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Vexing Sleep-of-death Issue Finally Succumbs to Persistent Troubleshooting

About two years ago, my wife needed a new PC and I wanted to check out a mini-ITX build, so her needs and my insatiable desire to tinker coincided nicely. Out of that effort came a very nice small system for her, built around an MSI Industrial 945GME1 Core 2 Duo Mobile Mini-ITX motherboard and a Morex T-3500 150W Mini-ITX case (see photo below). I equipped it with an Intel Core Duo T2300 mobile CPU, 4 GB of RAM, and a speedy 250 GB 7200 RPM Seagate hybrid drive. It’s no screamer, but for somebody whose sole use of a PC is reading e-mail and surfing the Web, it works pretty darn well.

mini-ITX Core Duo PC

A sweet little mini-ITX box, except for one little thing…

There has been one little nagging problem I’ve had since installing Windows 7 SP1 on this machine. Whereas it had been waking from sleep on a mouse event beforehand just fine, since then it has fallen into what I jokingly call “the sleep of death” whenever it sits idle long enough (240 minutes, in fact, based on timers I’d set for disk spindown and screen power-down) to turn itself off.

It wasn’t until I systematically went into the Power Options item in control panel and set ALL of the timeout-based Advanced settings available for the current power plan to “Never” (hard disk and display) that the unit no longer required a hard reset to come back to life after going into a reduced power state. There’s something about the MSI MS-7265 industrial motherboard that doesn’t like it when idle power-down occurs. I’m OK with leaving a 2.5″ 7200 RPM drive spinning all the time, and instead of powering the display down, I simply run the “Blank” screensaver which turns off the screen anyway.

According to my Seasonic Power Angel, the unit draws only 35 Watts when the display turns off but the fans keep running and the drives keep spinning. Internal temps usually stay around 40 C° with the CPU cores in the 34-36 C° range. It’s like leaving a low power lamp on all the time, which I guess I’ll have to live with unless I can train “the Boss” to start shutting down at the end of her computing day. But at least the gosh-darned thing keeps running all the time now, and doesn’t need to be rebooted every time you leave it alone for a while.

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