacked my laptop from my laptop bag and discovered that it had gone into hibernation due to a critically low battery event. That was fairly strange, because last night I had suspended my laptop (fully charged) and placed it into my laptop bag. Somehow, it managed to consume a full battery charge between my putting it into my bag last night, and my getting in to work.

This is obviously not good, because it meant that the laptop had to have been powered on while in my laptop bag for it to have possibly used that much battery power (a night in suspend is a drop in the bucket as far as battery life is concerned). Let me tell you a thing or two about laptop bags: they’re typically padded (in other words, also typically insulated to a degree) and generally don’t have a whole lot of ventilation potential designed into them, at least as far as laptop compartments go. Running a laptop in a laptop bag for a protracted period of time is a bad thing, that’s for certain.

Given this, I was not all that happy to discover that my laptop had indeed been resumed and had been running overnight in my laptop bag until the battery got low enough for it to go into emergency hibernate mode. (Fortunately, it appears to have sustained no permanent damage from this event. This time….)

So, I set out to find out the culprit. The event log showed the system clearly waking just seconds after the clock hit 3AM local time. Hmm. Well, that’s a rather interesting thing, because Windows Update is by default set to install updates at 3AM local time, and this Tuesday was Patch Tuesday. A quick examination of the Windows Update log (%SystemRoot%\WindowsUpdate.log) confirmed this fact:

2007-09-13 03:00:11:521 408 f4c AU The machine was woken up by Windows Update

Great. Well, according the event logs, it ran for another 1 hour and 45 minutes or so before the battery got sufficiently low for it to go into hibernate. So, apparently, Windows Update woke my laptop, on battery, in my laptop bag to install updates. It didn’t even bother to suspend it after the fact (gee, thanks), leaving the system to keep running until either it ran out of battery or something broke due to running in a confined place with zero ventilation. Fortunately, I lucked out and the former happened this time.

But that’s not all. This is actually not the first time this has happened to me. In fact, on August 29 (last month), I got woken up at 3AM because Windows Update decided to install some updates in the middle of the night. That time, it apparently needed to reboot after installing updates, and I got woken up by the boot sound (thanks for that, Windows Update!). At the time, I wrote it off as “intended” behavior, as the system happened to be plugged in to wall power overnight and a friend pointed out to me that Windows Update states that while plugged in, it will resume a computer to install updates and put it back into suspend afterwards.

Well, that’s fine and all (aside from the waking me up at 3AM part, which sucked, but I suppose it was documented to be that way). Actually, I’ll take that back, my computer waking me up in the middle of the night to automatically install updates is far from fine, but that pales in comparison to what happened the second time around. The powering the system on while it was on battery power to install updates, however, is a completely different story indeed.

This is, in my opinion, a spectacular failure of the “left hand not knowing what the right is doing” sort at Microsoft. One of the really great things about Windows Vista was that it was taking back power management from all the uncooperative programs out there. Except for, I suppose, Windows Update.

Consider that for a portable (laptop/notebook) computer, it is often the case that it’s downright dangerous to just wake the computer at unexpected times. For example, what if I was on an airplane during takeoff and Windows Update decided that, in its vast and amazing knowledge of what’s best for the world, it would just power on my laptop and enable Bluetooth, 802.11, etc. Or say my laptop was sitting in its laptop bag (somewhere I often leave it overnight to save myself the trouble of putting it there in the morning before I go to work), and it powers on to do intensive tasks like install updates and reboot with no ventilation to the system, and overheats (suffering irrreparable physical damage as a result). Oh, wait, that is what happpened… except that the laptop in question survived, this time around. I wonder if everyone else with a laptop running Windows Vista will be so lucky (or if I’ll be so lucky next time).

What if I was for some reason carrying my laptop in my laptop bag and, say, walking, going up a flight of stairs, running, whatnot, and Windows Update decided that it was so amazingly cool, that it would power on my computer without asking me and the hard drive crashed from being spun up while being moved under unsafe (for a hard drive) conditions?

