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Sleeping Macbooks

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MacBooks and iBooks can be put to sleep simply by closing the lid. That’s the method I usually use when I’m done for the day: just close the lid.

Open it again the next morning (or two minutes later when you forgot something), and it’s wide awake and ready to work.

Most of the time.

Sometimes your Mac is grumpy and overtired and doesn’t want to wake up. Tapping the space bar might work, and so might re-closing the lid, patiently waiting for the pulsing led, and reopening. If that doesn’t work, I can get my MacBook Pro to roll out of bed by hitting the power button briefly and then hitting “S”. If you do that while it’s already awake, you see that pressing the power button calls up the “Shutdown” dialog; hitting “S” says Sleep instead, and apparently if it is already asleep, wakes it up.

There’s another way to put your Mac to sleep. You know where it is: right there on the Apple menu. But there’s also a third way: Hold Apple and Alt, then hold the Eject key for a second. With some models, that may be a deeper sleep than the Apple Menu option.

But this is all “hibernating” sleep: if your battery ran out during it, you’d lose open applications and files. Newer Macs now have a Deep Sleep (Apple calls it Safe Sleep) that writes out the machine state to disk, and restores it upon startup if necessary. This is a little different than the way Windows does it: Windows always powers off in its “hibernate” mode; Mac’s Safe Sleep only comes into play if all power is lost (or about to be lost, more accurately) while sleeping. So if you forget your computer for a few days (hey, sometimes we get busy!), Safe Sleep assures you that you can resume right where you were no matter what happens.

For an embarrassingly long period of time, I thought I was hitting an unknown key combination that was putting my MacBook into an unwaking sleep. This happened only when I was typing fast, and I thought it had something to do with hitting the Escape key while perhaps accidentally holding other keys. The screen would go black, and nothing short of a restart would bring it back. Very frustrating, especially when playing on-line Poker and in the midst of a big pot with an unbeatable hand..

Well, duh, I was actually hitting the F1 key. That turns off the screen, and F2 turns it back on. Sheesh! How could I miss that? Oh, well..

*Originally published at APLawrence.com

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A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services http://www.pcunix.com

Sleeping Macbooks
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