Windows Power Settings for Installations

For beginners who are new to using TouchDesigner or working in a performance or installation setting, best practices for settings and optimizations outside of your software tools may not be top of mind. Many of the settings related to the way Windows functions can have a huge impact on whether or not you run into issues like performance bottlenecks or the computer sleeping mid show.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the power-related settings in Windows that are crucial to adjust to make sure that you don’t run into any unintentional headaches.

Where to Find Power Settings

If you’ve never had to deal with power settings on Windows before, you might be wondering where you can find them!

First, open the start menu and click on the gear icon on the left. This will open the Settings window.

Within the Settings window, click System. Scroll down the list that appears on the left, and click on Power & sleep.

You might think our journey ends here, but we’re not quite finished yet! The more advanced settings are not found on this page. To access them, click the Additional power settings link at the bottom of the page.

This will bring up an old friend for long time Windows users, the Control Panel. Many settings are still located within the Control Panel, including the advanced power options we need to adjust.

Adjusting Power Settings

Once you’ve reached the Power Options page within the Control Panel, switch the power plan from Balanced (recommended) to High Performance. As you can see from the description, this mode “favors performance, but uses more energy”. In our case, we want to squeeze all the performance we can out of the machine.

Click on the Change plan settings link for the High performance plan, and then change both the Turn off the display and Put the computer to sleep settings to Never. Regardless of whether you’re using a laptop for a one time performance or a desktop for a long term installation, this will ensure that the computer won’t unintentionally turn off the display or go to sleep!

Advanced Settings

Next, click Change advanced power settings. This will bring up a window additional options that we’ll customize.

It’s important to note at this point that the advanced settings you’ll have available in the Power Options window will vary from computer to computer, and may not match what you see below. For example, take a look at the different settings available on a desktop versus an ASUS laptop.

Advanced settings on desktop
Advanced settings on ASUS laptop

Many laptops will come with their own power management or OEM software (ASUS or Lenovo, for example), which in some cases reduces the number of options available in this window. If your computer has power management software, it’s important to check within that software that all settings are set to max performance.

Another important difference to note is that laptops will have a variety of battery-related options that won’t be available on desktops.

Now let’s get back to adjusting the advanced settings!

Within the Advanced settings window, make sure that Turn off hard disk is set to Never (this corresponds to a value of 0 minutes, if you click on the setting). Also check that USB selective suspend has been Disabled.

Under Processor power management, set the Maximum processor state to 100%. If using a laptop, make sure to set both On battery and Plugged in to 100%. We want to make sure we’re using all of our available processing power, even when running on battery.

Under Wireless Adapter Settings, set Setting or Plugged in (laptops) to Maximum Performance. No need to reduce wireless performance when plugged in!

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Other Important Settings

Some additional important settings for both desktop and laptop users are Choose what the power buttons do and Choose what closing the lid does. Although these settings can be changed within the previous Advanced Settings window, they are also available in the Power Options section of the Control Panel, with a bit more accessible/clear UI. Click on Choose what the power buttons do to head to that page.

You should see a similar page to the one below. Set the power button, sleep button, and close lid settings (if using a laptop) to Do Nothing. This will ensure that if you accidentally hit the power button during a performance, or close the computer’s lid, you won’t be interrupted by the computer trying to sleep or shut down.

Another good thing to double check for laptop users is the Battery saver setting. Click the battery icon in the taskbar. If Battery saver is on, the tile will be highlighted in blue. Click on the Batter saver tile to turn it off.

Then click the Battery settings link above the battery saver tile. This will take you to the Battery page of the Settings -> System window. Double check that battery saver is set to Off and that Turn battery saver on automatically at is set to Never.

While we’re here, it’s always good practice to double check that the display and sleep settings updated under the Power & sleep section. Click Power & sleep and double check that all settings are set to Never.

Wrap Up

Adjusting the power settings within Windows is an important best practice to learn as you’re getting your project production ready. With all of the above settings in place, you can rest easy knowing that your computer is set to run at full speed, and won’t go to sleep when you accidentally hit the power button! Hopefully this article has helped you to get more comfortable with poking around in Windows settings to get the most out of your machine.