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Help! My laptop goes to sleep and won't wake up, unless it feels like it.

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / September 28, 2012 8:40 AM PDT

Help! My laptop goes to sleep and won't wake up, unless it feels like it.

I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 purchased in 2009, so it is out of
warranty. It goes to sleep and doesn't wake up for days. I have
to take the battery out and put it back in several times, push
every button on it over and over and eventually when it feels like
it, it will come back on. I am currently copying the entire OS
system (Vista), while I have it up, this time. I took it to Staples, Best
Buy, called Dell and bought a new battery. Nothing changes, it
still won't wake up unless it feels like it. Does anyone have any
idea what causes this and any suggestions on how I can fix this?
Or is it beyond repair? Thanks.

--Submitted by: Carlie P.
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Well, I don't know about this specific problem...

But an immediate fix is to not put the computer to sleep. When you are done with it turn it off. Until someone comes up with an answer for you this is probably your best first step. I never use either sleep or hibernate on any of my computers because far too many people have experienced problems with these features.

To make certain that your computer is accessible, turn it off when you are done with it. You can change your habits back if you like when you find out what the problem is and fix it.


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by webserf / October 6, 2012 8:56 AM PDT

Personally, I do NOT believe it's a software problem. If you have removed ALL power from the computer, then there is NO LONGER any interruption by software/OS.
This must be some sort of hardware problem, and I'd be willing to bet it's either a connection problem in the battery compartment, or some other power related problem.
Probably when you are beating the computer up to get it going, is when you somehow create a connection again, and so you are able to get up and running again.

I really don't think it has anything to do with sleep settings etc., BUT the fact that you have Vista is a good reason to at least update your OS to 7 or 8 at some point soon.

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I forgot to mention,
by webserf / October 6, 2012 8:58 AM PDT
In reply to: WELL......

It could also be a motherboard/BIOS issue. But again, I'd need to see exactly what is going on, like is/are there any power LEDs on when charging, or when you try to start the computer, etc..

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And, Keyboard or Power button damage etc..
by webserf / October 6, 2012 12:24 PM PDT
In reply to: I forgot to mention,

Have you ever spilled any liquid on the keyboard or power button? Any buttons that are sticking, could be causing you not to properly start the computer as well.
Perhaps your power button is sticking to the point that you have the problem you are having.

Again, I really think it's unlikely to be any of the sleep settings if you've taken power away for long periods of time, because it appears that the computer won't even power on, or hard drive spin-up to get to the Hibernation/Sleep files on the drive.

Sorry for the separate posts, there's no way to edit them together! And these are thoughts that have come to mind as I've considered past problems I've had.

I'd like to repeat, Get Rid Of Vista!!!!!!

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Help! My laptop goes to sleep and won't wake up
by BRedmond0211 / October 8, 2012 8:57 AM PDT

The question is about sleep/hibernate, not cold boot.

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Yes. You are right but:
by webserf / October 15, 2012 12:56 AM PDT

If the power supply was removed and the battery removed for a while, it's possible that a cold boot is the result.

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by 4Denise / October 15, 2012 3:26 AM PDT

Since the computer was originally in sleep mode, not shut down completely, a cold boot could be more difficult.

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by webserf / October 15, 2012 6:34 AM PDT
In reply to: However...

With newer computers it's hard to know for sure whether taking ALL power from the unit would force a fresh start.
In the OP's case, it seems that no amount of effort will get it started, which to me suggests hardware anyways.

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Why are you replying to me?
by 4Denise / October 7, 2012 12:52 PM PDT
In reply to: WELL......

I think that you made a mistake. I did not start this thread. I don't use sleep or hibernate, and I never have.

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Sorry. I inadvertently posted under your comment.
by webserf / October 7, 2012 2:27 PM PDT

The message was directed to the OP. None of the comments were directed at your comment! I noticed it after posting and c|net does not allow editing or deleting a post, making it hard to correct anything.

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by 4Denise / October 7, 2012 3:02 PM PDT

No problem. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't directed my way. Thanks for explaining.

