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Hibernation in Vista and Windows 7

Thursday, January 13th, 2011 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

How to Enable or Disable the Hibernation Option in Windows 7

You may already know that Windows has a useful “Hibernate” option along with Shutdown, Restart and the Sleep mode. The Hibernate feature is especially useful when you want to save the current state of your operating system and do not want to restart, or shut down the computer.

For example, suppose you are working with a lot of open applications or documents, and have to leave your desk for a couple of hours. It would be helpful if you could save the current state of Windows and resume your work from the same point, when you come back later. When you wake up Windows from the hibernate state, you can start working from the last used state and will not have to open the same programs or documents you were working on earlier.

Windows will save the state of all the open applications, program windows and running processes to your computer’s hard drive as a hibernation file. When the computer is powered on, all the contents are reloaded from the hibernation file and Windows does not boot from scratch.

How To Enable Hibernate Mode in Windows 7

Some users have reported that they are unable to activate the Hibernate option in Windows 7. When they click the small arrow icon placed next to the “Shut Down” option in Windows Start menu, they find that the Hibernate option is grayed out and cannot be selected (see below).

To solve this issue, follow these simple steps.

1. Click Start and type power options in Windows search box. When the results appear, click the Power Options link as shown below:

2. This will open the Power Options section of the Windows 7 control panel. On the currently selected “power plan” settings, choose Change plan settings

3. In the next window, select Change advanced power settings

4. This will open a small window, where you can check whether the hybrid mode is turned off or not.

Click the small arrow next to the Sleep option and see whether the Allow hybrid sleep setting is ON or OFF.

Case A: If you see that the Allow hybrid sleep option is visible but it is turned off, change it to ON.

That’s it, you have just enabled the hibernation feature in Windows 7, now simply click Windows start menu and then click the small arrow next to the Shut Down button and you will see the option to Hibernate Windows 7.

Case B: If you see that there is no option for Allow Hybrid Sleep in the power options section, then you have to check whether your computer supports hibernation and whether it has the latest legacy drivers installed.

Follow the simple steps mentioned below:

1. Type cmd in Windows search box, right click the command prompt icon, and choose Run as administrator

2. This will open the command prompt window, now type the following command

powercfg /hibernate on

When you are done typing the above command, hit the Enter key and you may see the following window:

You may see the following message, There are one or more legacy drivers installed, an internal system component has disabled hibernation

In that case, you cannot turn on the hibernation feature anymore. This is because Windows is unable to find the corresponding legacy drivers that are required for the hibernation to work.

You have to ask your computer vendor for the latest drivers, or you may also want to visit your computer manufacturer’s website and download the drivers and install them. Once all the latest drivers are in place, you can follow the exact same steps mentioned above and turn on the hibernate feature in Windows 7.

The article was written for Windows 7, but the same is also true for Vista.

~Amit Banerjee

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4 Responses to “Hibernation in Vista and Windows 7”

  1. Jolyn Bowler says:

    I’m a member of our local Hilton Head Island Computer Club and host a SIG (special interest group) on Windows 7 each 2nd Tuesday of the month. This question was asked at last Tuesday’s meeting. Thank you for more information than I had to answer. I explained what Hibernation and Sleep were, but I like your in depth instructions on how to “fine tune” these settings. Thanx . . . ;-} jolyn

  2. Dianna says:

    i was reading the info you had on hibernation of the computer. Is this what you would use to have that Magic Jack? I always wanted to get Magic Jack but didn’t want to have to leave my computer on full power all the time in order to get calls.

    • James says:

      Actually, NO, because the Hibernate mode actually turns the computer off -however, it saves all the current programs and internal RAM to hard disk to be retrieved later when the computer is rebooted.

  3. Stan Fialka says:

    I am running W7 on 64 bit system and although the Allow hybrid sleep Setting
    showed “On”, I could not proceed beyond the powercfg etc stage.

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