How to Solve Sleep Mode Problems on a Dell Computer

By Julie Elefante

When Microsoft patched the power-saving features of Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Windows Vista, certain Dell computers were affected by various issues where the computers would go into sleep mode and be unable to come out of it or error out and not go into sleep mode. Sometimes the computers would go into sleep mode and wake up only when a USB mouse was jostled. Pressing keys on the keyboard would not wake the computer because the keyboard would stop functioning.

Windows XP Service Pack 3

Step 1

Open the Dell support page on your Internet browser. See the Resources section for a link. Make sure to have your seven-digit alphanumeric (letters and numbers) service tag. Place that information into the "Choose by Service Tag" option.

Step 2

Make sure that the option for the "Operating System" is correct.

Step 3

Go to "+Bios" and click on the "+" symbol. Click on "Download" at the far right, save and run the downloaded file.

Step 4

Restart your computer after installing the file.

Step 5

Test the "Power-saving" feature once you have rebooted.

If Section I Does Not Resolve the Issue

Step 1

Go to "Display Properties" by right-clicking in an open area on your desktop and left-clicking on "Properties." Click on the "Settings" tab.

Step 2

Check if the "Display" midway down is saying "Plug and Play Monitor on..." If it is not, go to the "Device Manager." Left-click on the "X" in the top right corner of the "Display Properties" menu.

Step 3

Go to "Start," left-click, and then open the "Control Panel" (or "Settings" and then "Control Panel" depending on your system is set up).

Step 4

Select "System," go to the "Hardware" tab, and left-click on it. Left-click on "Device Manager" about 1/3 of the way down that page.

Step 5

Look at "Monitors" and see a "+" symbol. Left-click on it once and see if it has an exclamation point,"!," with a yellow circle around it. If it does, right-click on the "Plug and Play Monitor" and left-click on "Update Driver."

Step 6

Choose "Yes, this time only" and then left-click on "Next." The wizard will update the monitor drivers automatically, if possible. Restart if necessary once updated.

Step 7

Test the"Sleep" mode again. The computer should go into sleep mode and then wake up successfully.

If Section I and II Do Not Work

Step 1

Left-click on "Start" and then "Control Panel" (or "Settings" and then "Control Panel," depending on your system's setup).

Step 2

Double-click on "Power Options" to open it. Open the "Hibernate" tab and click on "Enable Hibernate." You may have to reboot again.

Step 3

Test the "Sleep" mode function again.

Windows Vista

Step 1

Open the Dell support page in your Internet browser. See the Resources section for a link. Make sure to have your seven-digit alphanumeric service tag. Place that information into the "Choose by Service Tag" option.

Step 2

Make sure that the option for the "Operating System" is correct. Go to "+Bios" and click on the "+" symbol. Click on "Download" on the far right. Save and run the downloaded file.

Step 3

Restart the computer after installing the file.

Step 4

Test the "Power-saving" feature once you have rebooted.

If Section IV Doesn't Work

Step 1

Reboot the system and press "F2" or "Del" to get into Bios. Make sure that the "Legacy USB" option is enabled.

Step 2

Save and exit the Bios and start Windows Vista. Go to "Start" and then "Control Panel."

Step 3

"Switch to Classic View" on the left side. Click on "Power Options."

Step 4

Click "Change Plan Settings" and then "Change Advanced Power Settings."

Step 5

Set the "Sleep>Sleep After" to "Never."

Step 6

Set the "Sleep>Allow Hybrid Sleep" to "Never."

Step 7

Set the "Sleep> Hibernate After" to one minute after the monitor and hard drive are set to turn off.

Step 8

Set the "Power" button and "Lid>Start" menu power button" to "Hibernate."

Step 9

Restart the computer and test the "Power Sleep" mode.

If Section IV and V Do Not Work

Step 1

Find the "Windows" sidebar at the bottom right corner. Right-click on it to disable it.

Step 2

Test the "Sleep" mode again. If the computer does go to sleep, enable the "Windows" sidebar by going into the "Control Panel" and enabling it again.

Step 3

Start turning off each gadget one by one, and test the "Sleep" mode to see which gadget is causing the problem.

Step 4

Look at the system and see if you have a "Google" sidebar." If you do have Google sidebar, then pick only one to use, or choose not to use either of them.

Step 5

To remove the "Google" sidebar, left-click on "Start," then left-click on "Control Panel." Double-click on "Programs and Features." Wait for the computer to populate installed software on your computer. Find the "Google" sidebar and remove it by left clicking on it and left click "Uninstall."

Step 6

If you want to remove the "Windows" sidebar, right-click on it, left-click on properties to open "Properties," then remove the check from the "Start Sidebar When Windows Starts," selection and click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • Check your software and hardware. When it comes to "Sleep" mode, if one of the settings are incorrect or software is configured improperly, "Sleep" mode will not properly work.If your computer goes into "Sleep" mode and you can't wake it up, reboot it by pressing the "Power" button to make sure that the computer wakes up with the proper information.If these steps do not remedy your computer's "Sleep" mode problem, Dell will be able to answer any of your questions for free while your computer's warranty is still valid. After that, you will have to pay for Dell tech supportAll written errors should be researched through Microsoft's Knowledge Base to pinpoint exactly what is causing the computer's inability to wake from sleep mode. See the Resources section for a link.