How to Fix a Computer that Keeps Waking Up

Not too long ago I bought a new desktop PC. Whenever I put it to sleep, in no time flat it was awake again. A little research revealed that this is not an uncommon problem and can have several possible sources. Malware infections are sometimes the cause but more often it is some device that is waking the machine up and that was the case for me. In this tip, I will describe several settings in your system that may keep waking up your PC. The discussion is for Windows Vista/7. You will generally need administrator privileges to make system changes.

Stop the mouse from waking up the PC

Mice, especially, wireless mice, can sometimes wake the PC up. In fact, there is a specific setting to allow this. If the mouse turns out to be a problem, you can change the setting with this procedure:

  1. Open the Start menu and type “mouse” (without quotes) in the Search bar
  2. Under the Control Panel list, click “Mouse” (or just press Enter in Vista)
  3. In the dialog box that opens, select the tab “Hardware”
  4. Highlight the entry for your mouse and click the button “Properties”
  5. A new dialog will open. Click the button “Change settings”
  6. In the new dialog that opens, click the tab “Power Management”
  7. Remove the check by “Allow this device to wake the computer”
  8. Click “OK” and close the dialogs.

Stop a network card from waking up the PC

From what I read, a network card is the most common source of wake-up problems and that was the cause of my own computer never staying asleep. Here is how to configure a network card:

  1. Open Device Manager. There are many ways to do this but a quick way is to enter “dev” (without quotes) in the Start search bar and click “Device Manager”
  2. Expand the list for “Network adapters”
  3. Right-click the adapter to be configured and choose “Properties”. There may be several adapters, one for Ethernet, one for wireless, and others like Bluetooth
  4. In the dialog that opens, click the tab “Power Management”
  5. Remove the check by “Allow this device to wake the computer”
  6. Click “OK” and close up Device Manager

Scheduled tasks , updates, and other causes

Sometimes a task or Windows Update is scheduled for a specific time and will wake up the computer. Dealing with these and other possibilities are discussed at this link.

Use the command line to find what causes the PC to wake up

One way to find out what is causing a wake-up problem is provided by the command line. Open a command prompt with elevated privileges and enter this command:

    powercfg –lastwake

The last device that woke up the system will be shown

To find out which devices are enabled to wake up the PC, enter this command

    powercfg -devicequery wake_armed

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

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by calimesajim on 20. July 2014 - 20:03  (117442)

My HP started waking from sleep mode after I downloaded some Realtek ethernet control drivers at the suggestion of HP. Tried everything I knew, then found this help from v.laurie. Turned out to be the internet adapter just as indicated above. Problem solved! Big help for this novice. Thanks.

by Tar73 on 29. December 2013 - 12:02  (113264)

After having problem with sleep mod waking up right after starting it, this guide help me fix it.
My network card was the reason, no idea why since it has not been a problem before.

When I used "powercfg –lastwake" in cmd, I got this message "invalid parameters", but it seem to work with "powercfg /lastwake" and also "powercfg lastwake"

Thanks for help :)

by 2131tom on 19. January 2013 - 20:15  (104650)

Thanks for the help. My pc started to wake up on its own a couple of weeks ago. Looked for virus but didn't help, so I took to turning it off whenever I wasn't using it, which was a complete pain.

I've now unticked the "allow wake-up etc." on the mouse power management and that seems to have worked fine. Why it should have suddenly decided to act in this way after I've had the mouse for over a year, I don't know but following your advice has certainly saved me a lot of anticipated aggro from now on.

