Hibernate vs Sleep: Choose Best Power Saving Mode For Your Computer

Hibernate Vs Sleep in Windows 10

What’s the difference between the Sleep and Hibernate power options in Windows 10, and which of the two modes suits you? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, then know you’re not alone.

Many Windows 10 users actually can’t tell the two modes apart. In this guide, we’ve provided a detailed comparison of both Hibernate and Sleep power modes to help answer all your questions and clear any doubts. Read on for more details…

There are a couple of ways to power off your computer. The 3 main ones include; i.) Complete shutdown ii.) Hibernate iii.) Sleep. In this article, we’ll discuss the last two shut down options. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Sleep mode

Windows sleep mode is a power conserving option that partially turns off your PC. In this power mode, the computer uses very little power to keep the last active session saved in the Random Access Memory (RAM) while keeping all the other PC components turned off.

How Does it Work?

The sleep mode works by saving data of all previously running processes such as software, use logs, and files in the RAM (the PC’s main memory). Meaning, while the processor (CPU), the hard drive, and any attached drives are kept on off power mode, the Random Access Memory (RAM) stays “woke” and draws power from the battery or outlet.

By default, most PCs have the sleep mode set to take effect whenever you press the power button or close the lid. However, these settings are not cast on stone – you can change them under Additional Power Settings.

Follows these steps to set How and When your PC activates the sleep power mode:

Step 1: Type Settings in the search bar then in the options list, click on the settings app icon.

Settings apps

Step 2: The Settings window will appear with many options. Choose System then on the left pane of the next screen, select Power & Sleep.

Settings apps system

In the middle pane of the Power & Sleep window, choose When to sleep the PC on battery power or when plugged in.

Power & Sleep

Sleep the PC on battery power

Step 3: After choosing when to sleep your computer, proceed to the right hand side pane on the same window, under Related Settings, then click on Additional Power Settings.

Additional Power Settings

Step 4: A Power Options window will appear. On the left hand side of this window, under “Choose what the power button does” and “Choose what closing the lid does”, set any or all these options to Sleep.

Choose what the power button does option

Choose what closing the lid does

sleep power optionThat's all. Now, next time you press the power button or close the lid (whichever option you chose), your PC will be set to sleep mode.

  • Guaranteed quick startup time.
  • Quick recovery of the PC’s last active session e.g. Used logs, files, software, etc.
  • The PC runs on low power.
  • The battery will drain if the PC is left in sleep mode for a long period of time without recharge.
  • Risk of overburdening the PC’s RAM; the main memory is kept active the whole time.
  • If the PC has a faulty battery or power backup system and hence only works when plugged into an outlet, power interruptions can lead to loss of all working data when the PC is in sleep mode.

When to Use Sleep Mode

  • When you want to take a short break away from you PC and would love to start from where you left when you return e.g. during coffee or lunch breaks.
  • When your PC has sufficient battery power or is plugged into a reliable power outlet.

Hibernate Mode

The Hibernate mode is an energy-efficient power option that’s primarily available on laptops and tablets. The mode saves all your PC’s last active sessions such as use logs, programs, etc. for longer periods.

Tip! In hibernate power mode, all saved data is safe even during power outages. That’s very much the opposite of what happens in the sleep power mode.

How Does it Work?

Hibernate mode works by allowing the transfer of data from the main memory (RAM) to the virtual memory (hard drive) and shuts down all the other parts of your PC, including peripheral attachments. Unlike the sleep mode, hibernate uses less power. Moreover, all saved data won’t be lost even during power interruptions. However, your PC might take slightly longer time the next time you power on.

Follow these steps to choose When and How to hibernate your PC:

Step 1: Type settings in the search bar then click on the settings app icon from the options window.

Settings apps

Step 2: Settings window will appear with a number of options. Select System then on the left side of the screen, click on Power & sleep.

Settings apps system

Power & Sleep

Step 3: On the right hand side pane of the same screen, under Related settings, click on Additional power settings. Power options screen will then appear.

Additional Power Settings

Step 4: On the left pane of the Power Options window, under Choose what the power button does and Choose what closing the lid does, you can set any or all these options to hibernate. That’s it. Now you can set your PC on Hibernate power mode by simply pressing the power button or by closing the lid (whichever option you chose).

Choose what the power button does option

Choose what closing the lid does

hibernate power option

  • Saves all your previous sessions (you start from where you left.)
  • Uses comparatively less power than the sleep mode.
  • Saved sessions won’t be lost during power outages.
  • Comparatively longer startup time than sleep mode.
  • Because this mode relies on the hard disk to save data for the previous active session, the hard drive might generate errors due to file garbage.

When to Use Hibernate mode

  • When you want the PC to resume your last active session the next time you power on.
  • If you’re going to be away from the PC for a considerably longer duration of time.
  • When you are not able to charge your laptop or tablet.


1. What’s hybrid sleep?

This refers to a combination of sleep and hibernate modes. It works by copying all data saved on RAM (main memory) to the hard disk (virtual memory), as is the case during Hibernate mode. At the same time, the RAM is refreshed routinely while the PC is on low power mode, as happens during Sleep mode.

2. Why doesn’t your computer display Hibernate mode?

By default, Windows 10 doesn’t show the Hibernate Mode in its power options. However, you can turn it on under Advanced Power settings.

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