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Computer will not come out of sleep mode

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Computer will not come out of sleep mode

  • My Dell Inspiron 531 will not come out of sleep mode if I move/click mouse or press a key on the keyboard. I was told this was a common problem with Windows Vista. Any solutions?
  • You could try Dell Support, but in my experience of a similar problem, they several times came up with the singularly unhelpful suggestion of turning off the power save facility altogether, and eventually I had to fault find myself.

    What are the symptoms? Does the machine simply go to sleep, fans and lights off, or is it powering off the screen, but then hanging with fans running, requiring a reset or power interruption to resume? You'll know if you've got this problem because when you power off and then restart, Vista will complain that it didn't shut down properly.

    If it is powering off properly, then possibly you just need to tinker with the power save settings in Control Panel. I'm sure you're keyboard and mouse are USB connected, and if this is the case then try changing the USB Selective suspend setting - Control Panel> Power Options> Select A Power Plan> Change Plan Settings> Change Advanced Power Settings. If in doubt after playing with power save options, you can always select "Restore Plan Deafults" to take the plan back to how it was first configured. You may also want to change the assignment of power option buttons with "Change Advanced Power Settings", so that the power button on the case is assigned to "Sleep". This may then enable you to bring the machine out of sleep if the keyboard can't be forced to, although you've then always got to shut Vista down from the screen.

    You've got a few other things to check as well - there was an urgent BIOS upgrade for the Inspiron 531 issued last week, and you will want to load this. Check for any other relevant updates issued by Dell as well. This is under the Drivers and Downloads section of the Dell Support site.

    If, however, you've got the problem of the machine hanging and not entering shutdown properly, chances are that you have a misbehaving driver (possibly a third party service or application as well, but this is less likely than a driver problem. In my case, the problem was that Dell's OEM Creative XFi drivers listed for my Dimension 9200/XPS410 don't work properly on my machine, and the only solution has been to disable the XFi drivers, and use the on-board sound. Your Inspiron 531 has build options for integrated 7.1 sound, integrated XFi, or an add on OEM Creative Xfi card. If you've got an XFi, you can try loading the latest drivers. Note that the XFi products that I've mentioned are Dell OEM items, and you can only use the Dell drivers - Creative drivers on their web site are only suited to the retail boxed product, and will not work with OEM versions (I have tried). of course, if you don't have an XFi then it won't be that!

    Let us know whether any of these work for you. There is no reason why you can't have Vista working reliably in sleep mode, but you might have to forgo any device that doesn't have a proper driver.


  • When the system is in the standby or hibernate state, try just pressing and releasing the power button one time and describe what happens, please.



  • Yes, I've tried pressing and releasing the power button and it does nothing.
  • It looks like it goes to sleep mode and for me to get it out of it I have to power off the entire system and turn it on again and as you said, I will get a message that says computer was not shut down properly. I've tried the power save settings in the control panel as you mentioned. I also contacted Dell Support and as with you, they came with the unhelpful suggestion of turning off the power save facility altogether. I wasn't really satisfied with that solution since it doesn't really doesn't solve the problem. I just can't ever put it into sleep or hibernate mode!
  • By the way, thanks for all your suggestions!
  • Hi ShLee,

    you can try asking Dell Support to sort this out, which they ought to do, but bear in mind that they may well ask you to do things that will take up time but (in my experience of this problem) won't help you, such as a full PC restore. Like we really want to spend our time doing a full data back up, a full format and restore, reinstall our apps, recreate all our settings, copy back our data, and then find that lo and behold, no change! I should also tell you that when I continued to press Dell's support team for a solution they even had the audacity to tell me that this was "a software problem" and that I needed to call their additional cost software support service! After a couple of terse emails to various parts of Dell they did in fact phone me, and tried the Dell Connect service at no charge to me, but that still didn't solve the problem. Actually, in fairness to them, the problem disappeared for a few days, and I thought all was well, but it soon reappeared, and I guess they were just lucky with an intermittent problem. The technician on the phone certainly wasn't able to explain exactly why he expected playing around with the sleep settings to make a difference to an intermittent lock up.

