How to set up a Windows PC to stay awake

Windows has a number of settings that allow you to control when your PC goes to sleep (sleep) when idle. However, in certain situations, you may want to keep your PC “awake” longer than usual, such as when you need to download a file that you know will take a long time.

Instead of changing a system-level setting then having to do a rather laborious reset, you can simply use a tool called “Awake” from Microsoft’s “PowerToys” toolkit to stop your computer your device goes to sleep mode when needed.

Install PowerToys on PC first

If you’re new to PowerToys, it’s a pretty powerful collection of tools, with lots of which you can use to tweak and improve your Windows experience. The Awake tool we are talking about is just one of them.

PowerToys can be downloaded from Microsoft’s GitHub page. This is a completely free and open source application. Download the EXE file from the most recent release (avoid experimental releases).

Download the EXE file

After the file is downloaded, click on it and follow the instructions to go through the installation process as usual.

To access the FancyZones setup page once the app is installed, simply open PowerToys by clicking its icon from the system tray on the taskbar, as shown below.

Tap the PowerToys icon

How to Use the “Awake” Tool

When the PowerToys window opens, select “Awake” from the sidebar menu and enable the “Enable Awake“.

Enable the “Enable Awake” option

Now, you will see some options appear. The first is “Keep Screen On“in the”Behavior“. If you enable this feature, not only will the PC work, but the screen will also stay on.

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“Keep Screen On”

Next, you can choose which mode to use. There are three different options including:

  • Off (Passive): The PC will determine when to go to sleep based on the existing system settings.
  • Keep Awake Indefinitely: Your PC will stay awake until you turn it off or disable this setting.
  • Keep Awake Temporarily: You can set a specific time for the PC to stay awake.

Select a mode you want.

Choose a mode you want

If you choose the “Temporarily” (temporary), you can set specific hours and minutes.

Set a timeline

That’s the basic way to use the Awake tool, but there’s actually an even easier way. Open the Notification Area — commonly known as the “System Tray” — and right-click the coffee cup icon.

Coffee cup icon

A small menu will open and you can select “Keep Screen On” and hover over “Mode” to quickly switch between modes right here.

Mode

To disable Awake, simply go to the same steps described above and switch it back to “Off (Passive)“.

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