Vista Users Still Won't Trust Sleep

Last night, my computer fell asleep and I decided not to wake it. Experience taught me that Hibernate was much more reliable but I decided, eh, it’s already Sleeping and I should be too.

This morning, after a public transit meltdown in San Francisco, I made it into work a mere 3 minutes before the managing partner was scheduled to call me for an important meeting. Still in a sweat from running, I arrived at my desk and attempted to wake my laptop from its sleep. I’m in IT after all, and I’ll need it for this meeting. Well, my laptop didn’t want to wake up. It sat there for a bit doing something.. not sure what, but it was powered on and the screen was blank. So I started poking around; I tried to eject the CD.. that’s helped in the past to kick it into gear but it wasn’t working this time. After about 30 seconds of waiting, I decided to it was time for a cold boot.

So now, I’m spending my last two minutes before 9:00 AM hoping that the managing partner won’t decide to call a few minutes early. Microsoft, I’m sorry but resuming from sleep still doesn’t work. And when it does, it tends to sit there for awhile, making me wonder what it will decide to do.

A few days before installing Vista, I came upon a PowerPoint created by one of the Microsoft Program Managers for the WinHEC (hardware) conference. In the presentation titled “Power Management in Windows Vista”, Pat Stemen wrote the following::

Reliable Sleep Transitions

  • Windows Vista promotes the use of sleep as the default off state
    • Requires reliable, fast and deterministic sleep transitions
  • Failed transitions were the primary sleep adoption blocker in previous versions of Windows
    • Lead to great user frustration and distrust of power management
    • Investigations inlicate component vetoes are the primary cause
      • Appcication, service or driver willingly prevents the sleep transition
  • Sleep transitions will succeed
    • Vista will not query user mode components when entering sleep
    • Drivers may not veto sleep transitions
    • User-mode notification (PBT_APMSUSPEND) will continue to be sent
      • Timeout to process event has been reduced from 20 seconds to 2 seconds
  • Applications, services, and drivers must be prepared for this change
    • Proper design and test is imperative
  • I don’t know where the development in Vista’s Sleep went wrong but, it’s still not reliable for me. Same goes for my friend Zach..he’s the one that actually clued me into using Hibernate instead of Sleep. Even with writing up to 2gb of data to the hard drive, going into Hibernation is just as fast as sleep and coming back is much more dependable. Now there’s a 9 in 10 chance that resuming will work instead of a 5 in 10 chance (if that.) 99.999% reliability would be best of course but I’ll take what I can get for now. I really hope Sleep’s issues are finally resolved in Vista SP1.

    Update: They finally released this patch publicly (without you having to call/email). It’s helped me a great deal. Note that VPN is also considered “PPP” so this patch isn’t only for dial-up users. Also, visitor “wchp” said that this patch helped him with sleep issues. So far, about 250 people have found my blog while searching for a fix. Ya’ll holler and let me know if you have an nVidia card too.

    Chrissy is a Cloud and Datacenter Management & Data Platform MVP who has worked in IT for over 20 years. She is the creator of the popular SQL PowerShell module dbatools, holds a master's degree in Systems Engineering and is coauthor of Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches. Chrissy is certified in SQL Server, Linux, SharePoint and network security. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in Windows
24 comments on “Vista Users Still Won't Trust Sleep
  1. Corey says:

    From what I’ve read and experienced, the black screen on resume could be a video driver thing.

    Maybe Nvidia (I don’t have any first hand with ATI & Vista) will get its act in gear and fix this before SP1.

  2. Chrissy says:

    Hopefully. I’ll just play the regular end user here and say “I don’t care who’s fault is is..I just want it fixed” ;)

  3. Mark says:

    At least you can actually GET your computer to sleep. I have a desktop and I’ll press it’s sleep button, or tell it to sleep after so and so minutes of inactivity and it’ll go into a standby for about 10 seconds and then decide it’s time to wake up. What bullsh1t.

  4. wchp says:

    Finally resolved my issue with:
    MS requires you call or email to get the hotpatch though and they send it as a password protected zip file.

