The self waking computer

January 23rd, 2010 1:22 PM ∙ Dibbs

So this problem has been bothering me for months and being the busy guy I am, I’ve ignored it as it was a small annoyance until this weekend. In the morning, I’d put my computer to sleep, then when I’d come home my computer would be on. Some would ask what’s the problem with that? Well the problem is that I set no wake-up timers and wake-on-LAN is turned off. So when the power went out while my computer was updating itself because it decided to turn itself back on while I was away…it forced me to do a restore from my Windows Home Server. Thankfully the WHS backup worked great.

So I set out on hunting down the problem and I’ve compiled all the helpful hints and processes I’ve found for tracking down why your computer is turning itself back on.

The Problem

My problem specifically stemmed from that I have Windows 7’s Media Center installed, setup and with the guide updates turned on.

The Solution

Some general maintenance should always be done first to avoid getting to far into the problem and realizing your computer just needed an update.

1. Update your computer with Windows Update (Windows Vista and Windows 7 users just go to the Start Menu and type in the search area “Windows Update” without the quotes to get them started).

2. Go to your computer’s website and download the latest BIOS update. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and update your BIOS via it.

Next, if you’re still having problems, it’s time to start troubleshooting. You can find which devices are set to be allowed to wake up your computer by running the following command in the command prompt: powercfg –devicequery wake_armed . If you see something in there out of the ordinary, or that makes you palm –> face then you’ve probably found the culprit and can GOTO 10: rejoice AFTER turning off the device’s ability to wake the computer by performing the following: in device manager, right-click the device listed in Step 2 and select Properties, switch to Power Management tab and clear the checkbox of Allow this device to wake the computer.

Now for me, none of these got me to the solution because it was Media Center’s scheduled update task that was causing the problem, not hardware. So if you find yourself sifting through devices that all seem to be ok, then you should continue on like me and check your Event Viewer (a quick shortcut to the Event Viewer is to go to Start –> Run then type eventvwr.msc and hit enter).

Now look through the System log first, and the Application log second as that should be the proper order of probability. If you find that your computer seems to be waking up at say 4:17pm everyday like mine, then look for events around that time, usually right next to the first event at that time, that could be a culprit like a scheduled task.

I found event stating that mcupdate_scheduled had requested to wake the computer. It looked like this:

Event Source: power-troubleshooter

The system has resumed from sleep.

Sleep Time: ‎2009‎-‎11‎-‎07T17:01:22.662051300Z
Wake Time: ‎2009‎-‎11‎-‎07T22:14:14.102034400Z

Wake Source: Timer – Windows will execute ‘\Microsoft\Windows\Media Center\mcupdate_scheduled’ scheduled task that requested waking the computer.

Since it was listed as a scheduled task in the Event Viewer, then I knew to continue on to the Task Scheduler to remove or change that task’s properties (a quick shortcut to the Task Scheduler is to go to Start –> Run then type taskschd.msc and hit enter). From the Task Scheduler you can either search for the task name, or browse down through the hierarchical menus. The path through the menus is given to you from the item found in the Event Viewer. Thus I navigated down the folders from Microsoft –> Windows –> Media Center and then found the mcupdate_scheduled task. From here you can delete the task or modify it’s properties, like I did, to simply not allow the task to wake the computer to perform the task. Voila!

As always, feel free to comment if you need help with a similar issue!

Comment from E - May 24, 2010 at 9:35 am

Thank you for this. I had exactly the same problem, and your instructions have saved me countless hours of frustration, not to mention countless dollars on my electricity bill.

Comment from jmp - October 5, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Thanks as you same problem tomorrow morning I will see if works
I am confident thas fine

Comment from roxi - October 13, 2010 at 8:00 am

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from ´RomaRauc - October 30, 2010 at 5:47 am

Thanks a lot !!!
I knew that it was the MediaCenter. I once tried it, but with DVB-C it does not work – then it began starting my Computer and I was not able to turn it off again (Uninstalling MediaCenter didn’t help either …)

So again, THANKS A LOT !!!

Comment from Ruben - November 29, 2010 at 8:08 am

This task may not appear in task scheduler. In order to make it appear, one must do File, Options, Delete Files there… because then this option becomes visible.

Comment from william - November 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I’ve never had to do this before, but thanks for the tip!

Comment from Nick - December 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Thanks dude! This was buggering me 4 so long now..

Comment from Justusson - January 13, 2011 at 2:59 am

Thanks for the help, all of those shortcommands and programs like taskschd.msc are hard to find otherwise. Crazy that you need to do this in order to get some sleep. Who prioritize updates before sleep!? Thanks again though!

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 287,864 bad guys.