If you’re keen on doing your bit for the environment, you probably take the time to switch off electrical devices you are no longer using. For many people, however, a computer is viewed slightly differently. While it is possible to save a great deal of energy by switching off a PC when it is not in use, slow boot up times mean that it is often more practical to make use of hibernation and sleep features.

You also need to factors in those occasions when you want to turn off your computer when you go to bed, but need to finish a lengthy download, or finish copying a large file. Rather than waiting up for your system to finish whatever tasks is underway, you can use SDS (Shutdown Scheduler) to automatically power down your computer at some point in the future.

This is a simple tool, but it can be used in a variety of ways. You can use it as a basic timer so that if you know that a particular task is going to take just over an hour to complete, you can configure your machine to switch off in just over an hour. You can also choose to switch your computer off at a particular time – you might be recording an online broadcast, for example – or choose to switch off when your computer has been idle for a specific number of minutes.

The final two options help to make SDS rather versatile. You can opt to shut down Windows when a particular application closes. This is great if you have a video editing package that you can configure to close after a big job is completed – or you can choose to shut down when sounds stop playing. If you want to use your computer to listen to music to go to sleep to, this last option enables you to have your computer power down when an album of playlist finishes playing.

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An easy way to save energy with a tool that adapts to the way you work.