Conventional Windows 2000 users do not have the right to change the default power schemes that are set up on a PC. The only way to allow them to change power schemes is to grant them administrator access. However, many administrators balk at doing this, since the whole point of having user-level access vs. administrator-level access is to segregate out other things that administrators can do, such as install programs or make system-wide changes.
Fortunately there's a solution to this problem that does not involve putting users into the administrator group. It involves editing permissions in the registry that control which users can have access to the keys that govern power management.
To change these permissions, log on to the system in question as the administrator and open the registry. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg\GlobalPowerPolicy. Set the permissions on this key to encompass either the Users group (if you want to grant control over this function to all users) or to specific users (if you want to grant control only to specific users). Do the same for the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Controls Folder\PowerCfg\PowerPolicies as well.
Since making these changes may allow users to put the system into hibernation, the Users group should also be given the rights to shut down the system and to create a pagefile, if they do not already have it. This setting can be found in the Local Security Policy console in Administrative Tools, under Local Policies | User Rights Assignment.
Note: This tip will work in Windows XP Professional and Home as well.
Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!
This was first published in December 2003