If you leave Windows 10 idle and do nothing at all, it will eventually shut down. This is a system default where you do not need to set anything, although you can adjust the idle period or when the system is idle.
In order not to shut down a Windows 10 system, it is not only necessary to have some user activity. Background applications and processes can prevent the system from shutting down. Unfortunately, there is no simple GUI-based method for viewing applications that block this process in Windows 10. However, you can use a simple command line command to get the job done.
To see which applications prevent a system from shutting down, you need administrator privileges. This is because the command will look at the instructions sent in the operating system power management policy. Let's see how:
1. Open the command prompt with administrator privileges.
2. Execute the following command as it is. Do not change anything.
powercfg / requests
The command will return a list of processes and applications that prevent Windows 10 from entering sleep mode.
Understanding the results
The results are not presented in the most user-friendly format. To understand them consider the following:
Display: This section will show the procedures that have taken over the screen, e.g. an application in full screen mode. This could be a media player such as the Movies & TV application or it could be presentation software such as PowerPoint. It could also be a screen capture tool like OBS.
System: It will show the system procedures, although these procedures may be called by other running applications. For example, if an audio stream is playing, the audio driver to be used will appear to be preventing the system from shutting down. You will usually be able to see which applications are using the audio device on your system, so shutting down should not be too difficult.
Awaymode: This section displays applications exclusively. It is a command that applications send to Windows 10 and tell it to keep the system awake. Applications can do this through programming.
Some applications are designed to prevent shutdowns from working properly. The suspension of operation will not prevent the system from locking, but while the system is awake, all that is needed is the application e.g. edit a file, you will still be able to do it.