Disabling Connected Standby Fixed My Surface Pro 4 Problems

If your PC has had trouble waking from sleep, getting stuck on a black screen, getting stuck rebooting, or failing to obey the power settings, you might want to try disabling Connected Standby.

Connected Standby is supposed to be an elegant form of the older Sleep mode on Windows PCs. Sleep is a power-saving mode that allows the PC to shut off all non-critical functions and just waits for you to wake it before running any real processes. During Sleep, a PC still drains battery, but at much slower rate than idle.

Sleep vs. Hibernate

If you don’t already know, Sleep differs from Hibernate in two major ways. First, because Sleep is still “on”, the OS (operating system) and your programs are all still loaded in RAM. The PC still is actively powering up the motherboard and the core components. Hibernate, on the other hand, saves an image of your RAM (a copy) to the hard drive before removing all power from the PC components. When waking from Hibernate, the PC loads the image back into RAM and then you are back up and running where you left off with little to no power usage in the meantime.

The second difference is time. A PC can be resumed from Sleep very quickly, whereas Hibernate takes longer.

Sleep vs. Connected Standby

Now that you know what Sleep is, we can talk about Connected Standby. Connected Standby is a “smarter” version of Sleep. I put that in quotes because it’s only theoretically smarter. For me, Connected Standby has been a pain in the brain.

Connected Standby allows your PC to still be connected to a network even while “asleep”. This means that it can still receive new emails, notifications of updates to the OS or programs. It can also be woken if another computer needs to obtain a file that lives on the sleeping machine. This is all well and good, but for me and others like me, it’s not worth the headache.

My Setup

It may be helpful to share my configuration, in case others with a similar setup have similar problems. My setup looks is like this:

  • Surface Pro 4 (i7, 128GB RAM)
  • Surface Dock
  • 2 External Monitors via DisplayPort to HDMI adapters
  • Wired Mouse
  • Wired Keyboard

With Connected Standby enabled, I have had a variety of intermittent problems, some daily. These include:

  • Going to black screen after 10 minutes despite nothing in my power settings that allows this
  • In the morning, Surface would not wake from sleep and be warm to the touch (still running)
  • Crash after turning off the screen, requiring a long power press to hard reboot
  • Slow AutoCAD performance

So after all of this, I decided to try disabling Connected Standby to see if I noticed any improvements…

How to disable Connected Standby

This requires a Registry edit, and there is always the possibility of horribly ruining your configuration whenever you go digging into there. As a precaution, create a restore point first.

Now that you are ready to disable this sucker, open the registry editor. I just hit the windows key and type “regedit”. Next, navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\CsEnabled

If you have Connected Standby enabled, this variable will have a 1 (one) in it. To disable it, double-click on the CsEnabled variable and put a 0 (zero) in there. Reboot and you are done.

There is a caveat to all of this, once you disable Connected Standby, your PC won’t be able to sleep anymore (insomnia?). Hibernate should still work though.

A.D. (After Disabling)

Since disabling Connected Standby on my Surface Pro 4 over a week ago, I’ve seen many improvements:

  • No more black screen crashes
  • Better AutoCAD performance
  • Better Windows Hello performance
  • Reliable “wake from hibernate”
  • PC seems to actually honor my power settings!

I hope this helps you out as well as it helped me. If you found this useful, or found another to solve these issues, please share in the comments.

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