A well-known feature of Windows 10 and its predecessors (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) is the wake timer, which when triggered, is responsible for waking your Windows PC up from either Sleep/Hibernate in order to perform scheduled tasks for system security and stability (e.g. System Maintenance, Windows Updates, Windows Defender Scanning).
While this feature might be useful for the average Windows user, it might not be so great for the bit more tech-savvy users who might actually want Windows to remain in Sleep or Hibernate without automatically waking to perform tasks.
- Part 1: Disable the most common Wake Timer setters.
- Part 2: Deal with the other uncommon Wake Timers.
Part 1: Disable the most common Wake Timer setters
1 Disable Wake Timers in Power Settings
1.1: Right-click on Start and select Run. Type powercfg.cpl and hit ENTER:
1.2: In ‘Control Panel’s Power Options’, to the right of the bold power plan, click ‘Change plan settings’:
1.3: In ‘Edit Plan Settings’, click ‘Change advanced power settings’:
1.4: In ‘Power Options’ Window, Expand ‘Sleep’ option, Expand ‘Allow wake timers’, and change the ‘Setting’ option to Disable:
1.5: Finally, click OK to save changes to the power settings:
1.6: Repeat Steps 1.2 – 1.5 for each Power Plan (e.g. ‘High Performance’, ‘Power saver’) if you use them:
2 Check for and disable currently set Wake Timers
2.1 Right-click on Start and select Command Prompt (Admin):
2.2 In Command Prompt (Admin), type powercfg -waketimers and hit ENTER:
*Explanation: This will list all currently set wake timers.
2.3 If the message lists a Wake Timer called ‘Maintenance Activator’, you will have to disable System Maintenance Wake Timer:
*Explanation: System Maintenance is enabled by default in Windows 10, for system security and stability.
2.4: If the message lists a Wake Timer called ‘UpdateOrchestrator\Reboot’, the solution will depend on whether you prefer automatic Windows Updates or not:
*Explanation: Whenever Windows Updates are manually or automatically installed, a Windows Update Restart Wake Timer is created.
Solution if you prefer Automatic Windows Updates (the default setting): Reboot your system, and the Wake Timer will disappear.
Solution if you prefer manually installing Windows Updates, and not to have Automatic Windows Updates that create pending restart wake timers that wake your system: Disable Automatic Windows Updates. From now on, once you manually install updates, immediately reboot your system to extinguish those Wake Timers.
2.5 If the message says ‘There are no active wake timers in the system’, all currently set Wake Timers have been disabled!
With the above steps, all current Wake Timers will be disabled and your system will remain in Sleep or Hibernate without automatically waking up, at least for now.
However, from time to time you might still get wake surprises.
This is mostly due to system updates (e.g. Windows Updates, driver updates, new hardware, applications) that create wake timers.
Three are four categories of Wake Sources from my experience:
- Device drivers – E.g. Razer mouse/keyboard driver creates wake timers:
- System services – E.g. ATI graphics ‘AdaptiveSleepService’ system service for power-saving:
- Scheduled Tasks – E.g. Windows Update’s Reboot Scheduled Task:
- Applications – E.g. Spotify, VirtualBox
Now let’s move on to identifying out the responsible Wake Sources.
Part 2: Deal with uncommon wake timers
1 Begin by tracking down that Wake Source. This is done by checking the Event Logs of your system that give valuable information.
1.1 Right-click on Start and select Event Viewer:
1.2 In Event Viewer, in the left pane, Expand Windows Logs, and Right-click on System log and click Filter Current Log:
1.3 In Filter Current Log, enter ‘1′ as the Event ID to filter by and click OK:
1.4 Click through all Information entries with ‘Power-Troubleshooter’ as the Source with 1 as the Event ID. Repeat this until you find an entry you are certain was when your PC woke itself up. If your PC had just woken up, it should be the latest entry:
1.5 Take note of the Wake Source under the bottom pane’s General Tab:
If the Wake Source is a Device (e.g. Wake Source: Device – Razer Abyssus’), the wake timer was due to a Device Driver:
If the Wake Source is A Message (E.g. Wake Source: S4 Doze to Hibernate), the wake timer was due to System Services:
If the Wake Source is Unknown (e.g. ‘Wake Source: Unknown), the wake timer was due to a Scheduled Task or Application:
2 If the Wake Source is a Device, move on to Step 3.
If the Wake Source is A Message, jump to Step 4.
If the Wake Source is Unknown, jump to Step 5.
3 Assess whether to disable wake for, or uninstall, the faulting device driver.
NOTE: Most device drivers should not wake the system, but occasionally device manufacturers may introduce bugs that wake the system.
If the device requires vendor-proprietary drivers, continue at Step 3.1.
If the device doesn’t require a vendor-specific driver (as in the case of a mouse/keyboard), continue at Step 3.2.