  5. wchp says:

    Finally resolved my issue:
    But… MS requires you call or email for the hotpatch and they send it to you as a link to a password protected zip file.

  6. Art says:

    my computer with Home Vista premium will go to sleep but immediatly wakes up again. Can anyone help

  7. Masha P. says:

    I just got a new laptop, and unfortunately it has vista on it. Sleep mode is like an A bomb for my laptop. When it wakes up, whatever monitor brightness setting i had before is locked in, i can’t adjust it at all. This pisses me off, obviously, since it’s something i change according to battery power and other conditions. Also, whatever connection i had is lost and it will not reconnect to my home wifi connection since it isn’t broadcasted as conveniently as vista would like it to be… I actually have to restart my laptop. It’s such a disappointment, considering how much money went into this investment. I’m seriously thinking of reverting back to 2000, before things really got effed up.

  8. Crysty says:

    Yea I left my windows vista laptop away for awhile, I shut its’ top and about after 30 minutes I come back open it up and it won’t wake up… I don’t know what to do what do you suggest?

  9. David says:

    I’m experiencing the Vista “sleep” problem it in all its incarnations.

    I just bought a new PC quad-core with Vista. My monitor (HP W22) won’t re-awake when the PC does (if the PC even has awoken since w/o the monitor, I can’t really tell). I do the cold reboot and Vista comes up in the “Do you wish to start Vista in the Safe Mode (Recommended)”.

    And now I’ve discovered that my external 1TB Maxtor drive is doing the same thing. It goes into an idle (sleep) mode that it will not awake from with Vista. I have to shutdown PC, turn off and back on the external drive to get it to be re-discovered by Vista. And compounding matters, I then have to re-Add my 700 CDs back to Windows Media Player Library because the disconnect described above apparently causes that, too. Nevermind the end of any paused long playlist I might have been in the middle of. It’s gone.

    Is there any central solution clearing center that Microsoft might have set up for this annoying, dysfunctional problem?

    It won’t happen overnight, but I’m convinced Microsoft continues sewing the seeds that will convert us ALL into Mac users ultimately.

  10. Chrissy says:

    My issues got better then worse.. Microsoft put out an Update Pack which some tout as “Service Pack 0.5” but I believe it made things worse for me. I won’t lie.. I’m a bit jealous when I see my girlfriend’s iBook come back SO quickly and dependably.

    Nowadays, I find myself rebooting about every 3 days because sometimes after waking from sleep, my network stops working about 5 minutes later. I can ping and sustain current connections but I can’t create new connections. I can’t establish new TCP connections..drives me nuts.

  11. Chris says:

    I’m running Vista 32-bit on a new Dell Inspiron 1520, and I have this problem. Sometimes the computer simply refuses to come out of sleep mode, which can be extremely frustrating if I’m running it in power saver mode and get distracted with something away from my desk for fifteen minutes. Maybe I’ll try the patch you mentioned…

  12. Stephen says:

    I also have the problem running vista 64 with an nvidia graphics card.

  13. Eric says:

    I’m having the same sleep problem on my Gateway PC after upgrading to Vista Business. Tried both my Apple 20″ Cinema display and an HP w2207 – neither will wake from sleep. I havn’t found the fix, will just burn more carbon leaving the thing running 24/7 I guess.

  14. bruce says:

    Why worry on putting computer to sleep in the first place. I went through all of these problems and still cant resolve issue.

    so what i did is changed all my settings to hibernate. whats wrong with hibernate! Set to hit your power button to send it to hibernate big deal ! Everything when you re-power will be in the same state.

