What is the Differences Between Sleep (Standby) and Hibernate in Windows

ยปยปยปWhat is the Differences Between Sleep (Standby) and Hibernate in Windows

Have you ever thought of what is the differences between Sleep and Hibernate options provided by Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 shutdown function? Both commands provide a easy and quick way to leave your computer in existing last state and come back to work on it at exactly the same state later without waiting too long to system to restore itself. However, fundamentally there are significant different between them that allows users to easily choose whether they should use Sleep or Hibernate.

Sleep is commonly known as Standby in Windows system or S3 in ACPI. In Sleep mode, the power supply to non-essential and non-critical component is withheld, and most system operation is shutdown and stopped. All data in physical memory (RAM module) is still kept in internal memory, and whole system is place in stand-by mode, which can be woke up and used almost immediately. In Sleep mode, the power load reduce considerably, saving a lot of energy. However, the power must not be cut off, and must be continue to supply to the computer. Once out of power, the system will have to start again just like a newly boot computer just started from power off state.

Beginning from Windows Vista, Windows has enhanced sleep mode so that on notebook computer, sleeping computer will automatically hibernate when battery power level is low. It also has built-in Hybrid Sleep mode which ensure that system state is preserved when there is power lost.

Hibernate, or S4 in ACPI, meanwhile will save the data in physical memory to hard disk drive (HDD), and then power off the computer. In Hibernate mode, a file named hiberfil.sys which has about the same file size as the amount of system memory will be created on the local disk. When user wants to use the computer again, the computer will boot up and load back the state at the last hibernation. The advantage of Hibernation mode is that no power is wasted for maximum saving of power. In Hibernation dormancy, no electricity is consumed by system. Beside, restore from Hibernate is generally faster than computer reboot, and is totally different from fresh start, as users can return to the exact state of last hibernation with all programs running and documents opened intact, instead of empty desktop. The disadvantage of Hibernate is that after a period of time, there may have fragmentation of file. Users will need to defragment the volume that stores the hibernation file frequently.

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
  • Wy

    Worth mentioning when in S3 Sleep mode, the power consumption is only roughly 2 Watt more than totally powered down.

    And even when a PC is powered down or in hibernation, it will still consume some electricity (for power button standby, USB ports, AC>DC inefficiency, etc), probably 5 Watt or so at a guess.

  • terence

    As an elderly person coming late to computing I am still puzzled as to the best way to leave the computer i.e. Standby or Hibernate. I had the advantage of messing around with an old
    -albeit Windows XP- computer before buying the present one, again a Windows XP. I've found there is no Hibernate (`Turn-off' plus `shift') access on this computer -I try to install it- previously I both Hibernated and cut the power off: was that right or wrong?

  • smee

    thankyou, i just bought a laptop and i was very confused about the difference between sleep and hibernation,your article cleared everything up for me, i think i,ll stick with sleep mode.

  • bob

    While the information was very useful and accurate, I must confess that I am disgusted by the author's abhorrent lack of skills of the proper usage of the English language. There are more than 20 errors in a quarter as many paragraphs. Please consider having someone proof your articles before posting them.

  • QBert

    Screw hibernation vs. sleep mode, the author of this article needs to learn English! Whoever wrote it sounds like a moron.

  • EP

    What's worse than poor grammar? Poor manners, as QBert and Bob have amply shown.

  • Zola

    Who cares with poor grammar, this is supposed to be a helpful topic, not a damn grammar test.
    Get your damn english and stick it on your asses.

  • $2.98 – the savings that can be made by putting your laptop to sleep each time you take a break, rather than allowing its power manager to do the job.

    It takes a little attention, but so does remembering to turn off a light, in fact just about everything that we need to do to save energy at home.

  • Marc K

    I would hibernate this desktop a lot less often if Vista only allowed you to resume a previous session just like most modern Linux distros do… It's so annoying not having that feature, and having to either use hibernation to preserve the open applications, or give in and do a full shutdown. I bet this isn't even in Win7 either… It ought to be though!

