A method and apparatus for configuring a computer in a low-power mode are provided. In the low-power mode, dynamic random access memory is refreshed by a battery powered system in order to maintain the memory contents. Low-power mode is entered by saving an interrupt mask and by disabling interrupts, followed by saving the DMA status, finishing DMA operations, and disabling DMA. After these steps, the I/O state of the machine is saved by saving various I/O registers and ports. A referesh of the memory is forced before the system refresh operations are discontinued.