Stop Microsoft Surface RT from Going to Sleep Constantly

Annoyed because your Microsoft Surface goes into Sleep mode every few minutes? With an easy tweak in Power Options, you can make it stay awake longer.

Dealing with the Microsoft Surface going to sleep constantly can be annoying. Out of the box, the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT is set to go to sleep every two minutes by default. This is the setting whether it’s unplugged or plugged into the power supply. Then you have to turn it back on, swipe through the Lock Screen and log in each time. You can change that behavior by adjusting the power settings; here’s how.

Update: Windows RT is no longer supported.

Note: Putting the Surface to sleep every two minutes is the default setting on the Surface RT. Whether or not this is the case for the Surface Pro remains to be seen. But you can adjust the power settings on each the same way.

Adjust Microsoft Surface Power Settings

Use the keyboard shortcut WinKey + X to bring up the power user menu and select Power Options.

Power Options

Power Options opens in Desktop mode; click Change Plan Settings.

Change Power Settings

Here’s where you can change the amount of time that passes before the Surface goes to sleep.

Edit Plan Settings

Configure the amount of time you want when it’s running on battery or when plugged in. When the Surface is plugged in, I select more time and just a few minutes more when it’s on battery. Leaving the Dim Display setting on the default is best for saving battery power while running on the battery. It doesn’t turn off your display; it just makes it less bright.

After making your selections, make sure to tap Save Changes.

Put Computer to Sleep

Going to sleep every two minutes is good for saving battery power but very annoying when you’re trying to get things done. You will compromise some battery time by increasing the time until it sleeps but will be less annoyed, especially while you’re using it as a laptop and have it plugged in.



  1. Jon

    February 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Excellent post. Perfectly solved my problem. Most of my other MS Surface questions have been VERY difficult to get answers – if at all… Thank you!

  2. Brian Burgess

    March 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    @Jon thanks a lot! If you need more help with Windows 8 or RT, check out our ever growing Guide to Windows 8:

  3. Nez

    April 7, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Hi, I tried this, I even tried setting it to NEVER go to sleep and it still sleeps and goes to the lockscreen after 10 mins :( You tried setting it to never sleep and actually had this work?

    • Joel

      June 2, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Nez, did you find a solution? Mine does the same thing and I’ve tried over and over to adjust the settings but it still times out after a few minutes… very frustrating.

      • Tyler

        July 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm

        I talked to a Microsoft agent and they told me i had to refresh my surface because a bug was not allowing the timer to be changed

        • Kate

          December 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

          How can I refresh my Surface. I’m extremely frustrated with this issue (among others with Surface Pro) and have spent WAY too much time on this! Thanks!

  4. Ann

    August 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I’ve changed all power settings to never, rebooted, and I still get a black screen that requires me to tap it every 2 mins. If I wait too long to tap the screen, it requires my password.

    I have surface pro.

  5. Sue

    April 17, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Thank you, thank you! I searched for info on resetting Surface Pro sleep at MS “Help” but it was no help! Thank you for your clear instructions. Without you newsletter and blog folks we MS users would be out of luck!

  6. Stephanie

    July 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Enormous help & easy to understand, thank you so much!!

  7. George

    August 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I’ve done everything – more than once. My desktop goes to sleep after just one(1) minute, and I’ve reset in power settings many times. I’ve tried creating my own settings. I’ve tried max use settings, with never saving power. I’ve tried every time amt., but nothing seems to work. Is this a broken function? How can I fix this? It’s SO annoying having to log in again after only one minute of inactivity. I’ve set power off for NO log in……..?

  8. Alicia

    January 7, 2015 at 7:32 am

    After you create a new Power plan, you need to select the “Change advance Power setting” to select “My Custom Plan 1” as the active plan and save. You also need to un-check the “On resume, display logon screen” on the Screen Saver Settings.

  9. Jen ie

    January 18, 2017 at 11:04 am

    This is very helpful. It solve my problem. Thank you very much

  10. Heather

    May 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you so much this has been driving me absolutely insane!!

  11. Brigitte

    August 10, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Same problem here. I’ve set EVERYTHING on NEVER, sleep / hibernate / on battery / plugged in, and it’s still going to sleep every 2 minutes. That’s maddening as I have a very large file to upload and I will need to sit there for hours just shaking the mouse every few seconds if I want it to be done!!

  12. Brigitte

    August 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    So can you explain how to refresh the Surface? Thanks!

  13. Brigitte

    August 10, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Actually on someone else’s advice I turn on some radio pg, that keeps the computer working. Poor solution but it works…

  14. Brock MacDonald

    August 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Mine still goes black every two minutes, it’s not sleeping, as it requires a password on waking. It’s very frustrating, as it will black out when reading, or doing a file transfer. Any help?

  15. Alfredo

    December 12, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Same here, surface always goes to sleep or whatever no matter what settings I use

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