In case whoever is responsible for this (amazingly negligent) piece of code in Windows Update every reads this, let me spell it out for you. Read my lips (or words): It is unacceptable to wake my computer up without asking me. U-N-A-C-C-E-P-T-A-B-L-E, in case that was not clear. I don’t care what the circumstances are. It’s kind of like Fight Club: Rule no. 1 is that you do not do that, ever, no matter what the circumstances are. And I really dare anyone at Microsoft to say that by accepting the default settings for Windows Update, I was consenting to it running my laptop for prolonged periods of time in a laptop bag. Yeah, I thought so…

You can absolutely bet that I’ll be filing a support incident about this while I do my best to have this code, how shall I say, permanently evicted from Windows Update, on behalf of all laptop owners. I can see how someone might have thought that it would be a cool idea to install updates even if you suspend your computer at night (which being the default in Vista would happen often). However, it just completely, jaw-droppingly drops the ball with portable computers (laptops), in the absolute worst way possible. That is, one that can result in physical damage to the end user’s computer and/or permanent data loss. This is just so obvious to me that I literally could not believe what had happened when I woke up, that something that ships by default and is turned on by default with Vista would do something so completely stupid, so irresponsible, so negligent.

I was pretty happy with the power management improvements in Windows Vista up until now. Windows Update just completely spoiled the party.

The worst thing is that if the consequences of resuming laptops without asking weren’t already so blindingly obvious, this topic (forcing a system resume programmatically) comes up on the Microsoft development newsgroups from time to time, and it’s always shot down immediately because of the danger (yes, danger) of unexpected programmatic resumes with laptop computers.

(Sorry if this posting comes off as a bit of a rant. However, I don’t think anyone could disagree that the possibility of Windows Update automatically powering on the laptop in the scenarios I listed above could possibly be redeemable.)

41 Responses to “Never, ever, EVER wake a computer from suspend without user consent”

  1. Brian V says:

    Why don’t you use hibernate instead? Seems like a simple solution.

    I’ll grant you some applications I leave running on my laptop don’t play nicely with hibernate at times, but I rarely have issues with it. On average I go 3-4 weeks without reboot using hibernate whenever I put it away. It only takes about 30-40 seconds to resume from hibernate, so unless you’re especially pedantic about losing another minute of your life … :)


  2. Nate says:

    The problem is partially one of hardware support. There is a wake timer as part of the RTC. So it has to wake up first to figure out if it’s on AC power. OEMs could put custom firmware in the embedded controller which delays a wake event if not on AC power, even if the RTC signalled it. But MSFT can’t really make that happen for a given laptop.

    The best they could do while supporting this “feature”, is wake, check AC status, and then suspend if on battery. An even better additional improvement is to check link status. If no 802.11 or ethernet connection, suspend again. It’s unbelievable that it didn’t suspend after the update program ran, found it couldn’t connect, etc.

    I turn off automatic updates for this kind of issue, as well as wanting others to beta-test the updates the first 24 hours for me.

  3. Nate says:

    BTW, if waking from suspend-to-ram, I’d like to see OSs do more to prevent a hard drive spinup. With the amount of ram these days, they should be able to pre-cache anything needed to check the state of the system after waking. That way they could wake, check AC power, then suspend without ever even turning on the harddrive.

  4. Skywing says:

    Well, there are a couple of problems with that…

    1. Hibernate is slow (for me). Especially when you have 4GB of RAM – it sucks to have to wait around for a minute or more when you’re done with a session and have somewhere to be other than waiting around for a laptop to finish writing RAM out to disk. I remember it being much more timely on my old old 512MB laptop, but part of the price that I pay for lots of RAM is slower hibernate times.
    2. Resume from hibernate is slow, and even after the system boots back up, it tends to (in my experience) be sluggish for awhile afterwards, like it’s still bringing parts in from the hiberfile that were marked as pagable.

    If I’m not going to be using the system for days at a time, sure, hibernate’s acceptable to me. But for every day use, the overhead compared to suspend/resume gets to be too annoying for me to prefer using it if posssible. (I tried using hybrid sleep when I first installed Vista, which is essentially save RAM to disk like in hibernate, but only power down to suspend. Even that was annoyingly slow to sleep, although if you resume from suspend instead of power off it does circumvent the slow resume problem.)

    Obviously, if it’s the only option, I’ll use it. But it would suck to have to ditch suspend because of… this.

