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Putting your computer to sleep and subsequently knocking it out of its slumber can take a bit of time, even for the most advanced laptops and PCs — it’s annoying enough that a lot of people just avoid doing it. But Microsoft (s MSFT) is working on solving that problem, which could mean reducing a significant amount of computing energy consumption. This morning, at the Edison Electric Conference in San Francisco, Calif., Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie told an audience of utility executives that the software giant has developed more sophisticated power management functions for its upcoming Windows 7 product, calling power management one of Windows 7’s “big investments.” In addition, Mundie said Microsoft “is getting very aggressive” when it comes to designing hardware and building software to increase the functionality of power management across its product lines.
Mundie said Microsoft is working on power management software that can keep a computer in a very low power state at all times but enables the machine to be awake enough so that when you approach it, it’s smart enough to quickly power up. It could power down just as quickly, too — Mundie said the computer could change states in “fractions of a second.” The power management tools sound like a much more subtle, user-friendly and energy efficient version of what your computer probably does now. Mundie expects these power management functions to start to dramatically decrease the energy consumption of computers starting in 2010, when the next cycle of products will make its way into the market.