Hibernate vs Sleep: How to Choose the Best Setting for Your PC?

When it comes to powering down your computer, you have two main options: sleep or hibernate. But which one should you choose? Both conserve energy and put your PC into a low-power state so that it can start up quickly when needed.

However, they differ in how long they keep the system in this state and what happens when power is cut off. In this blog post, we’ll explain the differences between hibernate and sleep modes so that you can make an informed decision about which one is best for your needs.

Overview of Hibernation Mode

Hibernation is a feature that enables PC users to quickly save their current open programs and files, shut down their computer, and later return to the same state they left it in. This feature can be a real time saver by eliminating the need to open up the same programs and documents you were using before turning off your device.

Once hibernated, your computer will use minimal energy and enter into a low-power state; this helps conserve battery life for laptop or tablets. Activating hibernation on your device is quick and easy and can be located in the Power Option of your device’s control panel.

Hibernation allows users to take full advantage of their devices without having to continuously start from scratch every time it is turned off – making it an useful built-in setting that every user should utilize!

Overview of Sleep Mode

When it comes to your PC, getting the right sleep settings is key. A good sleep setting will ensure that you have maximum energy efficiency while still getting the performance you need as quickly as possible.

It can also help reduce wear and tear on your hardware, helping ensure its longevity. Sleep mode works by shutting down parts of your computer when it is not in use, allowing it to respond quickly when you need it again without having to boot up from scratch—all while using a fraction of the power of an active machine.

You can configure your device’s sleep settings in its BIOS or your OS’s power plan settings and customize them to fit with how often you tend to use your PC during the day. With just a few tweaks in the right direction, you can make sure that all your computing needs are catered for, whether you’re into streaming video games or crunching numbers all day long!

Hibernation vs Sleep Mode

Hibernate mode shuts off the device completely, allowing users to save their work and settings before restarting the computer at a later time with everything as it was left.

Sleep mode keeps the device partially powered on while consuming only minimal amounts of energy. This mode usually works well for short periods of inactivity, but will eventually require a deeper shutdown if left idle too long.

Both options can be found under the Power icon in any Windows system’s settings menu, giving users the flexibility to choose which one best fits their lifestyle needs.

Advantages of Hibernation Mode

Hibernating a PC often confers many benefits for users. Doing so can help preserve battery power for laptops, as the computer can be restarted swiftly and there will be no time wasted waiting for programs to boot. Additionally, this process eliminates more energy than just turning off the machine – while shut-down requires some energy just to reopen programs and files, hibernation stores all that information in the RAM before shutting off, eliminating the need for the machine to expend any extra energy when used again.

Furthermore, hibernating allows users to keep previous windows open and changes unsaved so they do not have to laboriously re-do any lost work or sacrifice an unfinished project; productivity is thereby improved.

Finally, this process completely shuts down a computer without erasing any particular data stored on it, meaning that personal identifiers and passwords are securely stored until users are ready to use their machines again. Hibernation provides a strong combination of safety, security and energy efficiency; it is therefore an advantageous choice for PC owners.

Disadvantages of Hibernation Mode

Hibernating a PC can present a few drawbacks for users.

  • The first is that if your computer does not come back from hibernation, you could be losing important data. This is due to the fact that the system has to save all open files and applications and store them in memory when hibernating, as opposed to simply shutting down. If something happens while it is off, you may lose whatever data was stored in memory. There is also the chance of having a corrupted file or other problem upon waking your PC.
  • Lastly, since there is no obvious switch on most computers to activate hibernation mode, it can be more difficult to use than simply powering down your machine.

For these reasons, powering down completely often remains the best option for users looking to ensure their data’s safety and maintain ease of use.

Advantages of Sleep Mode

Many people don’t realize that sleeping a PC can bring many advantages, from energy savings to convenience. By activating the sleep mode of a PC, it reduces the power consumption and overall electricity costs. Additionally, it ensures quick startup when you use it again, as your data and applications remain open; this means you can resume work almost immediately without having to re-open files.

Moreover, if unsure about security issues, shutting down a computer and putting it in sleep mode can reduce the risk of malware. All in all, sleeping your PC will help ensure its performance while reducing energy costs and providing safety benefits.

Disadvantages of Sleep Mode

Sleep mode keeps the operating system running while in standby, which can use more power than hibernating the computer. Additionally, if the computer crashes while in sleep mode, it will not automatically save progress made prior to its crash; with hibernate, previous actions before entering standby mode will be saved.

For some users, the ease of use of waking up quickly from sleep mode is considered an advantage over waiting for a boot-up process after hibernating since work can be resumed much faster; however, other users may prefer shutdown processes over those provided by either sleep or hibernation.

Ultimately then, Microsoft has a trade-off between energy savings and time savings for its users; as such, choosing between the two depends entirely on user preferences and lifestyle needs.

How to hibernate in Windows 11/10?

To successfully hibernate your system in Windows 10:

  1. Open the system and security window.
  2. Next, select power options, and then locate the setting to ‘Change what the power buttons do’.
  3. Next, select ‘Change settings that are currently unavailable’.
  4. Select the “Hibernate” option from the drop-down list.


Once you have chosen this setting and saved it, your system will be ready for hibernation whenever you select the hibernate option from the start menu.



Which Mode Should You Use? 

The answer depends on what type of user you are. If you need to conserve battery life or simply need a quick break from work without losing any progress, then hibernation mode is probably best for you since it keeps everything saved until you’re ready to resume working again. On the other hand, if preserving battery life isn’t an issue and data loss isn’t a concern (for example, if everything has already been saved), then using sleep mode may be ideal since it only takes a few seconds to start right back up where you left off.  


Both hibernation and sleep modes can help make things easier for users who need to take breaks from their computers but don’t want to close out all their programs first (or risk losing data due to an unexpected power outage). Ultimately, which one should you use? That depends on how often (and how long) you need breaks from work as well as whether or not data loss is a concern for whatever project(s) is currently being worked on at the time—but no matter which one fits your needs better, both are great options available with Microsoft Windows!

Get in touch with a local technician if you need more help with them.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...