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Connected Standby be Damned: A (sort of) Workaround


With the release of Windows 8/RT, low-energy processor devices got a new feature, Connected Standby (or AOAC–Always On/Always Connected). Basically this feature allows your device to be connected via WiFi, just like your Smartphone, whether your device screen is on or its sleeping. That’s how the Surface RT and a variety of other tablets/convertibles work today.

Connected Standby is a nice idea, assuming you use your new tablet the same way you use your phone, meaning everyday, all the time. But if you’re a casual tablet user like me, be prepared for picking up a dead device fairly often, unless you are willing to bypass another “smartphone like” feature, Instant on, and power your device off after each use.

I have been stuck in a vicious cycle the past couple weeks. I fully charge my Surface RT, put it back in my bag when I leave for work in the morning. And then two or three days later I pull it out of my bag to play a bit, only to find the battery is near or fully expired. As I refuse to be dongled to a power source, using a device that claims a 10 hour battery life, I instead put it back on the charger overnight and it goes back in the bag the next morning. So, unless I can plan 8 hours in advance to play with my Surface, I don’t get an opportunity to use it.

You see, I have a Smartphone. I use it to read and reply to email, check the weather, browse our site, read news, check package delivery status, etc. You know, things that you typically do with an always connected device. While some may, I don’t need a second always connected device, and would really appreciate having the ability to turn that function off. I can on my smartphone.

By contrast, I can put my i3 ASUS Notebook to sleep by closing the lid And a week later I can open the lid, and after a few seconds I am back to where I left off, with plenty of battery remaining. And the notebook has less than a 4 hour rated battery life. Something is wrong with this picture.

I have spent the past two days researching Connected Standby and have run across dozens and dozens of consumers like me complaining about the same thing. Glad to know I am not all that different. Bottom line, there is no way to disable Connected Standby, which btw replaces Standby; S1, S2 & S3, Hibernate and Hybrid Sleep, power states available on the rest of the tablets/notebooks/laptops in the world.

Accepting the facts, I started searching for something else that would allow my Surface to retain its energy, without having to power it down after using it. Disabling WiFi is a simple solution, but it is sort of a PITA, taking a swipe and two taps, or three taps to toggle. I was looking for a shortcut. I stumbled up just that here at Windows Eight Forums. Admin Brink created a simple shortcut that activates the Network setting flyout. You can pin the shortcut to the Start Screen, Taskbar, anywhere. Now, I can tap the Network tile (call it whatever you like), tap the Airplane Mode slider to activate and put my Surface to sleep. That’s two taps. I call it progress. Microsoft probably would call it unnecessary.

Brink also created a pair or EXE files that you can find here, that can toggle Airplane Mode on or off with a single tap. But we all know that the Surface RT can’t execute EXE files, so unfortunately that didn’t work for me. But it might for other low-energy Windows 8 devices. He is looking into creating BAT files, which will run on an RT device, duplicating what the EXE files can do now. If it happens, you will read it here first.