Unlike desktop computers, a laptop is meant to be quickly closed and packed up to move. Many wonder what happens when the lid is closed and whether or not downloads will continue in sleep mode.
By default, all downloads will stop when a laptop lid is closed or it enters sleep mode because the system enters a low-powered state in which most components are shut down to save energy. Settings can easily be changed to prevent your laptop from entering sleep mode and to allow downloads when the laptop lid is closed.
Of course, there are some downsides to keeping your laptop awake all of the time. Let’s dive into how to set this up and what you should keep in mind when making the decision.
Do downloads continue in sleep mode?
With some exceptions, all versions of Windows should downloads from continuing in sleep mode.
A laptop is usually set to enter sleep mode if there has not been any user activity for a pre-determined amount of time to save energy or to protect privacy. Sleep mode forces many of the laptop’s components, including the processor and wireless network adapter, to shut down so it is unable to continue downloading data in the background.
The most important thing to realize is that although your laptop will be unable to download during sleep mode it is fairly easy to disable this mode or change the settings in such a way to accomplish your goal.
With that in mind, the question we really need to answer is how to disable sleep mode or otherwise prevent the laptop from shutting down those components we need to keep the download moving.
How to continue downloading when laptop is in sleep mode (Windows 10)
Now we understand that a laptop simply can’t continue to download files once it enters sleep mode.
So, let’s walk through how to prevent your laptop from entering sleep mode when you don’t want it to! To accomplish this, we’ll be changing some of the settings related to battery, charging, and power states.
Note that you will still have to have your laptop’s lid open for this particular method as that is handled with different settings that we will discuss below!
In Windows 10, simply click the search bar on your taskbar and search for ‘Power & Sleep’ and click on it to get started.
On this screen, you’ll see two sections: Screen and Sleep.
For the purposes of downloading files, it doesn’t matter what you do with the screen settings and you can leave it alone or tell it to turn itself off at any time from 5 minutes to never.
What we need to change is in the ‘Sleep’ section:
The simplest change would be to set it so that your laptop ‘Never’ goes to sleep on battery power or when plugged in but I would caution against making this change to the battery setting or you might find yourself accidentally letting your laptop’s battery die more often than you want which will be a huge inconvenience.
Instead, just change the ‘When plugged in, PC goes to sleep after’ setting to ‘Never’
If you find that you don’t like these settings anymore then you can simply go back and change them to the defaults or something else!
How to download a game in sleep mode
As discussed previously, it is impossible for your laptop to download any files, including games, while it is in sleep mode.
If you follow the directions above to prevent your laptop from entering sleep mode when you don’t want it to then you will be able to download games overnight or any other time that your laptop is left sitting for long periods.
Does installation continue in sleep mode?
When a laptop enters sleep mode it will also interrupt most of the computer’s processes and usually puts the processor and hard drive in a deep idle state.
So, installations will not continue in sleep mode. If you follow the directions above to prevent your laptop from entering sleep mode, however, then you will be able to leave your laptop unattended while it is installing a program and it will continue.
Do downloads continue when a laptop lid is closed?
Interestingly, this is a completely separate question from what a laptop does once it enters sleep mode because Windows has a separate group of settings just for what happens when the lid is closed.
By default a laptop will enter sleep mode once the lid has been closed which will interrupt most system processes such as downloading files or installing programs because it forces many components to shut down as an energy-saving feature.
To continue download files once the lid has been closed you will need to change these settings within Windows. Fortunately, it is quite easy!
How to continue downloading when laptop is closed (Windows 10)
If you want to keep downloading a file even after the lid has been closed then you will need to make some quick setting changes.
For those of you that prefer to watch this, here is a quick video that I made:
To get started, click into the Windows search bar on the taskbar and search for ‘Change what closing the lid does’ and then click the app.
In this area you will see settings for what happens when the power button is pressed or the lid is closed both when plugged in or while on battery.
Most people probably don’t realize that you can customize what happens when you close the lid of your laptop to fit your needs or preferences.
In the settings, you can change what happens when you close the lid both while the laptop is plugged in and when it is using battery power.
Personally, I don’t like to take the chance that I will accidentally end up with a dead laptop so I keep my ‘on battery’ settings on ‘sleep’ but I then change the ‘plugged in’ setting to ‘do nothing’ which means the laptop will continue to operate normally even when the lid has been closed.
Note that using this setting means your display won’t turn off automatically when you close the lid. Instead, it will use whatever setting you have chosen in your ‘Power & Sleep’ settings from the previous section. To get around that, I set my power button to turn off the display if it is pressed while the laptop is plugged in.
In practice, I will just tap the power button to turn the screen off and then close the laptop. This means the screen will turn off but everything else will be working fine in the background.
Personally, I like to keep the power button on the default setting which will put the laptop to sleep whenever the button is pressed.
This setting allows me to quickly ‘turn off’ the laptop to save power when I’m stepping away from the computer but allows me to wake it up and get back to work much more quickly than if I had actually turned it off and had to wait for a bootup.
If your goal is to avoid putting your laptop to sleep or turning it off on accident, however, then you could use the button to simply ‘turn off the display’ which would add a bit of privacy but not interrupt the laptop’s processes.
If I close my laptop will it still update?
If you have set up your laptop to do nothing when the lid is closed then it will still update or download files, as usual, while it is closed.
Just be sure that you don’t have any power and sleep settings waiting to mess things up once your laptop has been idle for too long.