Friday, 18 December 2009

Dell Studio 17: Resuming itself from Hibernate

I use my laptop for development, so I often have ten to fifteen programs open at once, each with various documents open within them. That, combined with the fact that development tools can often be heavy on CPU and memory means that restarting my PC is a pain in the neck.

So rather than restart or leave it on and waste power, I like to put it into Hibernate mode where it will quickly resume where I left off - no need to reload everything.

The problem was that if I left it overnight, I'd often come downstairs the next morning to find the Windows welcome screen staring back at me - the laptop had woken itself from Hibernate. This is not ideal, because it might cause it to overheat and its a monumental waste of power.

I could not figure out why this was happening so contacted Dell support to see what they could do. They were very keen to help, but didn't offer many useful suggestions. They suggested I flash the BIOS, which I did. No luck.

Then I devoted some time to googling the issue and discovered the problem.

The setting I had selected in Windows Update appeared to be the sensible option, for Windows to 'Automatically download and install updates for me'. Given the swiss cheese nature of Windows security, I thought this would afford me the best protection.

But it turns out that with this setting chosen, Windows Update was causing the system to wake from Hibernate to look for updates. How stupid is that? If I wanted it to do that, I would deliberately select such a setting if it was available. And surely if you did want it to resume to download updates, you would want it to automatically go back into Hibernate? But oh no.

There was no indication in the Windows Update settings that the system would resume from Hibernate

Anyway, I now have it set to automatically download updates, but instead of installing them automatically it will ask me to select which ones to install. At the cost of being able to hibernate my machine, I have to ensure that I remember to periodically install the available updates when they download.

Not the best, Microsoft, not the best.