  5. Skywing says:

    Nate: Yeah, I figured that at least part of the problem is an inability to configure a resume to only work on AC power. But I’m really surprised that at the very least, the OS have something that goes to the effect of doing “oh, whoops, I’m on battery power, I had better go resume again ASAP” when this situation occurs.

    In fact, I think it would have just been better to turn off the automatic resume stuff entirely if it looks like the system is a portable computer (I am not an expert on ACPI, but I would hazard a guess that between things like “has an ACPI lid”, “has a built in battery”, “has an ACPI AC adapter”, one could make a reasonably accurate assumption). Best to play it safe than sorry and just tell the user on resume that the system needs to install updates, IMO, especially considering the consequences of blindly plowing ahead with running the system on battery in an unexpected situation.

    Obviously, none of that is really ideal, but it seems reckless (at best) to have gone the approach that Microsoft went, which is essentially playing dice with your hardware.

  6. Koby Kahane says:


    Just a note that you can apparently turn off this behavior of the Windows Update Agent through its group policy settings. Start gpedit.msc and in Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update, the “Enabling Windows Update Power Management to automatically wake up the system to install scheduled updates” group policy setting is accessible.

    This, along with the default of restarting the system after automatic update installation, should indeed be changed. I was hoping to see Vista’s Restart Manager reduce update-induced rebooting more than it actually has, unfortunately.

  7. Skywing says:

    Koby: Nice catch with the GPO setting. Time to go fire up gpedit on my DC…

  8. Koby Kahane says:

    Just to clarify for anyone reading this, Local Group Policy settings can be applied, for those of us without a DC in their house. Changing the settings in gpedit.msc will result in a local registry change.

  9. hapbt says:

    if it wasn’t so painfully awfully horribly insanely easy to turn off automatic updates you might have something like a point
    especially if, as you said, it hadn’t already happened to you

  10. Skywing says:

    Sure, if I wanted to disable AU, I could have. But I prefer to use it on systems that are not always behind highly restrictive inbound/outbound firewalls, or on client systems. Those sorts of systems are the types that it is necessary to make a priority to upgrade, and automatic installation of that saves me quite a lot of running around playing Patch Brigade.

  11. Jay says:

    Even simpler, turn the thing off. It’s easy to blame Microsoft for their failures, but perhaps we can take a look at our own points of failure (being lazy, too busy, etc.), to ensure that our equipment, not to mention our life (given the problems with lithium-ion batteries of late) is assured of being around for future use. If your life has reached a point where a pause of a minute or two is beyond your level of acceptance, then perhaps it’s time to sit down and re-think your priorities.

    One other point…AU doesn’t HAVE to run at 03:30, nor every day. That’s YOUR choice. Change it to a more convenient time, and have it run weekly. Once you’ve done the initial updates, a weekly update really is sufficient.

  12. Skywing says:

    Yes, certainly, I could have turned it off, and now that I know about this little problem with it, I’m certainly going to make changes on my end. That doesn’t mean that Microsoft shouldn’t fix the bug.

    Hindsight is 20/20. In retrospect, it’s easy to say that “knowing what may happen, I wouldn’t use suspend with AU enabled”, but I am, alas, not prescient.

  13. ac says:

    According to one msdn blogger any program can configure that wake up event – though might require admin privs.

    I think that’s a great feature but it has to be exposed similar to startup programs -> UI to configure which programs are allowed to wake.

  14. Mike says:

    I like jays idea, just turn it off? but considering vista has long start up times and wastes more resources then Microsoft did making it. i mean it uses 400% more resources then XP? and whats so bad about XP that we need vista other then maybe direct x10 and constant nagging if i want to open a file.. or do anything for that matter. not to mention the driver hassle. Sure some people have no trouble with drivers but my friend bought a brand new gateway with vista and got more blue screens of death in 6 hours then i have in my entire life.

  15. Eric says:

    Interesting to see a fellow Robert Jordan fan on here.

  16. nksingh says:

    Thanks for opening a support incident. Please tell us if any progress is made on this issue, so that more people can petition for this change if it is needed.

  17. Nitwit says:


  18. glassbeat says:

    4GB of RAM? Why? Do you have a 64-bit system? If not, then your x86 can’t even see but maybe 3GBs of that 4.

