Advanced Configuration And Power Interface

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What Does Advanced Configuration And Power Interface Mean?

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is an industry specification intended for the efficient management of power consumption in mobile and desktop computers. ACPI describes the way in which a computer’s standard input/output system, peripheral devices and operating system (OS) correspond regarding power consumption. ACPI’s key goal is to consolidate, examine and enhance the present power and configuration standards meant for hardware devices.


Launched December 1996, ACPI specifies platform-independent interfaces intended for configuration, hardware discovery, monitoring and power management. This standard was initially designed by Intel, Toshiba and Microsoft and later accompanied by Phoenix and HP.

Techopedia Explains Advanced Configuration And Power Interface

ACPI provides a crossover from earlier standards to hardware that is completely ACPI-compliant. Geared toward substituting the plug and play (PnP) basic input/output system (BIOS) specification, multiprocessor specification and advanced power management, the ACPI standard delivers power to operating system power management (OSPM), in contrast to earlier BIOS central systems that primarily depend on platform specific firmware to determine power management and configuration policy.

ACPI includes various related components for software and hardware programming, as well as a unified standard for power/device interaction and bus configuration. With ACPI, the following functions are feasible, presuming they are supported by the OS:

  • Users can specify a time in which a device, such as a display monitor, is turned off or on.
  • Users of a notebook computer can specify low level power consumption during a low-battery warning, allowing required applications to run while making less important applications inactive.
  • OSs can reduce the clock speed if the applications do not require full processor clock speed.
  • OSs can decrease peripheral device and motherboard power consumption through the inactivation of devices, when not required.
  • Computers can go into standby mode if the system is not in use. However, the modem power remains on so that incoming mails/faxes may be received.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.