    How frequently are you getting this problem? I found that I was getting it about once every six or seven attempts at sleep mode. The "easy" way to check this is to look in Control Panel> Administrative Tools> Event Viewer. Event Viewer is one of the many good things about Vista, but it isn't particularly user friendly. When it has loaded the data (takes a minute or so) click on the "Critical Events" line in the window titled "Summary of Administrative Events", and you will probably see something that reads "Event ID 41 Kernel Power-System". Event 41 means a failed transition to sleep, and the number of event 41's is the number of times this has happened to your machine (going back as far as the log allows). Now, expand the "Information" line in the Summary window. There will be thousands of events summarised, but scroll down to Event ID 42 (luckily they are shown in numerical order, so not too far to search) and see how many of those you have, because an event 42 is a successful transition to sleep. Take the event 41 and 42 numbers, and you can see how often the system fails to enter sleep properly. The reason for doing this is that you can challenge Dell to fix your system because it has a proven fault (and if the log goes back far enough, then you can prove that it has been faulty since new). It can also give you an objective view of how bad the problem is .

    As a short term fix you may choose (depending on the frequency of the problem) to disable sleep mode on a timer, and to only have the machine sleep when you request it from the start menu. That really isn't acceptable, but it does mean that the machine shouldn't lock up with open applications and unsaved (and then lost) work. The danger here is that you get to tolerate this inadequate solution, and subsequent fault finding becomes more difficult because you see the problem much less frequently. An alternative is to push the automatic sleep timer well back (say thirty or sixty minutes of inactivity) which will simply reduce the frequency with which the machine goes to sleep, and thus reduce the frequency of the lockups.

    Do you have an XFi installed? I know I'm harping on about the XFi, but that's where my problem was, and the following link shows that I'm not the only one:
    Incidentally the speaker issue this article mentions is a bit of a red-herring if you've got a normal off board amplifier or powered speaker setup, because you can remove the XFi drivers, enable the on board sound and connect that to the amp and speaker setup. Other XFi driver problems that I've seen have been loss of sound after successfully coming back from sleep mode, and occasional mixing up of the channels on my 5.1 speaker setup.

    If you don't have an XFi, then it may be another device driver, so you might want to try posting your system details, because that may help somebody spot something.

    More generally, do any of the Dell staff hereabout have anything to say about:

    1) Suggesting that sleep problems can be solved by turning off the sleep functionality?

    2) Suggesting that sleep problems are somehow an inherent part of Vists (isn't that libellous?)

    3) Vista systems that don't work properly, a year after Vista was released to manufacturers? I can accept teething problems, I can accept limited support for legacy apps and hardware, but I don't accept that a brand new system, made some twenty five years after the PC was invented, should be subject to random lock ups straight out of the box with no user apps or additional hardware installed.

    4) Problems with Dell branded driver software that appears to cause these sleep problems

    I would like to offer my perception of Dell's approach in my case, with a little analogy: A man buys a truck from the Dell Computers Garage. The owner notices that the driver's door lock intermittently seizes. First of all, the service department tell him "they all do that", but the man doesn't like this and complains again. Dell's service department then suggest that if the driver leaves his door permanently locked, and climbs in through the passenger door, then he won't have a problem with the driver's door lock. The man complains that this is not a solution, so Dell get him to dismantle the truck and rebuild it with all of the same parts, but after spending an afternoon on this, it still doesn't solve the problem. The owner complains again, and is told that the problem is (suddenly) not the right sort of problem, and he must pay separately for a truck fitter to come and have a look at the problem, even inside the warranty period...


  • I am desperate to find a solution to my problem related to "Entering Standby or Sleep mode". I rebooted three times and even unplugged the power cord but when I press the power on button, it will display the text "Entering standby mode" for a second and then the display went black and now my Windows Vista never came up..

    It all started when I rebooted the Windows Vista Business after an anti-virus program was installed..  The first reboot display the Windows user login screen but the mouse and keyboard were frozen. I had to press the PC power OFF button and then ON to re-boot. However it repeatedly went into sleep mode (with the brief display of the text I mentioned above) no matter if the keyboard or mouse is pressed.  Now I can no longer bring up Vista. HELP!