    Sometimes when i get out of bed after shutting computer down overnight i see my computer running but that is because i have my windows update and virus scan set on automatic. but i have my hibernation set for 1 hour so it will sooner or later hit that hour mark in idol and just hibernate again.

    so to change all of your settings on vista just start by changing nvidia. so click on (start menu)in (start search) type in word–> device manager.
    scroll down to network adapters and click on nvidia n force. next go to power management click on. Next make sure allow the computer to turn off this device to save power is (checked).next make sure allow this device to wake the computer is (unchecked) click okay ! close all boxes out.

    now go to (start menu) again to (start search) and type in power options click on. Make sure energy star is checked and this doesnt matter between the three plans when you “hibernate”. Next go to bottom of energy star click on change plan settings. keep moniter on as long as you like but dont have it set for 2 minutes because if your like me im trying to read something the screen just blacks out it can be annoying. I have my moniter set to 30 minutes. Prices of moniters arent much anymore so dont worry about saving on your moniter 30 minutes wont hurt. But next change your put the computer to sleep to (never) for good because it will never hibernate it will just keep going to sleep on you and waking back up. Go down and click save changes to make sure this was saved for you. Now go to change advanced power settings click on. Next go to hard disk click + setting and change setting to never because when your system hibernates you want to power back on and you want windows to resume windows and not reboot your whole computer. next go down to sleep and change settings to never. allow hybrid sleep off. Next below hybrid is hibernate and i have it set to 60 minutes on mine.
    Next scroll further down to (power buttons and lid) click + there and change to hibernate also change start button menu to hibernate. go down and click OK. Go back out and click save changes just to be safe on everything.

    i never had this problem with windows xp but if you do just go into power options to change to hibernate on all settings. I dont see power buttons and lid on xp.

    please print if you ever have to go back again and change settings. sleep is faster but hibernate is in between shutdown. So i just choose hibernate !

    And dont forget about the computer waking up from time to time to update. it will go back off in time. or you can manually run virus scan and download windows update.

  15. Scott says:

    I have a nvidia card as well! (8800) Same prob – constant blank screen – HP support was to no avail – thanks to your blog, I am finding I am not the only one!

    About restarting immediatly after putting to sleep (from someones comments), I had the same prob – go into device manager -> nic card -> properties -> power mgt tab -> remove/uncheck “allow this device to wake the computer” from sleep mode. Fixed my prob right up, now sleep works as it is suppoed to (at least going into :-) )

    Think I will watch this post, and in the meantime use hibernate…


  16. LIZ says:

    I actually have a pretty different issue (unless you people have this issue too and just don’t notice it because you walk away from your computer right when you shut your lid).

    My laptop half the time doesn’t sleep at all. The screen will go black, but nothing else turns off. If it does turn off it takes about 5 minutes (which is annoying when I have to stick it in my backpack to go to class…). I am always happy once I see the wireless light turn to orange indicating it is off, because that means the rest is about to turn off too.

    I’ve never had problems with it coming back…unless it doesn’t sleep in the first place.

    I thought it maybe had to do with how much was open at the time, but nah, it happens even when nothing is open. Some of you say that the 2GB isn’t so bad to use hibernate…but when you have a small hard drive you want as much free space as you can get!!

  17. Charlie says:

    i have a vista laptop, and i was a bit busy so i just shut the lid with everything running, 2 hours later i come back and open it up, it works fine and i carry on using it, 5 minutes later my laptop just swtiched it self of, and now wont come back on. i thougth it might be overheating, it smells a bit singed, but i think thhats just were i use it alot, also when i take the battery out sand plug the charger in it says its charging, and when the battery is in and i plug the charger into the laptop but not in the polug socket it says its charging, i need my laptop to work within 5 days of a huge meeting because of all the information on it, it has a Warinty of one year, but the shop said it could take up to 2 months, i dont have this time. what do i do?

  18. jimmy rizzo says:

    I am having problems with sleep in Vista Home Premium. I have an HP Pavilion DV9000 laptop. It was running fine except for wireless connections – which would be lost when the laptop went to sleep. I’d have to reboot in order to get connected. Somehow, that problem solved itself after a few months – probably through an automatic update.

