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The Energy Saver Control Panel was originally developed for PowerBooks to save battery life. It has now been included for desktop models mainly for the startup and shutdown scheduling. My experience is with desktop models as I have not as of yet been fortunate enough to own a PowerBook.

In the "Sleep Setup" window you can adjust the time span of inactivity it takes for your computer to go to sleep. You can also choose separate time spans for your monitor and your hard disk. The difference is that it takes the hard drive awhile to wake back up and while the energy savings can be important to PowerBook users, it is of minimal savings to desktop users. The monitor is what uses the most energy and if I haven't been at my computer for 20 minutes, I probably don't want the distraction of the light source. Not to mention that there is no physical button on my iMac to turn off my monitor. Therefore, I only put my monitor to sleep.

To wake your Mac you just press any key (on some models the function keys won't accomplish this.

 

In the "Schedule" window is where you can schedule your day (or night). You can schedule when to start and shutdown (or sleep) your Mac.

These choices will vary according to your particular desires. Here are a few things to consider as you make your choices.

Startup is pretty easy if you start your day at a regular hour.

The decision between shutdown or sleep (and whether you even want either) is a matter of personal preference.

Personally, I like to manually shut down my computer at night, I prefer to have a fresh startup every morning as it gives me the peace of mind that I'm not starting with yesterday's possible conflicts. Besides, if I'm still awake at 1:30AM, I need the dope slap!!!!

Many would choose the sleep option as nothing is shutdown and possibly not saved, everything will wake as you left it. It has been my experience that if a file has not been saved, the save dialog comes up and waits until you make a decision. Thus not shutting down until you get back in the morning. For those who have unpredictable schedules might do best not using this option and just use the "Sleep Setup" for when they are away from their Macs.

 

As for the "Advanced Settings" window, if you are on a network or have your computer set up to receive faxes, you will be able to make better decisions than I suggestions.

 

There is also a Control Strip module for the Energy Saver Control Panel. This is for the immediate power conservation needs of PowerBook owners and I've had trouble using it on my iMac.

 

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