Power Saving Group Policy Object
Author: jason
Date: 2007-04-30 07:32:21
Category: Technical

Nearly all modern computers on an enterprise network have power savings capabilities. Microsoft Windows computers have power saving features that can easily be manipulated via a script or domain Group Policy Object (GPO).

Power savings instructions are available from EnergyStar.GOV. EnergyStar.GOV has instructions on using an administrative template (ADM) via a GPO. The ADM can configure the monitor, hard drive, standby, and hibernation power settings in AC and DC modes through an installed service.

EnergyStar.GOV GPO reference: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_pm_ez_gpo

Using a device (Kill a Watt) to measure the current draw in watts an IBM Thinkpad (model T40) using a docking station with an LCD monitor consumed about 50 watts when powered up but inactive. When active (hard drive spinning, user working) the system used 60 watts. When the monitor (Dell 17? LCD) was configured to shut off via Microsoft Windows ? Power Options the system consumed roughly 20 watts. It would seem the LCD monitor alone used roughly 30 watts.

There are a few ways to try and conserve energy

1: Users shut off workstations at the end of the day. Patching/Security scanning occurs during the day. Users turn machines on in the morning. This would have the highest power savings. Patching and vulnerability scanning would likely take longer to accomplish in the narrow window of time when the computers are operating. Users would probably be impacted by having their machines rebooted for patches during the day.

2: Workstations shut off every day at midnight (applied via Administrative Template via GPO via group membership). Users turn machines on in the morning. This would have medium to high power savings. The security model would be slightly better. Patching and vulnerability scanning would not occur during work hours. Patching and vulnerability scanning would likely take longer to accomplish in the narrow window of time when the computers are operating evenings and weekends. Fewer users would be impacted by having their machines rebooted for patches during the evenings.

3: Users shut workstations off on Friday after work. Users turn machines on Monday morning.
This would likely have medium to low power savings with a better security model. Patching and vulnerability scanning would not occur during work hours. Patching and vulnerability scanning would likely take slightly longer to accomplish in the window of time when the computers are operating.

4: Workstation monitor turns off and/or hard drive spins down after 15-30 minutes (applied via Administrative Template via GPO via group membership). This would likely have medium power savings and be a good security model. Patching and vulnerability scanning could occur at any time. Hard drive would spin back up when activity occurs, the workstation would still be on. A software install is required which loads a service on the workstation. The service is responsible for enabling the power settings via a GPO.

5: Users turn off power strips controlling speakers, printers, other "wall wart" devices at the end of the day. This would have medium to low power savings. Work sections may need to purchase additional power strips. This is probably a good idea, in any situation


EZ_GPO Service Install

Double-click the EZ GPO Installer MSI. The install package will install the service with no user input/prompts and it doesn't require a reboot. The files can be obtained from EnergyStar.GOV.



Go into the computer management to view the installed service




EZ GPO Settings

To see what the settings would look like on your own computer open the local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) with local administrative rights. The Group Policy editor can be found in C:\Windows\System32 or can be opened from the Run command window.




Expand the User Configuration section. Right-click Administrative Templates. Choose Add/Remote Templates




Click the Add button and browse to the EX_GPO.ADM file. Highlight the file and click Open.




Highlight ?EZ GPO by the Environmental Protection Agency?. Double-click ?Simple Scheme? on the left. Note this can be changed in the ADM template by opening it in Notepad and replacing the applicable text strings.




Here you can specify different power saving settings.



There are many ways you can implement power saving features across the enterprise: manual changes, startup scripts, Active Directory, SMS, etc...



jason @ jasonthomasfrance.com - www.masterstationlog.com - copyright 2009