Do you send your laptop to sleep to save power, only to return to find out it won’t turn back on? This problem is a lot more common than you’d think. Here’s how to fix it.
- 1. Use Mouse and Keyboard Commands to Wake Your Laptop
- 2. Connect Your Laptop’s Charger
- 3. Press/Hold the Power Button
- 4. Allow Your Keyboard To Wake The Laptop
- 5. Update Your Device Drivers
- 6. Disable Fast Startup
- 7. Turn Off Hybrid Sleep
- 8. Update Windows
- 9. Check Your System Files
- 10. Check the Health of Your Hardware
- 11. Upgrade to an SSD
Start by plugging your laptop in and pressing the power button. Hold the power button for a few seconds to restart your laptop. Once it’s back on, disable fast startup and turn off hybrid sleep through the settings. You may also need to update your device drivers and OS software.
In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on waking your laptop up from sleep and preventing the same problem from recurring.
I’ll highlight the software or hardware issues that might be causing the problem and how you can fix them, so read on!
1. Use Mouse and Keyboard Commands to Wake Your Laptop
You’ve probably already tried this, but it may be worth giving it another shot. Sometimes, a software error can cause laptops to become unresponsive, which means the laptop may not have registered your input.
Also, you should know that BlueTooth devices usually won’t wake a laptop from sleep.
Bluetooth connectivity is relatively expensive in terms of power consumption, so it’s one of the many processes laptops suspend when you instruct them to sleep.
Your BlueTooth-connected devices won’t be able to signal your laptop to awaken, so use the built-in trackpad and keyboard to see if that makes a difference.
2. Connect Your Laptop’s Charger
The first thing to do when your laptop fails to wake up from sleep is to plug it in to charge.
Most laptops have a tiny LED right by their charging port that lets you know whether or not the laptop is receiving power.
In some cases, this light is built into the power adapter of the charger and not the laptop side panel.
3. Press/Hold the Power Button
If your keyboard and trackpad don’t work, use the power button. Pressing it once will instruct your laptop to wake up. Wait for a few seconds and see if your laptop responds in any way.
If there’s nothing, your best bet is to hold the power button down for a few seconds. Holding the button down executes a forced shutdown, overriding existing commands and processes.
While there is some debate about whether or not it’s safe to execute a forced shutdown, doing this is usually safe for your laptop’s hardware.
The only problem is that you might lose important data if you’ve left an app running, but most apps today will autosave your data, so you probably won’t lose too much work.
A forced shutdown will also occasionally lead to corrupted data. Unfortunately, this is one of your only options for a laptop that won’t wake up.
Getting an unresponsive laptop to work again will involve shutting it down one way or another, and a chance of corrupted data is better than a non-functional laptop.
If even holding the power button doesn’t work, which is rare, you’ll have to detach the battery to get the laptop to shut down.
Reboot Your Laptop
Here’s how to reboot your laptop:
- Hold the power button until you see your laptop restart. You will have to hold the power button for about 5 seconds.
- Go through your normal startup process. If you’re on an older operating system, you may get an intermediary message informing you of an incorrect shutdown.
It’s likely that the issue that caused your laptop to become unresponsive in its sleep remains unfixed. So, before you set your laptop to sleep again, let’s go over how to prevent this problem.
4. Allow Your Keyboard To Wake The Laptop
The wrong system settings may be what’s preventing your keyboard mashing from waking up your laptop.
You need to allow your keyboard to wake up the laptop while it’s sleeping. This setting is usually active by default on most laptops. Here’s how to turn it on on your laptop.
- Go to the Windows search bar.
- Search for and launch Control Panel.
- Under Hardware and Sound, select view devices and printers.
- Locate your keyboard and double-click the icon to set up the settings menu.
- Navigate to the Hardware tab. It’s right next to the General tab.
- Click on Properties. Another menu will pop up.
- Navigate to the Power Management tab.
- Select the Allow this device to wake the computer option. It will show a blue checkmark.
- Click Ok at the bottom right of the menu to save changes.
And you’re done. Any keyboard input should instruct your laptop to wake up from sleep.
5. Update Your Device Drivers
You will need up-to-date drivers to ensure your keyboard remains functional when your laptop monitor goes off.
To install updated drivers:
- Open your keyboard’s properties menu as described above.
- Navigate to the Drivers tab.
- Select Update Drivers.
- Let your laptop search automatically for the relevant drivers.
- If better drivers are found, they will be installed automatically.
6. Disable Fast Startup
Fast Startup is a feature on Windows 10 and 11. It allows your laptop to boot significantly faster by putting it into a hibernation-like state instead of shutting it down completely when you shut down the laptop.
All in all, this is a great feature. However, it still has some unfixed compatibility issues. One of these issues is that it can cause your laptop to get stuck in sleep mode.
In this case, turning it off will help. Here’s how:
- Open Run via the Windows search bar. Alternatively, use the Windows + R shortcut to launch Run.
