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Q. Why Does Windows 10 Think I'm On An Airplane?

Q. Why Does Windows 10 Think I'm On An Airplane?

Q. Recently I tried to upgrade Win7 to Win10, but, after a restart, it was in Airplane mode — and all because Win10 refuses to work with my uninterruptable power supply (UPS). I can get it out of airplane mode by disconnecting the UPS and rebooting. This has never happened with any other Windows upgrade; and as soon as I restored Win7, all was well. So if I want Win10, I must not have a UPS — that’s nuts! Is there a fix for this?

A. It sounds like you have a so-called “smart” UPS; one that includes software that can interact with Windows, typically via a signal wire. For example, the UPS might tell Windows to initiate a controlled, “graceful” system shutdown if external power is lost and the UPS batteries are about to run out.

Your airplane-mode issue is almost certainly a compatibility problem between the UPS control software/drivers and Win10. The solution: Visit the UPS manufacturer’s support site to obtain and install Win10-specific drivers. (And please note: Drivers and software for add-on devices are the responsibility of the device manufacturer, not Microsoft. Win10 isn’t the problem here.)

If such drivers aren’t available, you still can use the UPS as a conventional “dumb” battery-backup device. Simply uninstall the UPS-control software; the UPS should still provide backup battery power in the event that external power is lost — your PC just won’t automatically shut down gracefully, should an extended power failure exhaust the UPS batteries.

That likely won’t be a major problem if you remember to save your work or, even better, engage hybrid sleep or hibernation when you’re going to be away from your PC for longer than the battery backup is likely to last. If you’ve saved your work or engaged hybrid sleep or hibernation, your work and software should be safe, even if the PC later loses all power.

If, however, you absolutely require that your PC be left fully on and active at all times (e.g., it’s used to continuously save data from external instruments), then you’ll need to switch to a UPS whose manufacturer supports Win10 with appropriate drivers or software.


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter,. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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