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sleepy laptop

use one of the linux discs provided by some magazines, operate as live and give the hard disc a complete cleanup and then a machine specific reinstall of its own operating system, by my own experience worked. it was a sleepy hp, grats Frank in New Zealand

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Laptop won't wake from sleep.

I go into power management and disable sleep, hibernate and anything else that sounds similar. Then I change the action "what to do when I close the lid" to "nothing". Then, when I'm through with my computer for the time, I close the lid. When I return in an hour, I open the lid and go back to work. When necessary, I click "start", "shut down" and turn the thing off. My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1564 and it always does what I want it to do because of the settings I changed the day I unpacked it.

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There are Lots of Things to Think About

First, there are several different sleep modes. I won't go into them here, but I'd suggest looking up "Hibernate" and "Standby" and "Power Options" to make sure that YOU understand what the differences are. Since you have VISTA, Ill try to work with that.

First, make sure that you are completely up-to-date on your Vista patches. Ss some will say, consider a different OS such as Windows 7, Windows 8 or Linux. Next, scan your computer, usually by looking at your control panel "Add/Remove Programs" section and see if you have any power control software. This includes APC, Tripplite, Dell or some other software that you may think is either power-oriented or maybe laptop-specific software (I admit I didn't check: this is a laptop correct?). If you have anything suspect, please make sure you have the latest versions and that you don't have more than one piece of software dealing with your power that can sleep or shutdown your system. They could interfere with each other.

Now, lets look at settings. When you cold boot (power-on) the system, there is usually a key that you can hit that will put you into "Setup". Find out what that is and go into setup. Look through ALL of the settings and see if there is something power-related, such as "Power Options".

So, what options do you need? First, there are usually two option sets: One for if you are plugged into wall power with either a powercord/adapter or a docking station. The other set of settings will be for when you are running "On battery". By the way, if you use a UPS, do you realize that, for a laptop, you already have a built-in UPS? It's called the battery. If your power goes out, the battery in the laptop will continue to hold power on.

Here are some recommendations:

Use a power scheme or custom scheme that does not shut down anything as long as you are plugged into wall power. The answer to what time to shut down things should be NEVER. There is no reason to. If you worry about your screen or you are really interested in saving electricity, you can always use a screensaver. Or just do a proper shutdown if you are going to be away for awhile. That should cover the mode when you are plugged into the wall power.

For when you run on battery as away from the power cord, you have a little bit of discretion as you might want to save your battery say, on an airline flight. However, you can always shut down as soon as you stop using the machine. One thing I would NEVER do is to shut down the hard disk(s). I just won't do that. Sometimes software just does not want to wait for disks to spin back up.

So, where do you need to make these changes or to check the settings? First, as I said, go into the computers "setup" screen when you boot and look for "power options" and check in there.

After you get into Vista, go to your control panel and look for power options there. Make sure the settings are as you wanted them.

Next, go into your display properties and make sure you visit the screensaver tab. Don't have the screen saver kick on too quickly. Also, under screen saver there should/may be "power options" there to. Make sure you confidently make sure everything is in sync.

As DXJANIS said, change your setting to not put the laptop in sleep mode when you close the lid.

Finally, remember that when you do go into a sleep mode, it sometimes takes awhile to wake up (especially if your disks are not spinning). While some sleep modes can wake the laptop when you hit the "enter" key, many sleep modes require you to push your power button momentarily. If you hold too long, your machine will instantly shut down. If you need to do this, you will probably be looking at a couple of minutes for the drive to load up and for the image to go back into memory.

Another thing to verify is that your system clock is working. For a few times, make sure that the windows time is correct. A thing you might want to replace is the "CMOS battery". It is usually a small bettery on the mother board. Check your system documentation to see if you have one and how to replace it.

Finally, you may want to test the main battery on a laptop. Maybe it is not holding a charge or if your charger is not working. If all of your power opions say to NEVER turn things off when plugged into the wall and things are turning themselves off, maybe the system is not registering that the charger is indeed working.

Good luck!

