How do I fix a stuck computer in sleep mode?

What Causes a Computer to Get Stuck in Sleep Mode?

One of the most common causes of a computer getting stuck in sleep mode is closing the lid on a laptop when programs are still running. This can put the laptop to sleep before processes are fully completed, resulting in errors that prevent the computer from waking up properly. Per Microsoft, “closing the lid while an application is working may cause your PC to get stuck in Sleep mode” (source).

Similarly, selecting sleep from the start menu or by pressing the power button when programs are still open and running can cause issues with resuming from sleep mode. The computer may not be able to pick up where it left off if background processes were interrupted.

Windows updates installing in the background when the computer tries to enter sleep mode can also lead to a stuck state. The computer gets confused trying to manage both sleep and updates at the same time.

Finally, conflicting power settings, such as having both sleep and hibernate enabled, can result in errors and a failure to resume normal functioning after sleep (source).

Force Restart Your Computer

One simple solution that often resolves a computer stuck in sleep mode is to force restart it. Here’s how to do a force restart:

  1. Press and hold the power button for around 10 seconds until the computer fully powers off.
  2. After the computer shuts down, press the power button again to turn it back on and restart it.

Forcing a full shutdown and restart essentially resets the computer and clears any errors that may be preventing it from waking properly. According to users on Reddit, this resolves sleep issues a majority of the time [1]. It’s a simple solution to try before diving into more complex troubleshooting.

Check for Windows Updates

Pending updates can sometimes interfere with your computer’s ability to properly enter or exit sleep mode. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and check for any available updates. Install all pending updates, including optional ones. Once the updates finish installing, restart your computer.

According to this Microsoft forum post, Windows updates can sometimes break sleep mode until the updates are fully installed and the computer is restarted.

Disable Fast Startup

Fast startup can cause issues with sleep mode on some computers. Fast startup is a Windows feature that speeds up boot times by keeping your computer in a hibernation state when shutting down. This allows it to resume quickly when restarting. However, fast startup can sometimes conflict with sleep mode and prevent your computer from properly waking up (1).

To disable fast startup:

  1. Open the Start menu and search for “Power Options”.
  2. Click on “Power & sleep settings”.
  3. Click on “Additional power settings” on the right side.
  4. Click on “Choose what the power buttons do” on the left side.
  5. Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
  6. Uncheck the box next to “Turn on fast startup”.
  7. Click “Save changes”.

Once disabled, restart your computer for the changes to take effect. With fast startup disabled, your computer will do a full shutdown and restart rather than a hibernated state (2). This can resolve conflicts with sleep mode.

If the issue persists, you may need to troubleshoot other potential causes like driver conflicts, Windows updates, or hardware problems.



Adjust Power Settings

One of the most common issues causing a computer to get stuck in sleep mode is having inappropriate power and sleep settings. You’ll want to verify that your sleep settings are configured properly and allow enough time before your computer goes to sleep. According to the Guide to Windows 10 Power and Sleep Settings, some tips include:

  • Don’t allow your computer to sleep when plugged in. Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options and click “Change plan settings” for your active power plan. Change “Put the computer to sleep” to Never when plugged in.
  • Extend the wait times before sleep mode activates. Increase the times for “Turn off the display” and “Put the computer to sleep” to at least 15-20 minutes when plugged in and 5-10 minutes on battery.
  • Disable hybrid sleep. Go to Command Prompt and type “powercfg -h off” to turn this off completely.

Making these adjustments to your power settings can help prevent your computer from erroneously going to sleep when you don’t want it to. Allowing more time before sleep, and preventing sleep when plugged in, will reduce instances of getting stuck in sleep mode.

Check for Driver Updates

Outdated drivers are a common culprit for causing a computer to get stuck in sleep mode. Device drivers act as software interfaces that allow the operating system to communicate with hardware devices. If the drivers are outdated, they may not properly handle sleep and wake functions.

To check for driver updates, open the Device Manager in Windows. You can access Device Manager by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting it from the menu. Once in Device Manager, expand each category and right-click devices to update drivers. Be sure to check display adapters, keyboards, mice and other input devices since these are most commonly associated with sleep issues.

Updating drivers through Device Manager is an easy first step. However, for a more thorough scan to automatically find and install the latest driver updates, use a trusted third-party driver updater tool. With regularly updated drivers, your devices can seamlessly transition into and out of sleep mode.


Close Conflicting Programs

Background apps can interfere with sleep by preventing your computer from fully entering sleep mode. One of the most common culprits is media players or other apps that are playing audio or video in the background. VPN clients are another type of app known to disrupt sleep.

To find and close conflicting programs, open Task Manager in Windows (press Ctrl+Shift+Esc). Look at the Apps and Background Processes tabs to see what’s currently running. Right-click on any unused or unnecessary apps and select “End task” to force close them.

Pay special attention to media players like iTunes or Spotify, remote access tools like LogMeIn, and VPN clients like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Completely exiting out of these types of programs may allow your computer to properly enter sleep mode.

For more details, refer to this guide on using Task Manager: How to use Task Manager in Windows

Run Hardware Diagnostics

Sleep issues may indicate an underlying hardware problem with your computer. It’s a good idea to run diagnostics like the built-in Windows Memory Diagnostic tool to check components like your RAM and memory for errors. The Memory Diagnostic tool is accessed by going to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot > Additional troubleshooters > Memory Diagnostic. You can also access hardware diagnostics when booting your computer by pressing the F12 key. Look for options to run a full diagnostic or memory test. Many PC manufacturers also have their own hardware diagnostics tools you can download.

If the diagnostics find defective or failing hardware like bad RAM, you’ll need to replace or repair the component. Check with the hardware manufacturer for instructions on removing and replacing the part if needed. Fixing the hardware issue can resolve the underlying problem causing your computer to get stuck in sleep mode.

Check Event Viewer

The Windows Event Viewer logs various events and errors that occur in the operating system, which can help identify potential causes of your computer getting stuck in sleep mode.

Specifically, you’ll want to look in the System log around the timeframe when your computer failed to wake from sleep. Error messages related to power transitions, device conflicts, or the sleep state can provide clues.

For example, error ID 1 from Power-Troubleshooter often indicates an issue resuming from sleep, according to Microsoft[1]. Or Event ID 42 may point to a problematic driver.[2]

So carefully reviewing the Event Viewer logs around the time of sleep failure can help narrow down the culprit.

Reset Power Management

A common step to fix computer sleep issues is to reset the power management components. This can resolve conflicts with drivers or settings that may be causing your PC to get stuck in sleep mode.

To reset power management:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Run the command ‘powercfg -devicequery wake_armed’ to see what devices can wake your PC from sleep. Make note of these.
  3. Next run ‘powercfg -devicedisablewake *’ to disable all devices from waking your PC.
  4. Then run ‘powercfg -lastwake’ to determine the last device that woke your PC from sleep.
  5. Re-enable wake abilities only for necessary devices based on the previous steps.
  6. Restart your computer for changes to take effect.

After resetting power components, check if your computer continues to get stuck in sleep. If the issue persists, further troubleshooting may be needed for hardware, drivers, or software conflicts.