Thanks again

by Robertooo on 18. January 2013 - 9:18  (104610)

I am going crazy... nothing helped in that list.. my computer wakes up every night at about 3 oclock and I don't know why. I disabled the automatic updates, checked the schedule, checked for possible hardware... checked for viruses.. this is a windows problem because I once left my computer in standby using linux and it stayed off.

by Damir (not verified) on 16. April 2012 - 19:04  (92180)

Thanks for this timely tip! We've just set up a computer for presentations in the boardroom of our company, but it kept waking up every so often spinning its fans on maximum and disturbing people in offices next to it. Now I can keep that computer in sleep mode (so it's always ready) and not disturb otehrs.

by MidnightCowboy on 17. April 2012 - 5:39  (92192)

That must be some cooling system you have installed there. :D From personal experience, especially regarding a board room, I'd look at noise transmission from this area in general and recommend sound proofing it.:)

by HowardB (not verified) on 16. April 2012 - 17:01  (92175)

Thanks for this tip - I have been concerned that somebody had taken over my computer, and couldn't find out what was waking it up.

Why does the network card wake up a computer? Is it trying to do something beneficial?

by JamesAttree (not verified) on 12. April 2012 - 14:22  (91963)

as per your tip I create a shortcut for a command line prompt with elevated privileges (Run as Administrator shortcut) which brings brings up
C:\windows\system32>powerconfig -lastawake
'powerconfig'is not recognised as an internal or external command operable batch file or command
'powerconfig'is not recognised as an internal or external command operable batch file or command
Help please, thanks James

by JamesAttree (not verified) on 12. April 2012 - 14:52  (91965)

Replyvlaurie 91964 refers
Still same problem - see below
'powerconfig'is not recognised as an internal or external command operable batch file or command
What should I do?

by v.laurie on 12. April 2012 - 14:26  (91964)

I apologize for a blooper of a typo- that should be "powercfg-lastwake".

by Mike J (not verified) on 12. April 2012 - 13:50  (91961)

If the screen(s) go off but the computer still seems to be active, try checking the sleep options.

Right-click desktop, Personalise/Screen_saver/Change_Power_Settings/Change_plan_settings/Change_advanced_power_settings, then expand the sleep option and ensure that Allow_hybrid_sleep is set to OFF.

This setting allows the computer to enter a low power state while allowing a fast return to power, but also means that the computer seems never to be asleep. I spent HOURS following Microsoft suggestions before finding this was my problem!

by Sanram on 28. February 2014 - 0:10  (114697)

Thank you for your tip.

Right-click desktop, Personalise/Screen_saver/Change_Power_Settings/Change when the computer sleeps/
Here the (1)turn off display & (2)put the computer to sleep times are given.They were (1)20 mi & (2) 15 mi
I changed them to (1)10 mi & (2) 15 mi
and for the time being it seems to work

by Huds (not verified) on 12. April 2012 - 12:18  (91959)

You might like to correct the typo to
Powercfg -lastwake

by v.laurie on 12. April 2012 - 14:16  (91962)

Thanks for pointing that out. Typo fixed.

by Sean Luxton (not verified) on 7. March 2012 - 21:35  (90076)

With a laptop, the most likely cause is a dodgy or loose lid switch. Try setting "When I close my laptop lid" to "Do nothing" and see if the problem goes away.

by paulderdash on 2. March 2012 - 5:15  (89791)

I need a tip for the opposite ... my Lenovo T61p repeatedly and unpredictably goes to sleep - while I'm working! Have changed the power scheme changed to always on, replaced the battery - nothing has worked.

by rikishi19 on 2. March 2012 - 0:03  (89780)

The sleep/hibernation setting on my Windows 7 machine is permanently off. First time I installed 7 on my machine and it went into hibernation, when I woke it up I could not log into my user profile as it was corrupted and nothing I could do (safe mode etc.) could get me into the profile. I had to do a full reinstall and remember to turn this setting off. I eventually had to do a reinstall of the system again at a later date and forgot about this and it corrupted my system again, and then again one more time after I forgot again.

by trainman261 on 2. March 2012 - 19:41  (89819)

funny. I have my computer set to sleep on lid close, and hibernate after two hours, usually meaning it hibernates several times a day (I shut it down overnight). I'm on windows 7 as well, not to mention this is a cheapo $330 laptop. Sound like a hardware problem to me, like some problem with the BIOS, maybe.

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