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The kiss from prince charming

In my experience both the hibernate and sleep functions in Windows have always been a little buggy and temperamental. That is why I have always gotten in the habit of fully shutting down my laptop rather than putting it to sleep.

You don't, however, mention HOW your computer goes to sleep. Do you just shut the lid? Or do you actually select the Start-Shut Down/Hibernate options and wait for it? It seems to be most temperamental when you just flip the lid closed on a laptop as quite often it could be in the middle of some process and pushing it to go straight to sleep makes it tough to awaken.

My suggestion would be first of all to disable those features, and just use the function of turning off the screen when you close the lid with Windows running. Obviously this would mean your laptop would need to be plugged into power and in a well ventilated location (i.e. not sitting on a couch cushion or left on your bed) as it is actually still fully powered up and heat generation will continue.

Beyond that I suggest just powering down your laptop when you aren't going to use it for awhile. Or, at the very least, making sure you use the menu options to tell the system to go into sleep mode and don't just hope for the best by shutting the lid.

Hope that gives you some things to try, it is most likely some stray application (whether it is a desired application or not is the topic for an entirely different discussion) or it is due to Windows poor handling of power management. We can hope they have figured something better out in Windows 8, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Greg Hicks
Tekamba Computers, LLC
Prescott Valley, AZ

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Sleep mode Gregs reply
by jrap30 / October 6, 2012 1:04 AM PDT

I concurred with Greg, Hibernate, sleep mode has always been an issue since introduce in XP, Unless you use the battery it is a wasted function. Now MS has fixed it mostly by the time W7 came out but I have notice the same problem with "force sleep" when shutting the lid on my 1 month old Lenovo. Start the machine in the morning or whenever and when you know you will not use it for a few hours ..power it down, shutdown....othertimes use the screen saver or shut off your screen.

The battery trick has been posted millions of times on the net.. Oh and when you configure energy saver, do not connfigure it for when plug it to wall.

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The Kioss From Prince Charming
by BRedmond0211 / October 8, 2012 9:02 AM PDT

My problem with sleep/hibernate on my XP Lenovo is that if I'm not paying attention while running on battery and the battery gets too low, the machine goes into one of these modes and it is impossible to wake it up; I have to shut it down and start it up again. I haven't found any key combination, pad swipe or anything that will wake it up again after applying AC power.

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Laptop Won't wake Up from Sleep

Hello Carlie,

It appears to me that you may end up having a hardware problem with one of the Laptop components or even the part that connects and controls both the power cord and battery ( Start and Shutdown button as well ).

I am hopping not, it's also possible that your hirbernate file could be corrupted. The hibernate file is a way for Windows to maintain the most usable applications and maybe files that your are working with and they are store on a certain part of the hard drive. Please remember that - it's just a copy of what you where using - but the problems is that having the hibernate enable, and you put the Laptop to sleep, some applications misbehave, and they try to load many of their own files again, even though Windows save them in the hiberfil space allocated for hibernate.

When these applicaitions try to load part of their own program for the second time, windows goes into errors since windows already know that those programs services are already store in the hiberfil allocation.

I am going to give you 2 choices, in the hope that one of them could fix your problems.

1- Turning the hibernate file completely off.
For this purspose, please make sure you have all applications, Gadgets closed.
Click on the Start Orb.
When the list opens - at the bottom is the search box - please type -- COMMAND PROMPT.
The command prompts is a block icon.
Mouse over and put the pointer on top of it.
Right click it - a menu will appear - Choose - Run as Administrator.

Now you have the Command Prompt Window which is a DOS Window.

Type the Following in lower case or upper case and press ENTER.

powercfg -h off

This command will clear the entire hiberfill section on the hard drive allocated by windows. You just turning it off not loosing anything.

When you press Enter, you will just get another prompt reading C:\Windows\System32>

That means that you executed the command correctly.

Type Exit - The DOS window will disappear.

Please RE-START your Laptop from the Start Menu.

If the error, was happenning due to a Corrupted Hiberfill file, then you should be able to return to the desktop.
If everything is ok so far, look for the battery icon on the right side near the time and date.
Click the Battery Icon 1 time, a menu will appear - choose the label:
More power options.