- Type in powercfg.cpl.
- Select Choose what the power button does on the left-hand panel.
- Select Change settings that are currently unavailable. You’ll need to be logged in with an administrator account or have the admin password to proceed.
- Lastly, uncheck the Turn on fast-startup (recommended) box.
- Save changes.
And you’re good to go. With fast startup now deactivated, your laptop will take a bit longer to boot but is less likely to run into issues.
7. Turn Off Hybrid Sleep
Hybrid sleep is a similar feature that can give your laptop trouble waking up. In regular sleep, the data in your RAM stays as it is.
This is great because RAM is a fast memory that can immediately put the data back to use. Waking up from sleep will take little time.
However, in the hybrid sleep feature, your laptop’s RAM data is moved to its primary storage – your HDD or SSD.
This will increase the likelihood of your laptop failing to wake up from sleep, as it will have to reload all of that data from its slow memory back into the RAM.
Hybrid sleep is more likely to cause waking issues if you only have an HDD instead of an SSD.
The hybrid sleep feature is intended for desktop computers and is usually turned off by default in laptops. Here’s how to check if it’s active for you:
- Open your power settings by typing powercfg.cpl into Run.
- Select Change plan settings for whichever power plan you’re currently using.
- Select Change advanced power settings. A menu will open.
- Expand Sleep.
- Find the Allow Hybrid Sleep setting, and turn it off.
- Select Apply on the bottom to save changes.
8. Update Windows
You should always be running the latest updates regardless of your Windows version.
Windows updates contain important security updates for Windows Defender, bug fixes, the newest drivers, and optimizations for existing software.
Admittedly, Microsoft has been rather aggressive with its updates.
They’ve limited how much control they give you over how long you can delay the updates, which is why it’s common for pestered users to disable the updates manually.
Still, I recommend allowing regular updates if you have the bandwidth. If your device hasn’t been updated in a long time, your laptop will likely run into software and security issues.
Windows automatically checks for and downloads updates as long as you aren’t on a metered connection.
You can also make the system check for updates manually by navigating through Settings > Update and Security and clicking on “Check For Updates.”
9. Check Your System Files
Sometimes, important system files required for the normal operation of your computer will get corrupted. This can happen due to software errors or incorrect shutdowns.
Depending on how much data is corrupted, you might not notice any issues or have your operating system completely collapse on you.
Thankfully, all Windows operating systems have a built-in system file checker (SFC).
It can detect, identify and repair corrupted files in most cases. You should run it from time to time to see whether your system files are healthy and complete.
Here’s a detailed guide by Microsoft that tells you how to do this.
10. Check the Health of Your Hardware
Checking your software and making the necessary changes is the first step to addressing waking issues in your laptop.
Despite these changes and tests, if your laptop is still unresponsive or only wakes up arbitrarily, the issue may lie within your laptop’s hardware.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which component is responsible, but your storage device is the most likely culprit.
When a laptop wakes up from sleep, its storage device needs to feed it data rapidly for it to wake up. If the storage device fails to keep up with the demands of the laptop, it may not wake up.
A storage device issue is fairly common, especially in laptops that still utilize the older HDD (Hard Disk Drive) technology as the storage device for their operating system.
Hard disk drives have low data transfer rates and are slow to respond to the system’s requests for data.
You can address issues of slowness in your HDD by cleaning it regularly.
How to Clean Your Hard Drive
The most basic way to clean your hard drive is to remove unwanted files, uninstall unused applications, and do a general cleaning up of things you don’t need.
Hard drives operate better when they aren’t at full capacity. You can use windows’ built-in Disk Cleanup tool to help you clean your storage.
Simply search for the tool on your Windows search bar and launch it. It will show you what files you don’t need and allow you to delete them in one click.
You could also reset your laptop to start with a clean slate. This has been known to improve performance in struggling computers.
Of course, this is pretty inconvenient and not an option you can take if you have important data on your laptop. Still, it’s for you to decide.
11. Upgrade to an SSD
It may be time to get a new storage device if you struggle with an unresponsive laptop despite cleaning your hard drive. I would recommend upgrading to an SSD.
SSDs are much faster and will cut your load times in half. Upgrading to an SSD from an HDD is one of the best upgrades you can make, especially on an older laptop.
The faster storage will breathe new life into the laptop and make your overall experience much smoother.
To summarize, if your laptop won’t wake up after sleep, you should try waking it up using its built-in keyboard.
Ensure that your laptop is connected to its charger before you try any solutions, as the battery may have run out. Hold your power button to shut down and restart the laptop forcefully.
To prevent the issue from recurring, allow your keyboard to wake the laptop by changing some settings and updating your operating system and drivers.
Disable fast startup and hybrid sleep and run System Files Checker. Check your hard drive and, if necessary, upgrade to an SSD.