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I've been using my laptop as a USB charger for my media player (usually an iPod Touch). Each night, I play an audio-book from my media player (usually iPod Touch), which needs to be charging (via USB).

Is there an alternate OS (to Windows) or an extremely low power setting for that would allow me to use my laptop only as a power supply for my devices?

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I think an alternative OS is a bit extreme.. I am sure there has to be a window's program somewhere that can do this for you, essentially hibernating your computer or something and still powering devices – cutrightjm Mar 15 '12 at 3:46
@ekaj It'd be great if that existed... I don't use the laptop for anything else (even though its fully functioning, I just got a new one). – wizlog Mar 15 '12 at 3:54
@IgnacioVazquez-Abrams I can't handle an AC or DC power adapter. Please address the question. – wizlog Mar 15 '12 at 3:55
No, not the OS. The power supply. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Mar 15 '12 at 4:04
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In Windows 7 there is a setting to permit USB charging during sleep and standby/hibernate: In control panel Power Options > Advanced Settings > (choose from dropdown) > USB Settings, check the box USB selective suspend setting.

Info found at: getting devices in usb port to charge at Microsoft Answers, Windows; Re: HP USB power during standby and hibernate at HP Support Forum.

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Thank you for the answer. I edited my question (as it turns out, most nights I use an iTouch). – wizlog Mar 15 '12 at 4:11

If @minopret's answer to have to laptop charge the device when in a low power state doesn't work, then I would suggest leaving the computer at the BIOS screen. The USB ports are probably powered so keyboards would work in BIOS mode, and the hard drive will probably spin down because it is idle. I assume everything else would be minimally powered. Some laptops can heat up because the temporary sensors don't ramp up the fans when in BIOS, but if your laptop doesn't have that problem, then the BIOS screen may be the minimal power needed to power the USB ports with the computer on.

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Is there an OS that is effectively BiOS but lets me choose if I want my fans on, and if so, at what power level... a fully customize-able hardware based OS? – wizlog Mar 18 '12 at 0:33
Ideally, the fans speed should be automatic for the protection of the hardware. I've had old laptops that relied on the OS to command the fan speed. Newer laptops seem to have this in hardware. As far as an alternate OS, I can't really think of one that I know could monitor the temperature and command the fans if needed, and be able to disable/power off peripherals (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NIC, sound card, video card (in screen saver mode)). You could try a minimal version of Linux, but without something like a "Kill-A-Watt", it would hard to say if/how much power you may be saving. – Scott McClenning Mar 18 '12 at 3:52

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