Add-In Review: Power Switch

WHS has several add-ins available to automatically manage powering on/off the server and/or client computers.  Power Switch is one of these add-ins.   It does not interact with any client machines and such, is simple to install and manage.

Installing the add-in is as simple as any other add-in.  Copy the msi installer to your D:SoftwareAdd-ins folder, open the WHS Setting Window in the console and install the software from the Add-ins tab, as shown below.

PS_1

In order to access the add-in, open the WHS Settings option and locate the Power Switch tab.  When you click on this item, you will see a window similar to the one below.  For reference, I took this shot after I made my “test” settings.  When first installed, the Power On and Power Off times are set equal and to the time it was installed.

PS_2

There are not a lot of settings here.  There are the time settings for Power On and Power Off.  A box to type your administrator password.  And there is a shut-down option to tell Power Switch to use either Hibernate or Sleep mode.  And finally, of course, there is the check box to enable Power Switch.

Which shut-down setting should one use?  It is not my call to recommend to you which one to use.  For what is worth, I used the Hibernate setting.  To help you decide, I have included the definitions from Wikipedia below.

From Wikipedia: Hibernate is a feature seen in many operating systems where the contents of RAM is written to non-volatile storage, such as the hard disk (as either a file or on a separate partition) before powering off the system. Later the system can be restored to the state it was in when hibernation was invoked, so that programs can continue executing as if nothing happened. Hibernating and restoring from hibernate is also generally faster than a hard reboot and, if necessary, can be done without user interaction (unlike shutting down, which often requires the user to specify if open documents should be saved).

From Wikipedia: Sleep mode refers to a low power mode for electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and remote controlled devices. These modes save significant electrical consumption compared to leaving a device fully on and idle but allow the user to avoid having to reset programming codes or wait for a machine to reboot. Many devices signify this power mode by a pulsing LED power light.

In order to allow Hibernate mode to work, you need to open the Power Options from the Control Panel, as seen below.

PS_3

I use Advanced Admin Console to access the Control Panel options.  Clicking on the Power Options icon brings you to the following window.

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Click on the Hibernate tab and check the Enable Hibernation box.  Once you have gone through all the steps above, your WHS machine is set to power off and on at the times you have designated.

At precisely 10:15, the computer went into hibernation.  At precisely 10:45, the machine “magically” came back on.  I repeated the process and changed the power off mode to Sleep mode.  The machine turned off and on as I directed Power Switch to do.

I did have one problem with hibernation and sleep, which is unrelated to Power Switch.  The program I use to control my Crystalfontz LCD’s does not come back from either power off mode.  Time to pester the author of CrystalControl2 about this!

Program enhancements?  For what it does, not really.  It is designed to put your WHS in a low-power mode and bring it back up at the times you set it for.  If you have a question or problem, the author is more active on the MS WHS forums than in the WGS forums.  Perusing this thread gave me the indication that the author responds to problems and fixes them.

As you may guessed, this add-in worked for me.  The author has updated the program over time to deal with issues that users have had.  The most glaring of which *was* an issue where Power Switch did not check for an in-process back-up.  I would hope that I would not schedule a shut-down at the same time as a back-up, but…  Enough said.

One last item to mention before I wrap this up is that you can restore power to the machine in the normal way (physical power switch) if so desired.  Power Switch will detect this and give you 5 minutes to disable it (Power Switch) off.  If you don’t, Power Switch will shut down your machine for you.  So, if you decide to do this, don’t be surprised when the computer shuts down on you during it’s designated sleep time!

Author: C Hanlon
Version Reviewed: 0.82
Release: 05Mar2008

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0 comments

  1. Most motherboards allow you to set a switch on time in the bios which is what I currently use to switch my server on automatically at 7am after it gets switched off at midnight by a simple shut down batch file. Might be worth checking this route out too?

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