  • Bill E

    Rather than being upset that the English isn't absolutely perfect, I am very grateful that the author chose to publish this in English so I could get the benefit. Thank you so much, please accept my appreciation.

  • Vamshi

    Thanks for the very detailed article. I really appreciate your patience. I feel ppl should stop commenting on grammar and read the article for what it is meant coz authors will hesitate on writing articles after reading the comments.

  • Spel&Gram

    Unlike Vamshi, I would like to see authors work on spelling and more importantly, grammar. respnses that r riten like this r harder 2 read n slow you down m make u like u dont no what your doing so please rite better cuz it would really help thank you and keep worokiing on ur skills i'll still read ur web site…
    Are you getting the point yet, Vemshi, et. al.?

  • Hilary

    Hm, it's funny how I didn't notice a single grammatical error until after I read the comments. (Of course after I did, they became glaringly obvious). I suppose one gets used to/comes to expect poor grammar on the internet, and the article was very helpful, so I see no reason for anyone to get their knickers in a twist.

  • Stephen Kraus

    Although it would be more professional and polished to take just a few minutes to put the article through a grammar/spell checker, the reality is that this is a technical article, frequently written by those whose native tongue is not English and who don't perceive any value in taking the time to do so unless it adds to the content, which it does not. The fact is, that most technical readers couldn't care less as long as it is understood. It is not really right but it is reality.

    Anyway, the quality of English and education in general has been rapidly declining for years and is more than likely going to continue to do so. Not to set the bar too low, but I have seen far, far worse English in regular day communications by native speakers than this article.

  • Sam

    Thank you for your informative article, that you went to a lot of time and trouble to write so as to provide people with free information.
    It explained everything I needed to know and I appreciate your time.

    Ignore the rude muppets who criticise grammar.


    This article was really good. i got all the answers i was looking for.

    thank you.

  • crave pizza

    thx that answered my question nice and quick.

    and as for the person who posted #16…well aint you da cat's meow. i bet you're just so proud to be the grammar cop. get a life ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • nawras

    It is strange that some people insist on grammar and forget what insisted the article.as non native English speaker, the writer is not supposed to be perfect. simply if you do not like the grammar,do not read it. Thanks to the writer, at least he is able to communicate in more than one language while those who needed perfect grammar can not speak any other language

  • Rhys

    Very informative and concise, thankyou.

  • Jake

    Regarding the complaints about grammar:

    What's funny to me, is that the grammar isn't even that bad. In fact, it's a lot better than what a see from numerous people who's native language is actually English.

    Very informative article, and nicely done. Thanks a lot! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Sridhar

    Thanks for the informative article, I am regular user of windows from past 10 yrs and only today i understood the actual difference between Sleep and Hibernate.

  • Curt

    I feel a need to comment on the grammar controversy. What people often fail to understand is that grammar is not and never was intended to be a set of hard and fast rules that must be adhered to perfectly. English difficult to learn for both native and non-native speakers.

    The reason is that grammar is never as important as your rhetorical purpose. What does that mean? The written language is still a language, the primary purpose of which is communication. Saying "y r u mad @ my bad gramarr" is easier to write but more difficult to read and interpret. Using better grammar and spelling communicates your message more effectively.

    I want to point out that grammar is important so that we can all continue to communicate effectively but that it is not something to be obsessive or domineering about. Only when the message is unclear should it become an issue.

    And if you wish to comment on grammar, make sure to cite specific examples with corrections and explanations for correct usage. Whether you are dealing with a non-native speaker or a lazy teenager, they will only get offended or embarrassed and never learn unless you guide them. If you are knowledgeable enough to complain, you damn-well better be capable of explaining yourself.

    And for the record, technical writing is supposed to be far more grammar intensive than other forms. The reason being that it is vital that the message be coherently communicated.

  • JMarie

    Stop hyperbolizing the gramatical errors. It is rude and only decreases your standing in the eyes of those reading your childish comments. Although proper grammer is useful, it was obviously not a hindrance to the intended audiance of the piece. A useful skill for all you critizers to learn would be looking past the gramatical errors, then you wouldn't have a problem reading it. The human brain automatically corrects spelling and grammmer errors if all the letters in a word are there, but in the wrong order, your brain can still tell what the word is as long as the first and last letters are in the corect place. If you have nothing better to do than proof-read every article you come across wwithout considering the intended purpose, and whether or not it was acheived, you are in serious need of a life.

