How to stop your computer waking up when you’re not there


If your Windows computer keeps waking itself up during the night or when you’re not there, you’re not alone. It is a common issue with Windows. Many owners find both laptops and desktop computers waking up when they aren’t there. Fortunately, as common as it may be, it is also easy to fix.

Having your computer wake up when not in use wastes power, drains a laptop’s battery and leaves it exposed to attacks from the internet if connected. If you’re troubleshooting seemingly arbitrary restarts, we’re here to help.

Usually, a computer waking itself up is either Windows update doing its thing or a device that has a wake timer enabled. We can quickly find out exactly if it’s your hardware with a console command.

Find out what’s behind you computer waking

  1. Open a CMD window as an administrator.
  2. Type ‘powercfg -lastwake’ into the window.
  3. Look for the Wake History Count.

The wake history count lists the hardware device causing your system to wake up. Once you know what is waking up your computer, let’s stop it.

  1. Type ‘powercfg -devicequery wake_armed’. This will identify which devices are able to wake your machine.
  2. Open Device Manager and right click the devices noted in the steps above.
  3. Click Properties and Power Management.
  4. Uncheck ‘Allow this device to wake the computer’.
  5. Repeat for all devices identified in the first step.

Check Windows Update

Next let’s check Windows Update and switch it from doing whatever it likes to doing what we want. Windows Update has always been something of a law unto itself. Let’s change that.

  1. Navigate to Settings, System and Update & Security.
  2. Select the Advanced Options text link.
  3. Change the drop down box at the top from Automatic to ‘Notify to schedule restart’.

Performing both of those tasks will ensure your computer stops automatically starting up when you’re not there.

If you have anything to add or other useful tricks to stop Windows starting by itself, let us know below.

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