How to unlock power plans and advanced settings on Surface devices

Starting from Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new Connected Standby feature. With Windows 10, this feature has been expanded to the Modern Standby. With modern standby, your system can be connected to a standby or disconnected from a standby, depending on hardware support and software configuration.

What is Modern Standby?

Connected Standby on Surface

This modern standby allows your PC to instant on/instant off, just like you expect to have with your phones. Like the phone, even in standby mode, it remains up-to-date when Wi-Fi or a suitable network is available.

There are three advantages of using Modern Standby:

  • Instant On/Off: your Windows PC and tablet devices can instantly power on and off like your smartphones.
  • Background activity while the system is “off”: allows your PC or tablet devices to perform the background tasks from Windows Store apps while the system is “off.”
  • Simplified wake story: unlike traditional device wake, with a modern standby system, waking requires a hardware interrupt.

For more information, you can check Modern Standby at Microsoft MSDN.

Power Plans on Surface Devices

Every Microsoft Surface device shipped with a predefined power plan called Balanced with very few advanced configurations as below:

Default Balanced Power Plan on Microsoft Surface

The limited power configuration in Advanced Settings is because of the Connected Standby feature enabled by default on every Surface device. Those advanced settings are hidden and intelligently managed by Surface. However, if you want to unlock those advanced options, you can do that by following the instructions below:

How to Unlock Power Plans on Surface Devices

Disable connected standby via Registry Editor to unlock all available power plans and advanced settings. To turn off connected standby:

  1. On your type cover, press + R
  2. Type regedit to open Register Editor.
  3. Now you need to go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power.
  4. Double-click on “CsEnabled”
  5. Change Value data from “1″ to “0″
  6. Click OK.
    Configure Connected Standby via Registry Editor
  7. Restart your computer to apply these changes to your system.

After restarting your computer, you can access all power plan options, including Power Saver, Balanced, and High Performance.

Power Plans on Surface

With connected standby disabled, you can access the full advanced settings options for each power plan you selected.

All Advanced Settings on Surface

After finishing changing, click OK to accept all changes.

Note After you turn off Connected Standby, instant on/off and OneNote activation by Surface pen while standby will be unavailable. When you press the Power button, your Surface will go into hibernation. However, after you finish creating or customizing all power plans and settings, you can still re-enable Connected Standby to restore all those functionalities. And all plans and settings will remain there even after you enable the Connected Standby.  

To turn on Connected Standby, you go to Registry Editor again, change the Value data of CsEnabled to 1, and restart your computer. Finally, all modern standby features will be back on, and your plans and settings will also be kept in your system.