Q: For the past year or so, at bedtime, I place my computer (Dell Inspiron running Windows 10) in sleep mode after closing all active programs. Occasionally, the computer turns itself on in the middle of the night and displays a screen as if I left-clicked the Windows icon. I do not detect any problem associated with the events other than cognitive dissonance. Any idea what may cause this non-problem?
— Roy Bruno, Redmond
A: The are several things that could be waking your computer up. First, Windows 10 has a feature called “wake timers” that will waken the computer at a set time. This feature is there to ensure that computers are restarted after software updates. It’s primarily used by organizations with fleets of computers to ensure that everything is updated properly.
To check to see if that’s what’s waking your computer, go to the Control Panel and launch the Power Options utility. Next click on “Change Plan Settings,” and then on “Change Advanced Power Settings.” If you don’t see wake alerts in the windows that opens, that’s not your problem. If you do see wake alerts, click on the box to disable them.
The two other things that are most likely to bring a computer out of sleep mode are twitchy mice and network adapters. Moving your mouse is a “legitimate” prompt for coming out of sleep. But if the mouse is malfunctioning and sending a signal without being moved it could trigger your computer to waken.
Finally, your network adapter (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) may be configured to wake the computer when certain kinds of network activity is detected. To check on that, launch the Device Manager from the Control Panel and locate your network adapters, then click on the Advanced tab. The specific settings offered will vary depending on which network adapters are installed on your computer, but look for any settings that mention “waking.”
The simplest solution to your computer waking from sleep at night is to shut down the computer instead of allowing it to go to sleep. Of course, that would preclude the intellectual gratification of finding the cause of your non-problem!
Q: I run Windows 10 and keep it updated. I usually use new Windows Edge but sometimes also Firefox. Recently, I’ve repeatedly experienced a delay in characters I type showing up on the screen (in the particular application).
It happens frequently in Edge but occasionally in Outlook as well. Most often, it seems to occur when I’ve opened a new window or page or the like. Sometimes it can take 15 to 20 seconds before I can type. It just seems to freeze, does nothing. Usually the initial character does not come through although many/most of the remaining ones often will. Any ideas?
— Ray Lankford
A: That problem generally happens as a result of your computer’s processor (CPU) being overloaded with demands.
So what might overloading your CPU? You might get a clue by calling up the Windows Task Manager. Right-click in an empty spot in the System Tray at the bottom of the screen, and when the menu pops up, right-click on Task Manager. If it says “More details” at the bottom of the Task Manager window, click on it. Finally, select the Processes tab.
The Processes screen will show you just which programs and system processes are trying to access the CPU, system memory, the disc drive, the network and the graphics processor.
I say you can “get a clue” because the names of processes often don’t make it clear just which program they belong to. But the biggest consumers of resources are generally plainly labeled in the Apps section at the top of the list. If you see any programs running in that section that are chewing up CPU time you’ve likely found the culprit.
It’s also possible that you may have acquired some malware that is causing the problem. If so, that almost certainly won’t be identified in Task Manager. So I’d recommend that you install a good anti-malware program and run a scan on your system.