  19. Skywing says:

    It’s a 64-bit processor (Core 2) on a chipset that evidently only supports a 32-bit physical address space. (Yes, the system is being run in native 64-bit mode. However, because the chipset only supports a 32-bit physical address space, some RAM is still lost due to memory-mapped I/O. This is kind of annoying, since 36-bit physical address space has been around since the P6 days. Oh well.)

  20. Vanessah says:

    This is why I just turn my laptop off when I’m done for the night. xD

  21. ak5 says:

    Even though I know that this entry is almost a month old, I’d like to offer my two cents, knowing that I might well get flamed for even suggesting what I am about to.

    If it is an option, switch to Linux.

    The way I see it, with Ubuntu Feisty on my laptop (a Compaq Presario v5209us), I need about 30 seconds to boot – so I rarely suspend or hibernate. Even if you have to, only good will become of it – or so I hear. I am convinced that all problems have been already or will be fixed by the time Gutsy arrives.

    Problems with software are history when using Linux, because Linux is about choice. You have full control over your hardware because you have full control over you software. Only google skills are required to completely customize your whole system – hundreds of how-tos on this subject exist online.

    Please excuse my typical Linux-user response to your Windows problems, but if you have the time (20 minutes is enough), just boot a livecd (bootable cd – I don’t know how well known these are outside of the Linux community – I didn’t know about them a year ago, that’s for sure) and check it out. :)

  22. Skywing says:

    Well, here’s the thing with Linux: I don’t want to deal with the headache of getting all the devices in some new laptop hardware working with it. For rack server boxes, that’s a different story, but I am not particularly confident that Linux would have a happy ending (i.e. not leaving me without half of my devices) with a new laptop.

    I’ve got at least some working experience with using Linux in server type scenarios with hardware that is fairly well supported (or in a VM), but I’m not confident that I’ll for example see Bluetooth, 802.11n, my smart card reader, my ExpressCard EVDO card, and soforth all work on my system.

    Linux certainly has its uses, and in fact I’ve got a lil Linux VM running on the same box that is hosting the blog for traffic monitoring purposes, but I don’t think I want to try and use it on a laptop as my main workstation. (Also, there’s the fact that most of the development I do is for Windows, and not having my main workstation be Windows is thus also a corresponding downside.)

  23. ak5 says:

    You might want to check out the new generation of Linux distros. Personally, I favor Ubuntu because I can easily recommend it to people without prior Linux experience, but Fedora and OpenSuSE are valid options. These large distros have all recently released or are to release new versions that might just offer support for all the hardware you need supported. Linux is not just for servers anymore – the desktop will be conquered soon as well. :)

    Ofcourse, if you are a developer for Windows, dependent for example on .NET, it still just wouldn’t make sense to free yourself from Windows completely. Purists might berate me for not suggesting an embedded system, but honestly, I don’t touch these things either – if I need windows, I’ll just boot it.

    The reason I suggested Linux was that it seemed to be a viable solution no one had aforementioned – especially if you point out that your problem was caused by code from Microsoft, it being “so completely stupid, so irresponsible, so negligent.”

  24. Skywing says:

    I can take a look at it, but even if there’s a distro out there that’s got all of the drivers I need, there’s still the question of programs without Linux ports, the fact that I write and test programs for Windows on my main workstation on a daily basis, among other things. There’s just a whole mass of things that would be required for it to be a viable solution for me. (Yeah, there’s always dual booting, but if I’m going to be rebooting into Windows all of the time, it really starts to get questionable what sort of gain there is to installing Linux at all on the box in question.)

    Obviously, this problem is hardly one that makes for an ideal user experience, but for the time being I’ve worked around the issue (GPO override to disable power management wakeups for AU).

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of stuff that bugs me about Vista and Windows – and I’m not happy about a lot of those problems – but they’re at this point not enough to make me want to try and deal with the pain of switching everything over to Linux full time, from my perspective, for my main workstation. (And to be fair, I’m sure I’d find things that bother me about any operating system that I switched to on a full time basis for my main workstation.)

