ebook reading
February 26, 2006 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I enjoy reading ebooks on my laptop but need to find a way to read them with the computer in some type of standby mode.

I enjoy reading ebooks on my laptop but need to find a way to read them with the computer in some type of standby mode. Once the book is fully loaded on my screen, I'd like to have some way to shut the hard drive down. My notebook tends to run a bit on the warm side and it's a bit uncomfortable to set on my lap for long periods.

I guess I also need to know what it is that makes a laptop feel warm on the bottom. Is it the processer, the HD, the power supply?

Also, how do I find out what the current running temp of my XP system is?

posted by DieHipsterDie to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Check your laptop's manual.
I have a Toshiba Satellite running WinXP Pro, and the Windows Power options icon in the control panel is overridden by a second setting, Toshiba Power Saver. However, I can create custom power modes for the laptop, including turning off the hard disk, lowering the screen brightness, and reducing power to the processor, through this setting, and then use function keys on the laptop to switch between them when I'm on the move.

Hopefully, your laptop will have something similar, and if you're lucky the manual will detail it. If you're not... well, check the Control Panel and examine the options available to you in any power-related sections, it should be self-explanatory. However, it might be useful to remember that you should create a new mode rather than saving your changes to an existing one - under "battery power" rather than "mains power" if appropriate - and give it a unique name so you can select it more easily.
posted by Incharitable Dog at 4:46 PM on February 26, 2006

I don't know of any particular "standby mode," but you can save power with the "power" control panel applet by telling your hard disks to turn off after a certain point. If you have a wireless card of any sort, turn that off. Disconnect any USB devices that might be pulling power. Dim the brightness of your LCD's backlight. In brief, just try to turn off everything and disable everything possible, without actually preventing you from reading the ebook.
posted by fvox13 at 4:53 PM on February 26, 2006

In addition to setting your hard drive to automaticall power down, as described above, install Notebook Hardware Control.

This lets you easily switch between "max performance" and "max battery life" modes. It does this by reducing the power used by your CPU and other components. Your laptop may already be doing this, or maybe it's switched off somewhere. NHC lets you control this with more granularity.

And as said above, the lower the brightness on your LCD, it sucks up a lot of power.
posted by Brian James at 5:32 PM on February 26, 2006

you guys are missing the point. he's not concerned so much with reducing power consumption as he is reducing the amount of heat that burns his lap. all he needs is some program or command to turn off the hard drive.

you are correct in trying to shut off your hard drive to reduce the amount of heat burning your lap. notebook hard drives are notorious for the amount of heat they output. they tend to have much shorter lifespans than desktop hard drives for this very reason.

windows xp doesn't have many options that i'm aware of for actually shutting off the hard drive. the solutions mentioned above won't work because even if windows shuts off the hard drive after x minutes, as soon as you hit pgdn the hard drive is going to spin up again. the constant starting up of the drive will wear the hell out of its bearings and won't even solve your heat problem.

on linux there is a command called hdparm which can be used to control hard drive speed. even if all you do is slow the drivespeed down, it will output less heat than it would at full speed. hdparm itself is not very intuitive, but perhaps this is a more viable solution?
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 8:42 PM on February 26, 2006

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