If you don’t know whether your device requires vendor-specific drivers, simply continue at Step 3.1.
3.1 Disable wake for that device driver
3.1.1 Right-click on Start and select Device Manager:
3.1.2 In Device Manager, look through the item groups until you find the device with the same name as that found in the Event Log entry. Right-click on the device and click Properties:
3.1.3 In Properties, click the Power Management tab, and uncheck the box “Allow this device to wake the computer”, then click OK:
3.1.4 Congratulations, Wake events are now disabled for the problematic device. Remember to file for a bug report to your device manufacturer to correct the issue.
3.2 Uninstall the problematic device driver
3.2.1 Right-click on Start and select Device Manager:
3.2.2 In Device Manager, look through the item groups until you find the device with the same name as that found in the Event Log entry. Right-click on the device and click Properties:
3.2.3 In Properties, click the Driver tab, click on Uninstall, check the box ‘delete the driver software for this device’ and click OK:
NOTE: This step ensures Windows won’t reinstall those problematic drivers automatically.
3.2.4 Reconnect the device to reinstall basic drivers from Microsoft.
3.2.5 Congratulations, with the default driver, no Wake events should occur for this device.
4 Disable any power-related service.
4.1 Right-click on Start and select Services:
4.2 Look through the services until you find a Service suspected to be related to Power-saving. Right-click on the service and select Properties. In Properties, change the Startup type to Manual, and click Stop to stop the service:
4.3 Congratulations, you have successfully stopped Service-related Wakes.
5 Find out which Task woke your system, and disable wake for that scheduled task.
5.1 Copy all of the following code. Now we’re ready to use Windows Powershell to uncover those pesky tasks.
5.2 Right-click on Start and Click Run. Type powershell and hit ENTER:
5.3 Right-click only in the Powershell window to paste the code and press ENTER:
NOTE: This will show you a list of Tasks that occurred within the same minute as the wake event. You should most often see only a few Tasks.
5.4 Read the TaskPath and TaskName for the responsible Task(s):
In my case, the Scheduled Task’s TaskName is “Reboot” and is located in folder “\Microsoft\Windows\UpdateOrchestrator\”.
We’re almost done, we just have to disable the wake for this Task.
5.5 Right-click on Start and Click Run. Type taskschd.msc and hit ENTER:
5.6 In Task Scheduler, in the left pane, based on the TaskPath earlier navigate to Task Scheduler (Local) > Task Scheduler Library > Task > Path, and in the right pane, right-click on TaskName and click Properties:
For instance, in my case this would be Task Scheduler (Local) > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > UpdateOrchestrator, and right-click on Reboot and click Properties:
5.7 In Properties of the Task, click the Condition tab, and under Power section, uncheck the box “Wake the computer to run the task”:
5.8 Repeat Step 5.6 for each Task you find in Step 5.4.
5.9 Congratulations, you have successfully disabled wake for problematic Scheduled Task(s). However, if you are still getting Wake issues, move on to Step 6.
6.0 Find out the responsible Application, by closing / restarting them.
6.1 Unfortunately there’s no easy way for this one. Because Event Logs don’t give us any information as to which application woke the system, we have to resort to the process of Elimination.
6.2 Try closing the Most Suspicious Applications.
There are two from my experience: Spotify and VirtualBox.
6.2.1a From my experience (Happened on 23rd November 2017, on version 220.127.116.117.g6864aaaf), Spotify seems to set a wake timer when it has an update, but you haven’t restarted it to update it.
6.2.1b Solution? Close it, reopen it to update it. Pressing the X button to close it might minimize it to the Tray Area on the Toolbar (depending on settings) , so make sure to close it fully. Then reopen it to update it.
6.2.2c That should stop Spotify from waking your PC every minute.
6.2.2 A running VirtualBox VM
6.2.2a From my own usage of Virtualbox, a running Virtualbox VM instance might randomly set a wake timer.
6.2.2b Solution? Shutdown / Save state the running VirtualBox VM(s).
6.2.2c That should stop the VirtualBox VM from waking your PC every minute.
Explanation / Discussion: I am still unsure about the cause for this one. My suspicion though is that it might be related to VirtualBox’s network adapter settings, because it often happens to one of my VMs that uses an Internal Network. Yet again, it also happens on regular bridge network VMs, much more rarely though. So there might just be a bug in the interface between the VirtualBox Hypervisor and the PC’s physical network card. Maybe someone has a better idea.
6.3 Sleep your PC as usual.
6.4 If it wakes up again, repeat Step 6.2 until you identify the suspicious application. After all, that was how I found out that one of them was Spotify.
If you have followed the guide entirely, you would have learnt a great deal about the variety of Wake Sources; who would’ve known it would be so complex.
The good news is that you will now be able to deal with any present wake problems and future gotcha wake surprises – all to keep your system is wake-proof.
I hope this helps you all.