    It’s more of a “pick the best tool for the job” kind of question for me, and in my eyes it still seems like Windows is the best option, for me, even if it’s not perfect. I’ve got some spare hardware and plenty of space for VMs; I’ll try and give Ubuntu a shot when I get a chance (mostly I’ve typically just done cmdline work with Linux on Debian). But it would take a whole lot to make me want to deal with switching everything I use on a daily basis over to a different OS.

  25. enc says:

    To be completely honest you sound a bit ridiculous. In response to your statement in regard to Linux, there are more drivers available out of the box in Linux than any other operating system. Have you considered VMWare? It almost sounds as if you just want to complain.

  26. Skywing says:

    My apologies for responding honestly. Perhaps next time I should just either delete or ignore the next Linux comment and save myself the inevitable flaming?

    I use Linux on a daily basis at work. We run our service at work on top of it. I’ve even got Linux installs that I administer for my own personal use. My comments about being dubious on the prospect of running Linux on a fairly new laptop are based off of my observations of my coworkers doing so, and their advice on the subject.

    I made up my mind yesterday to turn off commenting on this post because it seems to have degenerated into a flame magnet, but relented at the last moment. It seemed that there was again a glimmer of hope for rational discussion with ak5’s postings, but now I’m starting to second guess myself after the recent comments that have shown up in the queue lately (flame comments with zero value whatsoever being deleted in moderation).

  27. ak5 says:

    I can completely understand why one would not subject oneself to the hassle of throwing away everything one has learned, by switching to a new OS. If you aren’t in it for the challenge (or saving money for that matter if you are switching from propriety to free software), then attempting to do so it might well be pointless.

    One thing I disagree with in your post on October 10th, 2007 at 4:44 pm, is that you say that you don’t like many different things about Windows XP/Vista, but “to be fair”, assume that you will find nuances in any OS, if you were to use it on a full time basis. This is only true if you can’t customize your OS because it is not open source. With Linux (and any other open source software) you can really do whatever you want, given you actually take the time to do so or learn how to, if you don’t know yet already. Please consider this for a moment. You can do *whatever* you want with it – if you don’t like something (your original example was an issue with suspended mode in conjunction with an auto update software) you can just take a look at the code, find the in your opinion erroneous lines, and replace it with whatever you please. That gives you complete power on every level – it took me a while to realize how free free software really is. :)

    Knowing this, you couldn’t ever really say that Windows is the “best tool for the job” in every case, since Linux (again, giving you are ready to spend some time with it) is an ever-evolving customizable tool fit to solve any problem anywhere. True, if you only need to tighten some screws, you only need a screwdriver, but as soon as you need to loosen a nut, you are screwed (excuse the pun ;) ).
    To make a long story short, I believe Windows is static, while Linux will fit any mold you place it in.

    Of course, these are my humble opinions, excuse the ranting if you will. :)
    I see the pointlessness in continuing this Windows vs. Linux discussion, even if it has been carried out largely without flaming, so that is as much as I will say to the subject. However, I will answer any questions you might have regarding Linux, if indeed I know the answer. Thank you for your time, I truly enjoyed our conversation. I will stick around, or you can just email me. :)

    ps: If you really want *FULL* control over your system, go for Gentoo, but be warned that it is not for those who don’t enjoy a challenge. And if anyone is reading this, who doesn’t know much about Linux (say, you can’t tell me what $ ls -a does) I recommend you start with a friendly distro, like Ubuntu.

  28. Webhamster says:

    I bought a Vista laptop a few weeks ago. Nothing worked anymore, Windows waking up my computer at night, installing updates even when windows update is switched off and the super annoying window that keeps asking if I’m ok with this action.

    I returned the machine and bought a Mac. Never been so happy in my life. Everything just works :)

  29. Skywing says:

    Actually, the only boxes where I’ve seen vim segfault on a regular basis were OS X Macs. (The problem didn’t repro on a Linux box with the same vim version.)

    (To be fair, it wasn’t an RTM build of OS X. It was still rather surprising to see vim blowing up, though, regardless.)

  30. ddebug says:

    And do you remember that horrow story – hitting backspace several times in a WinXP console window can cause BSOD …

  31. Skywing says:

    Indeed, broken backspace handling in CSRSS.

