Why Does My Laptop Shut Down Instead of Going to Sleep?

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One of the most frustrating issues you can encounter with a device, usually your computer, is when it starts doing something it never did before. Typically, this is something you didn’t want it to do: It takes 15 more seconds to boot, it’s emitting some strange noise, or it is unable to launch the application you’ve been using for the last three months. Weird things like that.

To add to the pile, Lifehacker reader Melissa emailed us this perplexing problem:

I’ve had my laptop for about 5 years. It’s an ASUS, running Windows 10, antivirus ESET, use Chrome as primary browser.

I have always had the settings set to sleep (or hibernate? It’s interchangeable to me) when I step away. I don’t use the laptop in public, so there are no privacy settings needed other than my passcode. I go to work, it sleeps. I come home and hit the spacebar or power button, it picks up browsing the internet right where I left off.

In the last month or 2, this changed. I’m wondering if there was a Windows update that flipped a setting somewhere, or if something is wrong with my computer. Every time I leave for more than like 30 minutes, the computer shuts down completely. I hit the power button, it takes me through the ASUS loading screen, and I have to wait for everything to reboot, including the ESET software. I have to re-open Chrome and Restore my browsing session.

What’s going on?

This is definitely a quirky issue, but there’s a slight silver lining to your problem. I don’t think you’ve done anything that would cause your laptop to suddenly shut down instead of sleep; I think the fault is entirely your laptop’s.

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Still, my first inclination is to send you over to your laptop’s “Power & Sleep Settings” screen—accessible by typing that phrase after clicking on the Windows Start button. Once there, scroll down a bit until you see the “Additional power settings” link, and click on that.

Screenshot: David Murphy

In the screen that appears—your Control Panel’s “Power Options” section—click on the “Choose what closing the lid does” link on the left-hand sidebar. You should then see a screen that looks like this:

Screenshot: David Murphy

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If your pressing of the power button and/or closing of your laptop’s lid isn’t set to put it to sleep, make sure it is for whenever your laptop is plugged in or using its battery. This should solve your problem.

However, if all of these settings are already set to “sleep,” the plot thickens. In this case, I think the issue is even quirkier.

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You’ll want to open up your “Device Manager” by typing that phrase after you click the Start button. Once there, expand your System Devices and look for an “Intel Management Engine Interface.” If you find it, right-click on it, select “Properties,” and then click on the Power Management tab. Uncheck “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power,” and see if that fixes the problem.

If not, this computer-within-a-computer might need an updated driver. Click on the Driver tab, and then Update Driver, to see if you can get a newer version compared to whatever it is you’re currently using (which you can see on the Driver Version line). If your system doesn’t find anything, you might have to download an updated driver from Intel and install it manually.

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And if none of that works, your final option is to either roll back to the driver to something prior to version 11—if you can—or disable the Intel Management Engine Interface entirely. These are both options within the same Driver tab.

I’m hopeful that one of these answers should fix your problem, but write back if you’re still having issues with a laptop that prefers to shut down instead of sleep. We’ll find the right digital NyQuil for your device.

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Do you have a tech question keeping you up at night? Tired of troubleshooting your Windows or Mac? Looking for advice on apps, browser extensions, or utilities to accomplish a particular task? Let us know! Tell us in the comments below or email david.murphy@lifehacker.com.

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