    Everything was fine for some months, then my laptop refused to wake from sleep one day. When I tried to wake it, all I got was a black screen. The laptop’s LEDs turned on (buttons for power, and A/V control), but nothing came on the screen. I had to hold down the power button to reboot it. The only problem is the computer wouldn’t start up. I have to restart multiple times before the computer boots. In many instances the computer LEDs come on, but the laptop won’t boot. Instead, it restarts itself numerous times. I then have to hold down the power button to force a shutdown, then restart again. Typically, the laptop will eventually restart after this occurs once or twice and always to the boot screen which asks about safe mode, etc. It doesn’t seem to matter if my laptop goes to sleep or hibernates. the problem is the same.

    My laptop runs a dual core AMD Turion TL64 and I’m running the 32 bit version of Vista Home Premium. My video card is an nVidia GeForce Go 6150. My laptop has 2gb of RAM. I’ve heard mention of issues related to HD audio devices. If it matters, my laptop also has Conexant high definition audio.

    I’d appreciate any help. To date, updates from HP, nVidia and Microsoft have not resolved the problem.

    Thanks in advance.

  19. YERBIE says:

    I am having this very same problem, it’s such a hassle!
    I have a Toshiba Satellite M305-s4822 and when i put my laptop into sleep mode for a an hour or so, but when i come back to turn it on by pressing the power button, nothing happens. The lights and stuff are on but the screen remains blank! THerefore i have to hold down the power button and start it with safe mode b/c it was not shut down properly! I heard about Vista’s problems, but i never really thought it could happen to me, but what do you know?! Vista sucks, and technology people needs to stop upgrading tech every minute! So any ideas or suggestions?

  20. JEG says:

    I have a MESH PC Intel Quad Q9450 and 2x Nvidia 9600gt sli and it will not wake from sleep (although all fans stay on etc – is it just the monitor blanked out?). Have to power down and reboot and get the “safe mode” questions etc. Is there a fix or is the problem not generally recognised? It is very annoying and the only way I see is to never let the PC sleep in Power Mode settings – hardly ideal!

  21. Swint144 says:

    I’m having the same/similar issue: Vista x64 Business on Asus P5Q SE motherboard and ATI/MSI Radeon R4670. I accidentally hit the ‘sleep’ button instead of going through the menu to ‘shut down’. Upon reboot, case fans run, but all peripherals seem not to work: power button doesn’t light up, no BIOS, no lights on the USB keyboard or mouse, and no signal to the monitor. I can’t get it back! I’ve tried swapping positions of the RAM sticks, leaving power disconnected for 5 mins, unplugging the hard drives… I need to get some work done today!

  22. Nap says:

    Here’s the weirdest thing… I had my lid action set to sleep mode, and once I was shutting down my machine (from the start menu)… apparently I closed the lid before it had completed shutdown. Believe it or not, it had actually gone to sleep while it was shutting down!!

    Next time I open the lid, my laptop wakes up.. and then shuts down!!

    Vista’s sleep/hibernate/shutdown is so unreliable – whenever I sleep/hibernate/shutdown, I wonder which one will actually happen.

    I just don’t know what to say Microsoft.

  23. WALT says:

    SWINT144, if you’re reading this and you’ve found a solution to your problem please let me know! I’m having the exact same problem with you and have tried the same troubleshooting as well.

    Vista Ultimate x86 SP1 on ASUS P5QL PRO and ATI Radeon Sapphire.

  24. Steve says:

    Vista and sleep does not work on my system either.

    I have a Vista Home Premium with SP-2 and the PC is a Dell laptop. Whenever I activate sleep (which is supposed to happen when closing the screen) one of the following will happen when I reopen the laptop:

    1) Everything works fine
    2) The system wakes back up but all of my running applications have been closed.
    3) The system fights with me. I’ll see blue lights appear on my keyboard making me think it’s waking up but it won’t. I’ll keep poking buttons and sometimes it will wake up. Often I have to hold down on the power button and force a reboot.

    Honestly, why is Microsoft so stubborn about getting these things to work? Sleep worked so poorly on XP laptops that I didn’t use it back then, but for some reason I’ve allowed myself to get in the habit of using it on this laptop. It’s like Microsoft actually take pride in the frustration they cause user and will allow bugs like this to persist for a decade. This sleep feature has been around that long by now hasn’t it?

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