Windows

Create an energy use report in Windows 7 with powercfg

Type cmd into the search box

With a renewed interest on global warming, carbon footprints, and green technology, the power consumption of your personal computer is not a trivial matter. And if your PC happens to be a notebook, the amount of power consumed has a direct relationship to battery life. Minimizing power consumption will maximize battery life.

But how do you know how much power your PC is consuming? How do you troubleshoot the problem power draining functions?

Well, with Microsoft Windows 7, you can use a small applet called the Power Configuration Utility. Run from the command line with the right switch, it will create a detailed file that thoroughly examines power usage on your personal computer. Here is how it works.

Create the report
To create your energy report you will need to type a specific instruction on an elevated administrator-rights command line. Click the Start Menu button and type cmd into the search box as shown. The first application shown should be the command line executable file. Right-click on that file name.

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Image created by Mark Kaelin for TechRepublic.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

19 comments
JandNL
JandNL

My laptop has Windows Vista SP1, and I cannot currently determine how to run the analysis you describe. Please provide details for Vista users. Thanks!

smccan
smccan

Off topic: The fact that I see a World of Warcraft icon in the screenshot makes my day. For the Alliance!! :-)

rluck57
rluck57

Edison (powered by Verdiem) does the same thing. It also, allows me to adjust my power useage for different times of the day.

pohsibkcir
pohsibkcir

Well, this is about as useful as birth control to a Catholic ... Sheesh!

Evilroyd
Evilroyd

Not to be negative, but this is totally useless information. It might be helpful if at the end of the report it'll tell me how many watts on average are being used and what that usage equates out to over an hour. That way I can multiply that out to my utility cost.

DvT-Hex
DvT-Hex

My UPS tells me exactly how many Watts my system is pulling at any given moment.

olejnikster
olejnikster

and gee what is the switch for the power config utility to do this now?--reality can always take shape. But blank complies do nothing, like just to wonder around--So why invite to something that has none to be offered?!?..Windows 7 switches for that..NONE HERE!__COMMERCIALLY > http://www.stardock.com/products/tweak7/ ..has a utility that estimates that for you..

jerryew
jerryew

Who really cares about this nonsense. Hasn't this gone far enough? How many alarm clocks are running in this country. Shouldn't we go back to wind-up? Cars all have radiators that take the heat from any engine and dump into our atmosphere! Eliminate them!!!!!!

pmkadow
pmkadow

This is just a whole lot of balony. Man made climite change is a hoax of those who want to control society. I am surprized you even fall for this stuff.

CTOS
CTOS

Hi Mark! Is the same type of reporting possible in the other versions of Windows? I can see if you think in terms of only 1 PC, the usage means little... But then compound it with other PC's, accessories, the next house's PC's, the one beside that, the office building beside that... Now we have a huge GREEN problem, more like a huge Black problem! ;( Thanks for the nicely laid out article!

Walthy
Walthy

I am trying to do this to save money with our network and servers. I'm managing computer systems for a retail operation that is only in operation about 10 hours per day. If I can automate the daily closings, perform backups continuously or quickly after closing, I should be able to shut down our servers and only leave my NAS Box and internet up to back up to my cloud backup solution. I will be able to save energy on the servers and on the air conditioning required to keep everything cool. I can imagine savings in our little operation to be several hundred dollars a month, plus being able to prolong the life of our equipment, such as disk arrays and servers. I'm looking to upgrade our APC UPS systems to monitor all of this and to be able to quantify this for my bosses. Individual workstations are already turned off at the end of the day, but monitors and printers need to be included in that too, and they aren't now. Turning off the power strip may be a simple solution for that though, just include it in computer procedures for everyone.

ian
ian

Perhaps if the article was aimed at its true value of power consumption reporting in regard to saving money on future builds instead of the 'fashionable' greenhouse approach, there would not be so many negative replies. Power consumption is an important part of any build whether it is a single PC or a data centre therefore a command that my be able to supply that information is always good. Unfortunately the -energy switch is not available in XP or Vista.

rick@Hogans-Systems.com
rick@Hogans-Systems.com

Yeah, you're right. Trying to save energy is for fools. Why should anyone care how big their electric bill is? We all have endless piles of money to waste on paying for electricity to run things ineffeciently. There is no reason to try to make things more efficient. All this "green" BS is just a bunch of crap made up by people who want to deprive oil company executives of their hard-earned bonuses. Rick

DvT-Hex
DvT-Hex

...the globe would hurry up with its warming...manmade or not. I'd like to see the east coast under water during my lifetime.

techrepublic
techrepublic

yes, at least winxp has the same utility available. as to it supplying the same information, i am not sure. but has the same name and at least superficially the same options. Andrew

rsimms
rsimms

I have been looking for something like this for years. Running 500 PC and laptops comsume a lot of bucks. Our applications however, require Windows XP. Is there an tool that runs on XP.

jwebfoot2togo
jwebfoot2togo

Win Vista has a powercfg.exe file but doesn't recognize the -energy switch or any other that I have tried. Maybe some body else has had better luck than I.

NemesisTWarlock
NemesisTWarlock

You can get information relevant to a larger business environment through a few tools out there an example of which is Power Manager by Verismic (http://www.verismic.com). This allows for stats to be gathered across 100's or 000's of systems and for detailed policies to be targeted (more granular and effective than what you can get out of the standard OS) to make sure that power policies can be applied to reduce power usage and cost. Clear metrics is always a good thing to have and in many cases in the US you may find that energy companies including PG&E offer rebates that can more than cover the cost of investing in this technology. Whether ot not you go for the environmental argument, when you bring together many PCs the potential energy savings become a real difference to the bottom line of the business.