  32. jay says:

    just shutdown your laptop………geez!! Is your time that important that you can’t wait 90 seconds or less for boot up.
    BTW if you would just switch to Linux you wouldn’t have the annoying 3am updates

  33. Kurt says:

    Theres a point:
    “Consider that for a portable (laptop/notebook) computer, it is often the case that it’s downright dangerous to just wake the computer at unexpected times. For example, what if I was on an airplane during takeoff and Windows Update decided that, in its vast and amazing knowledge of what’s best for the world, it would just power on my laptop and enable Bluetooth, 802.11”
    They do state before getting on any aircraft to turn off all electrical devices, from CD players to Laptop computers and obviously, Mobile phones, that means POWER DOWN, SWITCH OFF. not suspend or hibernate… OFF there is a good reason these rules are in place.

    I’m sorry buddy, but you are in the wrong here. You can select when you want AU to do so. and Turn your laptop off from time to time. suspend is nice but jeez. Its still a waste of Electricity, even if it is only a Drop in the bucket powerwise.

  34. Snorbert says:

    My laptop just did a similar thing to Skywing’s – I was using it on power (it’s a Dell M1710 desktop replacement, you don’t use it on battery unless you need to), then shut the lid when I decided to hit the sack early because I’ve got the flu. I assumed the laptop was hitting the sack too.

    Woke from weird fever dreams this morning to find the room really warm, and the M1710 fans running full blast. Laptop was very hot to touch, as it was not sitting on a nice flat surface, as I hadn’t expected it to be running for half the night. Even if you allow Windows Update to wake your machine up from sleep, is it too much to ask that Windows Update put the bloody thing back to sleep again after it’s finished installing updates??

    All these comments off the form “well, you shouldn’t leave your laptop on standby, you’re obviously lazy”, and “duh, *everybody* turns off Windows Update to prevent it from incinerating their laptop” are missing the point – that the default behaviour of a consumer device should not be to bite its owner in the ass.

    I don’t care about Aero Glass, Windows Meeting Space, improved “digital rights management experience” or any of the other whizzy crap that Microsoft people decided to add to Vista to make it give good demo. I bought a laptop with Windows instead of Linux for two reasons:

    1. good power management
    2. a need to run programs that have no reasonable Linux equivalent (including games)

    But I can easily live without the games, so next time I’m going to get a Mac laptop with VMWare Fusion, because I clearly can’t rely on Microsoft to put anything so basic as not setting my machine on fire ahead of whatever peculiar user experience goals they use to design their operating system.

  35. Cliff says:

    Thanks for all the information. I may be able to fix the problem on my new Presario F730US Laptop running Vista home premium.

    I had changed the action upon “closing the lid” to go into hibernate as I had on my Toshiba laptops for the last 6 years. This eliminated the slow boots.

    Every morning when I tried to start up the machine, it was dead. At first, I thought it was the battery, but HP helped me re-calibrate the battery and it fully charged. The next day it was dead again.

    My wife woke up at 5:30 one morning and went into the den and found the lights on the computer all on. By 7:30, the lights were off again. When I tried to start it up, it was dead.

    After a few days of experimenting, I was pretty convinced that the machine was turning on in the middle of the night and then getting hung on the “password” entry in the restart. At that point it stayed on until the battery was dead.

    The mystery was “why was it turning on in the middle of the night”. HP service does not seem to know that and I will report it to them on Monday. At minimum they need commentary in the write-up on hibernate to warn about hibernating over-night and your different possibilities for work arounds.

    Thanks again.

  36. Seth says:

    I have similar issues. Not only does my f730US not go to sleep when I close the lid, but when I try too open it, it won’t resume. I have to reboot. I close the lid and the lights stay on and the battery is dead when I wake up. There is also this annoying thing when typing. The cursor jumps to a previous part of my paragraph. Any ideas on how to fix this?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Sigh… I came across this page while searching online because the same frustrating experience just happened to me. And my apologies. I worked on Windows Vista, on a team whose goal was to reduce user frustration around power management and turning your laptop on/off. We clearly did not get everything right.