In the new windows that opens, every choice presented to you, will no longer have the choice to put the Laptop in hibernate mode. It would be just sleep, Shutdown or Do Nothing.

From here, make your choices for what happens when you close the lid, press the power button, or press the sleep button.

After you choose, if you select put the computer to sleep when pressing the power button, then test it to see if it now works.

I DON'T RECOMMEND - that you turn the hybernate mode back on - but if you want to, all you have to do is repeat the steps above to get to the Command Prompt and type - powercfg -h on and press enter.

2 - Microsfot has a fix it page that fix some issues automatically by you running the Fix it for me automatically.
Here i am giving you - First the page to the fix it for power issues, and second the MAIN Fix it Solution Center.

If you would like, you may try to run the Fix it for me Automatically first ---- if you feel unconfortable about my first step instructions.

In either case, since I beta tested Windows Vista and 7, I would recommend to all that you turn off the hibernate, it does nothing but take space in your hard drive and causes people to think that is Vista or 7 problems, when in deed most of the issues relating to hibernation are due to misbehaving applications in wanting to load its associated more then once.

You still have the choice to put the computer to sleep, and by now Vista loads fast from sleep and Win 7 even faster. So you loose nothing but gain the opportunity to wake from sleep without the corrupted hibernate file.

At the end, if neither of these steps help you, it may end up being hardware related.

Good Luck.

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Yes, a hardware problem !
by altini_s1 / September 29, 2012 6:38 AM PDT

Don't waste time and money buying battery or other things.
There is no software bug that makes a laptop not to turn on!
Time for a new one!

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I disagree
by 4Denise / September 29, 2012 8:19 AM PDT

Many people have software problems that cause computers to not wake up when using sleep or hibernate mode. It is very common. That is why I never use those features.

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RE: Yes, a hardware problem
by BRedmond0211 / October 8, 2012 9:04 AM PDT

We're not talking about a failure to cold boot but a failure to wake up again after going to sleep or hibernate. Totally different situation, totally different set of answers.

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Narcoleptic computer

I spent the better part of a year beating my head on the wall because my desktop kept going to sleep at random intervals, and sometimes when I would wake it up, it would drop right back off, sometimes before it even finished waking up.

I finally figured out that my "sleep" key was stuck. I didn't even know I HAD a sleep key! New keyboard, computer is all better. Is your power button sticking?

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Your power management seems to have gone wrong

It would appear that in some way your power management on your computer has gone wrong.

There can be a number of reasons for this -

It could be due to a Windows software problem or more seriously an issue with either the BIOS or the actual advanced power management in the computer.

The first thing to try is to re-install Vista from scratch - backup everything you have on your PC (normally all of your documents should be in the C:\Users folder so as long as you have that backed up you should have everything - any programs you've bought you will need the re-installation discs for.

As it's a Dell laptop you should have a system restore partition.

Reboot the computer and when you see the Dell logo repeatedly press F8 until you see the advanced boot options menu.

From the advanced boot options menu choose Repair Your Computer

At this point it depends on which version of the recovery program you have, they switched from one to the other in 2009...

First method

Login as administrator (this is the account you set up when you first got the computer)
Click Dell Factory Image and Data Recovery Options
then follow the onscreen prompts

Second method

Click next to select the default keyboard settings
Login as administrator
Click the Dell Backup and Recovery Link
Choose the backup you want to restore to from the drop down box
Agree to restoring the backup warning that this will wipe all data from your hard drive.

Both of these programs will wipe your computer entirely removing all existing documents, etc and restoring the computer to as if it had just come out of the factory. So please ensure that all your data is backed up before doing this

Further instructions are available from here:

If that doesn't fix it then it would appear that your power management on the board has gone wrong. You again have a few more options.

