Hibernate Vs Sleep | Power Consumption and Speed of Rebooting Compared

If you use a laptop, you need to be power-conscious, especially when running on a battery, which is always the case, even with the best travel laptop. Some people choose to turn down their computers the moment they step away. For others, they prefer to leave the machine running 24/7.

Whichever option you take, whether hibernation or sleep mode, each has its advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, if you go for the shutdown method, your computer or laptop will close down all the programs and your operating system and uses almost no power. However, when you want to use the machine again, you'll have to go through the whole startup process, waiting for all programs to initialize and launch. Also, those who do not primarily use laptops as monitors can check out our 'How to Close a Laptop and Use a Monitor' guide.

The boot-up process can take a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on your computer or laptop. Having mentioned laptops, do the best thin laptops or the best gaming laptops under 2000 bucks deal with this dilemma?

So, should you hibernate or leave your computer in sleep mode? 


It is not unlikely to look at hibernating and sleep mode as similar at first glance. Although the two modes are similar, they also have some key differences that may cause you to choose to hibernate in certain circumstances.

If you hibernate your computer, you shut it down entirely, and it doesn't draw any power. The hibernation packages all your open data, progress, and running software in a hibernation file which is stored in the hard drive.

The hibernate option helps save all the progress on your device and resume your work on the exact screen you were using before you hibernated the machine.

The most significant difference between the sleep vs. hibernate modes is in the time it takes for the computer to come back to life. While the sleep mode is instant, it will take a few seconds or minutes for a hibernated machine to come back to life.

Advantages of the Method

  • It freezes all progress securely on the machine's hard disk.
  • The mode ensures you use no battery or outlet power


  • It doesn't help your computer to run faster by clearing the memory
  • It takes longer to hibernate and come back to life than the sleep mode

When to Use the Hibernate Mode

Hibernation is an excellent choice for your laptop (see the best business laptops here) or machine as your computer doesn't draw any power at all. It is the best option if you know you won't be using your machine for a while, but you don't want to save the files you were working on or reopen all the programs.

You can also go for the hibernate mode if you know you won't plug your computer or laptop into a power outlet for an extended period. This is helpful if you want to retain your progress as it is.

Hibernate mode will be an excellent option for a work trip where you may want to go for a few hours without power but then resume your work immediately.

Although the hibernate mode shuts down the systems entirely, it is not as effective as a shut down in clearing the computer memory and help the device run faster. It doesn't help to wipe the slate clean.

However, hibernate mode is not the best option when you want a short break from work. It can be frustrating going through the extended boot-up period repeatedly.

sleep windows 10

The hibernate mode is not only available for Windows 10 machines but also for Mac laptops and Macbooks. However, it is quite a challenge enabling the mode, and it may not be necessary. As a Mac user, you may be ok using the safe mode or safe sleep mode, which is an automatic hibernation when your machine battery is low.

If you want to hibernate your PC, use the following steps:

For Windows 10 users, select the start button and then go to the settings. Then go to the system, power, and sleep, and finally to the additional power settings. You can then select power>Hibernate or shutdown or sign out > Hibernate.

If you are a Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, swipe from the screen's edge and tap Search. If you are using a mouse, point it to the upper-right corner of your device screen and then move the mouse pointer down. After that, click Search. In the search box, enter power options and then click on the power settings options.

For Windows 7 users, click the start button and then click the control button. Go to systems and security and then click on power options. Click on the power key and then choose the hibernate option.

Sleep Mode

Sleep mode is a universal option in most modern computers, whether you use a Mac laptop or a PC.

Sleep mode is the most convenient power-saving option, and most laptops go to sleep mode after closing the lid.

Sleep mode is a power-saving mode that stores all your files and open files, settings that are currently open, and any other data in the computer's main memory or RAM. The other parts of the computer shut down with the sleep mode, including the hard drives, processor, and attached files. However, the RAM will stay awake during the sleep mode and draw power from the battery or outlet.

While everything is safely secured in the RAM during the sleep mode, it is instantly recalled when you wake your computer with just the touch of the power button.

Advantages of the Sleep Mode 

  • The sleep mode helps to restore your progress instantly.
  • It is simple and straightforward to initiate the sleep mode. You only need to close the lid of your PC.
  • The RAM uses negligible power to save your progress.

Disadvantages of Sleep Mode 

  • Your battery can still drain over the course of the sleep mode, whether it lasts for hours or days
  • The computer RAM gets a break if you shut down your PC. With the sleep mode, it doesn't get a break, and it can become full or overloaded

When to Use Sleep Mode 

Sleep mode is an excellent option when you wish to take a short break from work and get back to it instantly.

You can choose to put your computer in sleep mode when you want to take a meal, step away from your workstation for your computer to sleep itself in sleep mode, or change your working location.

Most computers require you to open the lid or touch the power button to restore your screen to where you left it.

However, sleep mode is not the best option if you don't have access to a power source. The sleep option uses a small amount of power which can gradually drain your battery. However, most computers will enter into a hibernation mode after a while in the sleep mode. The option helps to preserve your laptop battery and also back up your work.


If you want to put your PC or laptop sleep, you can do the following:

For Windows 10 users, select Start, Settings, System, Power, Sleep, and Additional power settings. If you are using a laptop, desktop, or tablet, click the power button, sleep and then save changes.

For Windows 7 users, click the start button, click the control panel, click system and security, and then go to the power options.

If you are only using a laptop, select what closing the lid does. You can then select Sleep and Save changes.

Hybrid Sleep 

Hybrid sleep is a combination of the sleep and hibernate power-saving modes.

The hybrid sleep mode helps to put your open documents and apps in memory and on the hard disk. Hybrid sleep mode then puts your device into a low power state which allows you to wake your machine instantly and allow you to resume your work.

The sleep hibernate power saving mode is enabled by default in Windows on desktop, but the mode is disabled on laptops.

The hybrid sleep mode is especially useful if there is a power outage. When power is back, Windows help you with all your work and progress from your hard disk if the memory is not accessible.

How to Wake Your Computer/laptop From Sleep or Hibernate Mode 

For most computers, you can wake them from sleep or hibernation by pressing the power button. However, computers are different and may require a different method to wake them up.


For instance, some devices may require you to press a button on the computer, lift the lid of the laptop, or click a mouse button.

You should refer to your computer's manual or visit your manufacturer's website for information on how to wake up your computer from a power-saving mode.


Sleep or Hibernate modes are essential in saving power when your laptop or PC is not in use. The most significant difference between the sleep and hibernate method is the time it takes to bring back the device to life. The hibernation mode can take several minutes, while sleep mode is instant. The sleep mode can also drain your battery slowly because when other parts of the computer shut down, the RAM remains active and it draws power from the battery. The sleep mode is ideal when you want a short break from work.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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