Hibernate, Sleep, Shutdown: Which One Should you Choose?


Customizing the power allows you to save more energy. Microsoft Windows have different power options like sleep, hibernate, hybrid sleep, shutdown. Let’s discuss what each option does, what are the difference among them, and which one should use at what situations.

What is Sleep? 

It's what when you don't use your computer for minutes of time, your pc automatically goes into the sleep mode. All your open windows with their current state saved in the RAM memory.

RAM(Random Access Memory) it's the volatile memory, which means once the power is cut off, data wiped out from it. In sleep mode, the power is continuously supplied only to the RAM, and not for the other hardware components like Processor, Hard drive, and DVD drive. It uses little power, that much require for running RAM only.

After pressing any key or moving the mouse pointer, your PC, MAC wakes up faster without going to botting processes like Hibernate and shutdown. You can start again working from where you left off previously.

When Should Put your Computer to Sleep?

Sleep mode is significant when you have adequate battery power. And want to take rest for some period of extended. Recommended time - for an hour OR less than it. If don't want to go through that longer booting process, after returning from outside. So, you could resume all past running programs, documents, windows within a few seconds.

Remember, Activating it's a very bad choice if you planning away from your computer for extended the periods of time. This mildly down your battery power.

What is Hibernate?

You might notice that, Hibernate mode is missing from the power button.

Steps to Enable Hibernate In Power Menu

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Locate the Power Options
  3. Select Choose what the power button does from the left panel
  4. Click Change settings that currently unavailable 
  5. Mark the Hibernate checkbox to show it in the power menu
Hibernation can be activated by entering command shutdown/h in CMD.

Hibernate is the same as both shutdown & sleep. In term of power usage, it's the same as shutdown. And, It does the same as sleep, which resumes all your past works from where you left off.

Hibernate means shutting down your machine completely like shutdown. But before shutting down, your system creates a snapshot of current sessions. And save into the root directory of your primary disk (Hard Disk) with a filename hiberfil.sys.

In Hibernation, your PC goes through the normal booting process. Because the data swapping occurs between Hard Disk & RAM. The data stored in Hard Disk being loaded to RAM. And your PC wakes up with the same past state. This power mode specially designed for the laptop which has limited battery power.

It automatically activated in a laptop, when low battery indicator firing up. In windows, it activated when battery power less than or equal to 10% to prevent the data loss.

In macOS, Hibernate is hidden as Apple recommended Sleep over the Hibernate. It terms as safe sleep in macOS. While Linux terms it as suspend to disk.

When to Hibernate your Computer?

Hibernation should be considered when you're working on a computer and want to take rest for the extended period of time (for several days). Generally, I prefer it before going to bed at night when my works not be completed. When you've pending works & limited battery power, and not carrying charger; this should be the choice. 

Hybrid Sleep

It's the fusion of Sleep & Hibernate. Which primarily intended for the Desktop PCs. Although it's available on the laptop also. 

When this activated, Your Pc saves the current session into the RAM(like Sleep mode). Additionally, It saves one copy in the Hard Disk(like Hibernate). Until the continuous power supplying, it recovers the last working state from the RAM(Sleep). In case of power failure, it recovers from the Hard Disk(Hibernate). 

Laptops don't prefer this mode, Because they have a battery. When your laptop's battery running very critical it automatically saves the current state by enabling hibernate mode.

How to Enable Hybrid Sleep?

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Locate the Power Options
  3. Click Change Plan Settings
  4. Click Change Advanced Power Settings 
  5. Go to Sleep, Expand it 
  6. Click on Allow Hybrid Sleep & make it on


Recommended using this only in Desktop PCs. When you know the power will be down after some time.


You know it very well, right? Once you touch on the shutdown button, all the running processes are being stopped. The RAM memory also wiped out and filled with zeros. 

Next time, when you press the power button to turn it on again, the OS started the booting. It’ll take some bit of seconds or minutes to show the desktop screen. If you’re using the mechanical Hard Disk (HDD), It’ll be longer compared to (SSD) Solid State Drive. HDD vs SSD performance. However, your machine doesn’t take any power after the shutdown.

Shutdown/p command can be used to shut down the Windows computer instantly. 

When to Shutdown your PC and MacOS?

When you have done all your works and don't want to pick it again for a long time. It's better to shutdown PC, MAC once or twice in a day.

Always shut down your laptop, notebook before going to remove a battery.

What About The Restart?

It does the same as the shutdown. All running programs and windows are being stopped but your computer starts again immediately.

This is an option when your system is hanging or not working properly, OR any specific program demanding for it. 

Use shutdown/r command for restarting the PC.

It's All Your Choice!

All power options are intended for different purposes. This mainly impacts on your laptop's battery life cycle. The maximum life cycle for a laptop battery is 300. Now you know how does the each power mode works and when to use them. Just set according to your need!

Feel free to ask any doubts in the below comment section.


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