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Sleep and Hibernation

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

Jim from USA writes:

Is their a difference between hibernation and sleep?

Sleep and hibernation do a very similar thing, but in different ways. Both keep all of your applications and windows saved and allow you to resume back to the point you were at before hitting sleep/hibernate, but one is designed for short breaks and one for longer breaks. 

Sleep, (also called Suspend) saves the information into your computer’s RAM and uses a small amount of power to keep the ramRAM and some system components active to allow you to quickly resume where you were.

Hibernate, on the other hand, saves the information to your hard drive then shuts down your computer. This uses the least power, but takes longer to start back up.

If you’re going from the office to a meeting you may just want to close your laptop lid to suspend. It’ll use more power than if you hibernate, but it’ll come back quickly when you get to the meeting. However, if you’re going from your office to home you may want to hibernate, as you probably won’t be using the computer for a few hours.

Sleep or hibernate


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10 Responses to “Sleep and Hibernation”

  1. Adam says:

    Windows 7 employs a Hybrid Sleep which saves the session data to both RAM and the hard disk in case of power failure. If power is lost, the computer boots as though it had been hibernated.

  2. Elaine says:

    This info is great and timely. I was just wondering this very same thing a few minutes ago. Thanks a million.

  3. Sameer says:

    Nice tips i read those regularly plz give some more technical details……!!!

  4. Nancy Wall says:

    I’ve learned so much from you and this was just another excellent explanation of a process I didn’t fully understand. Thank you.

  5. don says:

    great explanation – love the art work – really makes the point clear

  6. Diana says:

    I have Windows 7 but I can’t find this Hybrid Sleep. Where would I find it?
    When I hit shutdown all that comes up is Switch User, Logoff, Lock, Restart, Sleep and Hibernate, no Hybrid Sleep.

  7. CALWEST says:

    I just bought a new computer with windows 7 and it will not allow me to hibernate…only can use sleep mode. I called Microsoft and they claim that is normal?

  8. Debra Burdick says:

    I just checked my settings on the start menu. When I click the arrow next to shut-down, there is no choice for hibernate. I have an Acer machine with windows 7. Where would I find the hibernate button?

  9. Mark says:

    It is possible to change the power settings so that closing the lid does not put the laptop to sleep. I would guess at least most laptops come from the factory with the lid close set to pt the laptop to sleep but it might not be so. This would be true especially if you have or bought a docking station with the laptop, you wouldn’t want it going to sleep when you closed it to dock it. All of our company laptops are setup this way.

    To check or change, go to control panel, power options (there are other ways to get there but this is the easiest to write. Select your power plan, or create a new one, and click change advanced power settings and look in the “power buttons and lid” section.

    You can also go there to allow hybrid sleep, under the sleep section. If hybrid sleep is enabled then the hibernate option on the shutdown button goes away since it is going to do the hibernate function every time you tell it to sleep. I suspect this will cause it to take longer to go to sleep.

  10. Jeri says:

    If I put my machine into sleep mode at the end of the day, will it then not be able to perform scheduled tasks set for overnight?

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