    As an FYI, you can disable the ability of all applications to wake your laptop from sleep by disabling the “Allow wake on timer” setting in the Power control panel, under advanced power options. It’s obscure and perhaps should be more exposed, but should do the trick. More info at, under “Wake on timer.”

  38. Improfane says:

    enc and ak5 (probably the same person actually) I don’t see how you can possibly recommend Linux from what Sky is saying. It might be an idea to read everything he says because his criticism of Linux is genuine and realistic.


  39. Bostonpony says:

    1) If this is a work laptop, you have no control over it if your company is like mine. We (IT) set if and when updates occur and the user is not allowed to change them without prior consent. (This is not your laptop, it belongs to the company). However, they should set the updates to download then notify you when they are ready, not take control of your laptop and do it. 3am is the default time, you can set it to anytime you like.

    2) I never suggest hibernate, I have seen to many issues with them and laptops, esp. if you use a dock at work. Suspend should really only be uses when your leaving work to go home, not everytime you decide to turn your laptop off. Laptops tend to start to run slow and have problems with long periods on suspend – resume – suspend activity over time, and (i dont know your computer knowledge) I tend to get alot of users crying how low it has gotten and they have not shut down in over a month.

    3) WHY would you ever leave your laptop on suspend while boarding a plane? I believe that is against FAA regulations. You have to turn your laptop OFF, suspend is not OFF. Just like you can not put your phone on standby, it must be off. It will still except wireless and (in the case you mentioned) poss. power back on, and (possibly) interfer with cockpit communications! Is the 60 sec it takes to boot up your laptop worth the tinyest chance it could disrupt the pilot and cause a near miss or crash. (Yes worse case, but even a .01% chance still happens to someone..)

    Case in point, you need to stop blaming Microsoft. There are ways to configure it, and ways to stop it all together (like SHUT DOWN vs SUSPEND) If its work, complain to your IT dept how you sleep with yer laptop on the pillow next to you, and hear it beep when it wants to update. Im tired of everyone blaming the software or hardware and always play the victim. Its a computer.. you control it, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) control you. (Unless its a life support machine, then yes, it controls you.. but i doubt they use windows XP.. lol)

  40. christophocles says:

    Wow, great rant — I agree completely. I just found this article after I discovered that Windows 7 was doing the exact same thing. Except I was using HIBERNATE, which I thought was as good as shutting the machine down proper. Not only was Automatic Update causing my laptop to wake in the middle of the night on battery, the Windows Media Center program guide updater was waking the laptop as well! This is the default setting!

    This is just downright insulting. I paid over $1000 for this laptop and the OS is trying to destroy it. I can’t hardly believe it either, except it IS Microsoft we’re talking about…

    I would expect to see lawsuits over burned-out laptops because of this, but unfortunately most people won’t realize what has happened..

    I did find the following fix. This will (hopefully) prevent ANY scheduled task from waking the machine for ANY reason.

    1. Open a CMD prompt
    2. powercfg -setacvalueindex scheme_current sub_sleep bd3b718a-0680-4d9d-8ab2-e1d2b4ac806d 0
    3. powercfg -setdcvalueindex scheme_current sub_sleep bd3b718a-0680-4d9d-8ab2-e1d2b4ac806d 0
    4. powercfg -setactive scheme_current

    (source: )

  41. Joel says:

    It appears that they fixed the problem for laptops in NT 6.1 (Win 7). In the group policy I see “If the system is on battery power, when Windows Update wakes it up, it will not install updates and the system will automatically return to hibernation in 2 minutes.”

    I am using a desktop though and I put my computer in hibernate at about 1 AM then went to bed, then I woke up to see my computer was running but I was too tired to actually go over and put it in sleep mode. Then later I checked my event log and it didn’t really give much details to why it woke, then I did a search online found your post here.

    You are right, a computer should never come out of a low power state unless it’s something very critical and it should put it back in the state it was in. Also before I had my computer wake at 3 AM, install updates, reboot and close my open programs while I was sleeping.

    To all you people trying to switch the author to Linux: I too am a software developer and can’t live without Windows. I have tried a few times to switch to Ubuntu, but it has so many annoyances. My main problem is I rely on so many Windows programs that won’t run in Wine.
    In shot: Linux is ok for people who do not have a very heavy dependance on Windows only features.