How to Troubleshoot the Laptop that Won’t Wake Up

A wake-up problem arises when you put the laptop to sleep (in Stand By mode) or hibernate it. When you attempt to rouse the laptop, nothing happens. The cause may be power management issues or monitor failure. Here’s how to troubleshoot both possible problems:

Try pressing the Ctrl key on the laptop. When pressing a key on the keyboard doesn’t work, press the laptop’s Power button. Sometimes, that simple action thrusts the laptop back to life.

Check for a separate Sleep button on your laptop. The Sleep button may be required in order to wake up the machine, as ironic as that sounds.

If all else fails, press and hold the Power button until the system turns off. Then, restart the laptop. If that fixes the symptoms, you need to update your power management drivers. If not, skip to checking the display.

Update the power management drivers

To fix the disease, confirm that the laptop is using the most current version of the power management software. If not, update the drivers. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Win+Break.

    The System window appears.

  2. Open the Device Manager.

    • In Windows 7 and Vista, click the link on the left side of the window: Device Manager. In Windows Vista, also click Continue or type the administrator’s password.

    • In Windows XP, click the Hardware tab. Then click the Device Manager button.

  3. Click the plus sign (+) next to System Devices.

  4. Right-click Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System.

  5. Choose Update Driver Software.

  6. Heed the instructions onscreen.

Also try repeating these directions, but use the item titled Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Embedded Controller in Step 5.

If this method doesn’t work, you must visit the laptop manufacturer’s website. Search the Support section for your PC’s make and model for any new power management drivers.

Do not remove any ACPI entries, because doing so may disable some of your laptop’s power management features, such as the ability to sleep the laptop by pressing the Power button. It's a real pain to reinstall these features.

Check the laptop display

Sometimes, the power lamps are lit but the laptop still appears to be dead or sleeping. As long as the power lamps are up, there may still be hope.

Press the Caps Lock key. The Caps Lock lamp on the laptop should blink on and off as you press the key. If so, the display may have a problem.

Next, check the display’s brightness settings. If the brightness level is turned down too much, the screen will be dark, especially in a bright room or in direct sunlight. Try turning up the brightness all the way to see whether the screen glows.

Finally, plug an external monitor into the laptop’s monitor port. If the external monitor works, the problem is with the laptop’s display only, not with the laptop’s display adapter or other internal hardware.

Sadly, you cannot go to the store and buy another “laptop monitor.” Because the laptop and monitor are the same thing, fixing the monitor (or the display adapter) involves replacing major laptop components. You must return the laptop to the dealer for repair.

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