Sleep, hibernate or shut down your PC?

closeup photography of adult short coated tan and white dog sleeping on gray textile at daytime

If you’re like me you might have wondered which is best for your PC. Should you let your PC sleep, hibernate or shut down? Which option provides your PC with the “rest” it needs? How much power would it save? Which option would work best for you? Well, I’ll cover some things on all of them so that you could decide for yourself.

Sleep, shut down or hibernate?

What is Sleep mode?

This is the mode that allows your PC to be put in a form of stasis drawing very little power when doing so. It doesn’t shut your PC completely down in other terms. While in this mode the only thing that draws power would be your RAM (Random Access Memory) which is why it is so power efficient. The reason for your RAM drawing power would be because it keeps the running applications stored there. Everything else including your Central Processing Unit (CPU), Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) Drive are shut down though.

Basically, with sleep mode you can quickly resume your work in a couple of seconds without waiting for it to boot up.

How to use Sleep Mode

This is as easy as pie all you need to do is click on the start menu then click on “Power” and select “Sleep“. If you want to awaken your beast you could press any key, click any button on your mouse or press the power button and if you’re using a laptop simply open your laptop and it should wake up easily.

What is Hibernate Mode?

Hibernation switches your PC completely off but would still let you continue with your applications with the click of a button. With hibernation your PC would use your hard drive instead to save its state, freezing it in a way. So, the word stasis might work better here than for sleep mode, I don’t know. Anyway, it uses the drive to move all the stuff on it to a file. Which in turn would be used to load the state of your PC back to its memory once you start it back up again.

So, with hibernation your PC is shut down in a way so that it doesn’t draw as much power. In fact, it draws less power than sleep mode and still lets you use the apps as if you never left because the apps stay ‘open‘. However, it does take longer to start up when compared to sleep mode. Apparently, your PC would draw just as much power as when it is shut down. So that’s a definite upside if you’re looking to save power for whatever reason.

How to use Hibernate Mode

This one is a little more complicated than just clicking the start menu and hitting sleep.

  • To use hibernate mode, first rightclick on your start menu then click on Power Options.
  • Then look for additional Power settings and click that.
  • Look to the left of the window and you’ll see a “choose what the power buttons do” option. Click that.
  • Once there, you might see the hibernate option is grayed out. That’s cool because you could easily enable it by…
  • Clicking the “change settings that are currently unavailable” option.
  • Then just enable it, save the changes and voila! It should give you the hibernate option in the start menu now.

Shut Down Mode

Shutting down causes everything to close and also causes your Operating System (OS) to shut down as well. So, your Computer’s memory basically gets a fresh start with this option. This, however, is the slowest option as you may have noticed. Your PC would take longer to boot up when compared to both sleep and hibernation mode.

How to use Shut Down Mode

*sigh* To shut down your PC just… just… do I really have to? Okay, fine. To shut down, click on the start menu, select power and then click on Shut down. I hope you’re happy now. (-_-)/

So, should I pick Sleep, hibernate or shut down?

If you’re still wondering which option you should use, well then let’s go over them in a simpler way:

  • Sleep Mode:
    • Useful for when you’ll be away from your PC/laptop for a short while.
    • Saves power and battery when put to sleep.
    • Allows you to easily continue your work in a couple seconds and is faster than hibernation mode.
    • Not good for when you’ll be away from your laptop for a longer time because the battery power would run down albeit slowly.
  • Hibernate Mode:
    • Good for when you’ll be away from your device for a long while such as when you’re going to sleep.
    • Saves more power than sleep mode.
    • Allows you to resume your work faster than when shut down but is slower than when it is compared to sleep mode.
    • Not good for when you’re going to be using your PC constantly because it takes longer to boot up although it does save battery as if it were shut down.
  • Shut Down:
    • Saves the most power.
    • Slowest boot up time.
    • Good for the occasional reboot or restart because some applications might not run properly after being left in hibernation mode.
    • Can be used to properly install Windows updates. Same goes for restarting your PC.

So, all in all, Sleep mode works best for fast boot ups but saves less power than hibernate and shut down mode. Hibernate mode saves almost as much power as when shut down but is slower to boot up than sleep mode and is faster than when shut down. Shut down mode is good for a refreshing experience, works to save the most power and is the slowest to boot up.

Use sleep to start up the quickest, use hibernate to save power and start up quickly. Use shut down to give your PC a rest occasionally.

Hopefully this post has helped you decide. If you’d like please try our other posts. Maybe try:

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