But computers, particularly those running Windows, have always been more complicated. On is on, of course. For off, though, Windows XP machines offer several options–including hibernate, stand by and shut down.
"Users don’t always understand the difference," said Pat Stemen, a program manager in Microsoft’s core operating-system division.
What’s worse is that even when people do know enough to choose hibernate or stand by, which turn off most parts of the system but don’t clear files away, the computer often ends up staying on. That’s because today’s Windows lets an application or hardware device veto a PC user’s decision.
That won’t be the case in Windows Vista, which is due for general release next year. (A beta version of the operating system, formerly known by the code name Longhorn, was released in late July.) Applications will be warned that a computer is entering sleep and have a second or two to save what ever they need to, but the programs won’t get a say in whether the machine slumbers."
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