EZ GPO Installation Instructions & FAQs

Instructions for Installing the EZ GPO tool:

  1. On the server install the ADM GPO template located within the Server GPO folder: EZ_GPO.adm. Best practice suggestion: Create a container for the tool containing users and computers the tool should apply to.
  2. Enable the "Base Options" policy by choosing the defaults.
  3. Enable and configure the "Options" policy if needed.
  4. Enable the "Simple" policy and configure the values (in minutes)
  5. On the client workstation install the binary files via the Windows Installer, located in the client_installer folder: 'EZ GPO Installer.msi'.
  6. Reboot the client machine and test the settings with a user that will fall under the EZ GPO group policy settings.

Technical assistance for network administrators

EPA contractors can answer technical questions about EZ GPO — and about the various options for keeping "sleeping" PCs up to date with security and other software patches. To schedule a technical assistance call, send an email to powermanagement@cadmusgroup.com.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. I think everything is configured correctly but my settings are not showing up on client machines when I examine the Power Options under Control Panel.

After implementing EZ GPO, client computers are set to enter the sleep or hibernation mode according to the settings you specified. However, due to Profile Caching, the client computer may need to be rebooted a few times before the settings specified by the EZ GPO tool will register and be reflected when you run power configuration queries.

A few things you can do to quickly clean the Profile Cache and start your settings working immediately are to reboot the machine allowing it to refresh it's Group Policy and to avoid using the Control Panel Power Options applet. The reasoning behind this is that the applet will treat the cached settings as authoritative settings, despite the cache holding older data settings. This means that whenever you open the dialog box for that applet, or use that applet it will wipe away the changes you have made to power management via EZ GPO.

To check the settings one can use the Microsoft provided powercfg utility that will review the settings without the risk of resetting the power management settings as powercfg.exe does not read from the cache but from the system itself. Eventually in production and through daily use the EZ GPO settings will become the new power options settings as the client machines are rebooted and their caches expire.

2. The EZ GPO tool doesn't seem to be working: my computers are not sleeping. I have created a GPO, added the ADM file and configured per the instructions. What am I missing?

One of the first things to bear in mind is that if the EZ GPO tool does not seem to be working for your users it may be that the settings have only been configured for the computer side of the power management policy. If so, once a user logs on, their personal power management settings will override the settings you have configured for the computer. To set the same policy for both the logged in user and the computer when no user is logged in, tick the 'Machine Override' option in the Options Properties dialog box.

Additionally you can check to see if the User Configuration is being applied by first checking the User Configuration in the GPO to be sure that the GPO tool is enabled. Next on the client machine run the following query: ' powercfg.exe /q'.

If the results match between the query and the GPO settings on the server, the software is working, if the results do not match, try rebooting the machine and running the query again, taking care to remember not to check or open the control panel power applet, as this may reset the power management settings to the older default. Once you are assured that the settings are being applied you may customize your times according to your needs for Users and/or Computers.

3. I am getting mixed results from the EZ GPO tool. While some of my computers are sleeping, others are not, depending on the make and model. How can I fix this?

Step 1: For the computers that are not going into "hibernation" (S4) or "system standby" (S3) modes, make sure that "hibernation" or "system standby" is enabled. You can do this by looking for the checkbox on the hibernation tab in the Control Panel. Also make sure that "hibernation" or "system standby" is set to happen after a specified period of time.

Step 2: If both hibernation or system standby are enabled and set to happen after a period of time, see the answer to question #1 to determine if you are using the latest version of the EZ GPO, and that you have set a power management policy on the machine side and computer side of the policy.

Step 3: If you have configured the GPO for users and computers, then you will want to ensure that your motherboard can support system standby (S3) mode. To use standby after a certain period of time the motherboard must support S3. S3 must be enabled in the BIOS (some motherboards default to S1 in the BIOS), and the correct video driver must be installed (the Windows default, Standard VGA Adapter, will not allow standby). If standby is not available it will not be available as a shutdown option.

To view available sleep states on XP and later versions, you can run the following from a command prompt:

Powercfg.exe /availablesleepstates

If Standby (S1), Standby (S3) and Hibernate (S4) are available you will see something like the results below.


The following sleep states are not available on this system: Standby (S2)

If Standby (S3) is not available and Hibernate is available:

C:\>Powercfg.exe /availablesleepstates

The following sleep states are available on this system: Standby ( S1 ) Hibernate

The following sleep states are not available on this system:

Standby (S2)

Standby (S3)

If a particular model of computer and image/configuration is not going into standby when configured manually you may want to check the settings above and work with the hardware vendor and/or Microsoft to establish a configuration that will allow standby after a certain time. If the problem is not isolated to a particular model you may be running an application that is vetoing standby, and there are no known workarounds for this.

4. We want to use the EZ GPO tool to put computers into "hibernate" or "standby" mode, but will need access to computers in order push out updates. How can we accomplish this and make sure that system standby or hibernate does not interfere with our ability to access computers?

This can be accomplished one of two ways. If you need the computers to be available on a regular schedule, you can use a Scheduled Task to wake the computers. You can also use Wake On LAN (WOL) to access the computers at any time. See the sections on Scheduled Tasks and WOL for more information.

5. For some reason the computers are not "waking up" after entering hibernate or system standby modes. Why is this happening, and what can I do to ensure that users do not experience problems "waking up" computers?

Hibernate: In hibernate mode (S4), most computers will need to be woken up by pushing the power button on the CPU. After being pushed, the computer may take anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds to wake up and resume normal functioning.

System Standby: In system standby mode (S3), the mouse or keyboard should be able to wake up the computer in 3–8 seconds. If the computer is not waking up with the keyboard or mouse, USB devices may not be enabled for wakeup in Windows. Although USB devices should be enabled for wakeup by default, this is not always the case. Check your mouse and keyboard properties in Device Manager: "Allow this device to bring the computer out of standby" must be checked.

HID-compliant mouse properties screenshot

In addition, check the BIOS settings to make sure that USB and/or PS/2 wakeup is enabled. Be sure that the motherboard's BIOS supports this option.