  • JMarie

    I realize that my train of thought derails a little in my post. That is what happens sometimes when trying to convey a large idea in smallish words and phrases while on a lack of sleep. ๐Ÿ™‚ Personally, I found the article very easy to understand and it served its intended purpose well.

    • King Reelgudtframbum

      JMarie, I feel your pain. I was in my hot tub with water drops on my glasses, typing on my blackberry storm screen, while watching netflix on my 55 in. tv, and one of my high school classmates wrote from their trailer that if I can't spell education correctly, that shows my great lack of it. I have PhD in mechanical engineering and employ over 500 people in my company. I had recently posted many pics of my family and they never said a word to me since high school 20 years ago. I told them making a mistake is a great way to get old friends to notice you again though isn't it!! Yeah whenever you try to do something in life there are tons of people just praying for a way to bring you back down to their level!
      Drive on and keep up the good work. You answered my question a lot better than most other websites could.

  • Srinath

    Thanks a lot for properly distinguishing between sleep and Hibernate……But was just wondering whether the hardware/battery issues will come after a prolonged usage with 'Hibernate' settings? I want to keep the pc in Hibernate mode always…

  • Jack

    To JMarie

  • greatarticle

    This is a very informative article. Waz up wit all the negativity wit the gramar? Like, who the fuck cares… people get a fucking life.

    • carolyn hoyt

      Greatarticle from 11/22/10 well said.

  • Juliann Odea

    Hey your position looks a less bit singular in Mozilla on my duty computer Ubuntu .

  • eric

    Wlel siad poelpe are sutpid and cnat see psat smplie tings lkie tihs so tkae yuor wdords and eat tehm !!!

  • anti-hibernator

    Besides the grammar issues (which I didn't really care about in the first place but shows how unprofessional the writer is..) the author fails to mention that enabling hibernation mode eats up a lot of disk space and can slow a computer down tremendously.

    Don't use sleep nor hibernation modes(disable them altogether). Just save your files and shut down properly. Once you do that, DELETE "hiberfil.sys" and thank me later for the space and performance boost.

    • MAX

      how does one delete the “hiberfil.sys” once you boot your laptop?

  • Jackie

    The writer of this article needs to learn to write English grammar correctly. Very badly written, but helpful.

    • Zsiga

      Informative article! Thanks for taking the effort and writing it in English so all of us computer illiterate and "singlingual" couch-potatoes don't have to figure this out for ourselves.

      I was pondering for a minute that I could make a little effort, help you out and correct the grammar for you. But then common sense triumphed and I thought what the heck, *itching about your grammar is just so much easier and satisfying as many of the fine folks here already demonstrated.

      @anti-hibernator: you seem to have the authority of labeling the author 'unprofessional'.. Would you mind pointing me to some facts how an 1-8GB loss of disk space leads to tremendous performance impact on today's hardware where HDD capacity is soon to be measured in terabytes? Thanks ahead, Z

    • carolyn hoyt

      I don't care nothin bout no grammar the article has give me that thar advic I need . Want to be a school marm? Then shutup & find a captive audience to bore.

      • Dick

        After that wonderful comment Carolyn ,and before I go to sleep, will you marry me ๐Ÿ™‚ ?

    • nancy

      Why are you criticizing the helpful person who offered this information for free????
      That's as rude as criticizing someone who's giving a gift!
      So what if his or her English isn't perfect…..have u considered that maybe English is not their first language?
      You only make urself look mean & petty by criticizing the grammar of someone offering helpful freef(& accurate!!) information. Grow up.

  • shalini

    Thanks for the info. Very clear and crisp.

  • LeBeau Rio

    I suspect that if we added up all the languages spoken by the people criticizing the grammar in this very useful article, we would get a total falling somewhere between O and 2.