Yes, they do. Install that driver and your PC will wake itself up repeatedly to check for email, Facebook and Twitter updates; lathering itself into a frenzy, seeking hopelessly for validation. This is a problem if you'd rather have the machine sleep peacefully and cheaply through the night, waking cool and refreshed to do useful work.
When building my latest desktop I carefully did not install the suggested Intel Smart Connect driver. Still, there was something whispering in its ear to give it unquiet dreams. Gently put to sleep, tucked in with a comforting word each night, in the morning it would be up and humming busily. Maybe the NSA unleashed its robot crawlers to inspect my digital fewmets - questing, perhaps, for traces of renewed allegiances to those foreign princes and potentates whom I was supposed to renounce and abjure during the oath of citizenship.
It turns out there are many imps and daemons that are empowered to cause wakefulness, almost as many as hover about my own bed each night. Here's a swift trot through the ways to a better night's sleep, for your Windows 7 computer at least.
Deep in the bowels of the Windows install is a handy command-line tool powerfcg. Look for it in the folder Windows/system32.
Open a command prompt, run it with the -LASTWAKE flag, to see who it was the last time.
Wake History Count - 1
Wake History 
Wake Source Count - 1
Wake Source 
Instance Path: USB\ROOT_HUB20\4&449fe53&0
Description: USB Root Hub
Manufacturer: (Standard USB Host Controller)
Quite a few USB drives will install their own proprietary little driver, which wakes itself up periodically to see if there is any data to be moved around. Just plugging in a new USB can cause a sequence of sleepless nights.
Check to see who is empowered with the -devicequery wake_armed flag.
Wake armed ? like that bunch of lawless criminal deadbeat welshing rebels in Nevada ? No, these devices are innocuous in comparison with the America-haters.
Off we go to go to Control Panel, Device Manager, expand each node looking for something that matches the device name as listed above, rightclick on that device name and select Properties, then on Power Mgmt tab for each of these, uncheck 'allow this device to wake'.
Looks like this,
and then after the right-click, properties etc,
The keyboard was left allowed to wake, so a keystroke will awake it, but all other devices are disarmed.
Programs can also goad the exhausted boards back into action. See the Windows FAQ on sleep,
To prevent programs from waking your computer
Open Power Options by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, and then clicking Power Options.
On the Select a power plan page, click Change plan settings for the plan that you want to change.
On the Change settings for the plan page, click Change advanced power settings.
On the Advanced settings tab, expand Sleep, expand Allow wake timers, choose Disable for both when your computer is running on battery and when it's plugged in, and then click OK.
All our computers run a nightly backup job in the wee hours, to save data to a NAS drive. So I didn't disable the wake timers, as we need the backup tasks to wake up and run.
Similarly to the above, the power plan can be set so the computer will automatically go to sleep after some set minutes of idleness. If only this worked as well for my monkey mind.. but I wander. The problem now is sometimes it doesn't go back to sleep after running the backups.
To fix this, run the horrible new Windows 7 Event Viewer. Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Event Viewer. Wait patiently for the immense gobs of .NET code to load and initialize. Then expand Windows Logs, select system, on RHS select 'Filter Current Log', pick 'Event Sources', pick 'Power Troubleshooter' to show all the wake events and their causes. Scroll through these to look for culprits.
Or, use the powercfg again:
shows everything with a wakeup,
shows what's keeping it up at night.
In this case,
An active remote client has recently sent requests to this machine.
There should not be any remote clients for this machine.
Who is out there requesting things I cannot deliver ?
Trolling through the dismal swamps of online forums suggests:
- Go to Services and disable "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service".
Disabled, no change.
- Start, Control Panel, Network and Internet, Network and Sharing Center, Advanced sharing settings
Check under media streaming to block all sharing.
Nope, that wasn't it either.
- look for the Server service. I do loathe it when Windows names its services with these multivalent signifiers, so they look more like infections than reputable services. Apparently the Server service serves up a delectable dish of heaven-knows-what from my computer to random queries from heaven-knows-where. I can't think of a good reason for it to do that. Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services, locate the Server service, rightclick and disable.
Now at least my PC has quiet nights. With Windows 8.1 you are back on your own, have not attempted to debug its insomnia. Time for my tryptophan..
A poem by Charles Bukowski, for the ancestor of my Intel chip.
16-bit Intel 8088 chip
with an Apple Macintosh you can't run Radio Shack programs in its disc drive. nor can a Commodore 64 drive read a file you have created on an IBM Personal Computer. both Kaypro and Osborne computers use the CP/M operating system but can't read each other's handwriting for they format (write on) discs in different ways. the Tandy 2000 runs MS-DOS but can't use most programs produced for the IBM Personal Computer unless certain bits and bytes are altered but the wind still blows over Savannah and in the Spring the turkey buzzard struts and flounces before his hens.
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death. TS Eliot, Journey of the Magi
All human beings, driven as they are at different speeds by the same Furies, are at close range equally extraordinary. Nick Jenkins, for Anthony Powell
I was interested in your remarks about the writer as poser, because, of course, all writing is both a mask and an unveiling, and the question of honesty is uppermost.. EB White, letter to his biographer
I wanted something seemingly artless and pedestrian to surprise the reader by conveying so much more. In other words, I wanted a poem a dog can understand. Charles Simic, interview in Paris Review.
The achievements of the worldly are failures for monks; and the achievements of monks are failures for the worldly.
Decades of accretions may be found below my other perch in the noosphere, here.
Nasturtiums may be cast upon dkretzmann at gmail dot com.