How-To

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

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 amount of 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 it’s running on battery. It doesn’t turn off your display, just makes it less bright.

After making you 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.


17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Jon  

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

    https://www.groovypost.com/howto/complete-guide-use-windows-8/

  3. Nez  

    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  

      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  

        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  

          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  

    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  

    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  

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

  7. George  

    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  

    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  

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

  10. Heather  

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

  11. Brigitte  

    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  

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

  13. Brigitte  

    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  

    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?

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