Search to see if there is an update for the BIOS for your computer. Computers have different BIOS files so you need to go into Dell's drivers section on their website and see if there is an update for the BIOS. If there is then update the BIOS and see if that fixes the problem - bear in mind though that when updating the BIOS ensure your computer is on mains power rather than battery. Also as your computer is prone to going to sleep I would suggest you disable sleep mode whilst updating it, or create a DOS boot CD and update it from there. Updating the BIOS can be quite dangerous because if it goes wrong it can leave the computer unusable, so be very careful when doing this, and if possible get an IT professional to help you do this.

Finally disable power management - go into the display properties and click the Screen Saver tab. Click the Power Management button and change the settings to always on. Whilst this will mean that you'll need to remember to always shut your PC down it will stop your computer from entering sleep mode and should solve the problem. There is also power management settings within the BIOS as well, but it's probably best to leave those alone if you don't know what your doing, or get a professional in to change those for you.

You may have noticed that twice I've recommended that if playing with the BIOS your best getting a professional in, and this is with very good reason - when a computer first boots up the BIOS runs a POST test (Power On Self Test - POST acronym) to check everything is ok, it then figures out exactly what everything is and what it needs to do next to make the computer load anything. Without the BIOS the computer can't do anything, and if the BIOS gets messed up unless you have a Dual-BIOS board there is usually very little you can do about it which is why it is so dangerous to play if you don't know what your doing - especially if your updating the BIOS 'cos if it gets half-way through updating and fails you can end up with a computer with no BIOS or the wrong BIOS for the hardware.

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Driver updates
by Droid / September 28, 2012 6:28 PM PDT

Your problem could be a failing component in the power supply circuit; does it happen after a full shutdown or only when you've let the pc go to sleep ? If it's failing to power-up from scratch then all this talk of windows and drivers is a waste of time.
Assuming we're looking for a software issue:
Sleep & wakeup rely on correct operation of the bios and driver software for the components in the laptop. It's well worth checking for updates at the Dell website (go to support, drivers & downloads, & then "choose from a list" and select your model. )
I had a look and there's a bios update dated april 2010 which might be worth trying.
Another thing that comes to mind: have you checked Windows Update, particularly to ensure that you have the latest Vista service pack ?

If those don't help I would consider a fresh install of windows+drivers, or a factory restore as detailed in an earlier post..

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Could be a simple hardware issue!

Is ir 'sleeping', or powering off?
If it is powering off then it could be a typical Laptop problem of the CPU and /or Graphics chip getting too hot!
Modern laptops have a heat transfer system from chips to a radiator. After a while the radiator fins get clogged
with dust, so no air, chips get too hot and a thermister tells the power system to 'shut down'.
Cleaning the radiator is easy, just a blow out. However getting to it may mean a complete strip down of the laptop.
Some it is just a matter of removing a panel and a few screws and the whole cooling assembly comes out.
The fan can then be eased from the radiator and the fins cleaned of dust. Put it all back together and this may
well solve the problem. Well it has with me on numerous occasions.
Hope this helps someone?

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Cooling problem causeing shutdown.
by fahrm / October 5, 2012 11:00 AM PDT

This is a good suggestion. I had a lap top that was hot enough to cause the fan to race up and down in speed. I determined which was the intake and exit vents on the unit and blew air into the intake and put a vacum on the exit vent. It is now running fine.

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RipVanWinkle Dell Inspiron

Have you tried removing the battery. Leaving the battery out and powering on? This would isolate the problem to either the battery logic module or the system and BIOS. If it powers up with AC power and the battery removed, let the battery completely discharge and then re-educate the battery. You may just have to buy a new battery.
If it does not power up with the battery removed then the next time it wakes up update your BIOS.

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lap top goes to sleep and won't wake up

have you tried changing the power cord it may work

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Computer sleep problems

The sleep state problems started with some of the first security patches for Vista and even continue on to windows 7 Microsoft has several patches available for this on their site --they have worked for me on about half of the computers I have had trouble with... or as several others said in this thread--change your power management to either " do nothing, or to shut down after no activity or when you shut the lid"
Good luck

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Power settings

Your machine is going into hibernate status. You will find this either in power settings w/in your OS or BIOS settings. Change hibernate to a non-option and it shouldn't happen any longer.

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