Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saving Green by Going Green...

I've heard a lot recently about how much money we waste on home electric via "power vampires", adapters, phone chargers, etc., that use energy even when we're not using them.

One of the main culprits mentioned are home computers, whether they be laptops or desktops. Experts say that shutting these items off when not in use can save a ton on your electric bill. I decided to try this, since I am not made of money :)

I started looking for some type of software that would shut off my computers at a specific time of day, say, middle of the evening when no one is awake. I found several software titles (mostly shareware), but since I am frugal (cheap), I decided to do some investigating of my own to see if my operating system already had such a feature - in a way, it did, and here's how I'm doing it...

First, I did a search for a line command in Windows XP (my OS) that would shutdown my computer automatically (without clicking or typing anything). I found that "shutdown.exe" does exactly this and it has options to go with it, such as displaying a message to the user, to forcing all programs to close no matter what. So now I had a way to shutdown the computer with a single command line - how could I get this to run at a specific time of day? I didn't have to look far...

In Control Panel, there is a lonely applet called Scheduled Tasks. It's usually empty and never used, except for certain programs that utilize it to run certain programs or commands on a certain schedule - just what I was looking for.

To make this post shorter, here's what I did next:

  • created a batch file and put the shutdown.exe command in it with the command arguments I wanted.
  • placed the batch file in a folder by itself in the root of drive (for simplicity purposes - I knew where it was and what it was)
  • created a scheduled task that runs the shutdown batch file at a specific time each day (in the late evening)- I did the same to all my computers so they would all shutdown around the same time.

I'm not sure how much money I am saving by shutting all the equipment down when not is use, but I am sure that it can't hurt.

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