Microsoft Assessment Configuration Pack for ENERGY STAR Power Management for SCCM 2007

I’m not doing anything with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 anymore now since I changed jobs, but I did notice Microsoft has released the Assessment Configuration Pack for ENERGY STAR Power Management for SC ConfigMgr 2007.  This configuration pack uses ENERGY STAR program criteria to assess display and hibernation settings on Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems.

According to the download page:

“ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. The ENERGY STAR guidelines for computers cover both the hardware devices and the power management features expected of the operating system and applications.

The ENERGY STAR program specifies criteria for hardware manufacturers to achieve defined efficiency levels with recommendations for computer power management settings. ”

This Configuration Pack uses these ENERGY STAR defined efficiency levels and recommendations as follows:

  • Have computers enter system standby or hibernate after 30 to 60 minutes of inactivity.
  • Have monitors enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity.
  • Create a warning notification if screen savers are not disabled. If one is enabled, the wait timeout period should be less than the monitor sleep setting.

This Configuration Pack applies only to desktop and notebook computers that are running Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems.

In the past I have used the EZ GPO tool to monitor and control energy usage on my network.  EZ GPO is a free tool for network administrators who run Windows Active Directory and manage client workstations using Group Policy Objects (GPOs). EZ GPO provides Group Policy Objects for centrally configuring power management settings, as they are not native in Windows 2000 or XP. However, power management can be managed through Group Policy on Windows Vista machines. (For this reason, the EZ GPO tool does not work on Vista PCs.)

EZ GPO at a Glance:

  • Provides centralized control of user power management settings (monitor power management, system standby, and hibernate) in Windows 2000 and XP
  • Requires no special hardware or network processes
  • Is offered under a BSD style open source license and has no licensing fees

How it Works:

  • Uses an automated installer
  • Contains one binary application that runs as a service and one that runs on login under each user’s account
  • Reads the desired power management settings that are set using GPOs in integer and string value format
  • Allows changes to power management settings using Microsoft’s core Application Programming Interface
  • Intelligently selects only capable computers when activating “system standby.” (Computers generally capable of using system standby reliably run Windows 2000 or XP with Pentium 4 chip sets capable of S3 standby mode.)

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