Hibernate Vs Sleep Vs Shutdown: Which One Should You Use?

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Hibernate option provided in Windows OS is a power-saving feature. Hibernate allows you to save the current state of your system to the Hard Disk and then shuts down your computer. It is best suited for times when you don’t want to lose any of your data and want your system to resume from where it was left off.

I was using the hibernate mode quite frequently until I realized that there is one big disadvantage of using hibernate on your PC. And in this article, we are going to share that same disadvantage with you while comparing hibernate with sleep mode and shutdown. Moreover, we’ve also shared in what situations they should be used.

Hibernate Vs Sleep Vs Shutdown

sleep vs hibernate vs shutdown


It is called the ‘deeper-sleep’ of your PC. In short, hibernate mode will save the state of your work available on the RAM to the Hard Disk and then shuts down the PC. And when you boot your PC again, the data saved on your hard disk is again transferred to the RAM. This way, hibernate mode uses almost no power of your PC, thus saving up your data while saving the battery.

Now, why exactly the Laptop/PC doesn’t use any battery power on hibernate mode? Well, unlike RAM, magnetic hard disks don’t require a constant power supply. So when the data is transferred from RAM to Hard disk, your laptop doesn’t need any power to keep your data safe. Hibernating starts up the system like a normal startup, but it takes more time to wake-up than the Sleep mode.

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Sleep Mode

On the other hand, in sleep mode, all your data stays in the RAM only. And as you’ve already learned, RAM requires a constant power supply in order to save your data. But that is the same reason why laptop in sleep mode boots more quickly. However, the requirement of the constant power supply to the RAM consumes more battery than the hibernate mode.

Shut Down

Now unlike sleep and hibernate mode, when you shut down your PC, the entire system is completely powered off. All the running programs are shut down with the PC and they stop working entirely. So when you reboot your computer, everything is started from scratch. Rebooting the computer after shutting it down takes more time than hibernate and sleep mode. And of course, a shutdown computer doesn’t use any amount of power, so it wins in that regard.

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When Should You Use Hibernate, Sleep Or Shutdown Mode?


Hibernate is a power-saving feature and it is meant to be used when you don’t have any charging source near you.No battery charging source

This mode is helpful in conserving your battery when you want to keep the applications running as they are. So that when you reboot your system, you find everything at its place with the least amount of battery usage. That is why, if you are sure that you won’t find a power supply soon enough, then it is better to go with the hibernate.

Sleep Mode

The sleep mode serves the exact same purpose of conserving your data while saving the battery power. However, sleep mode requires some power supply for the RAM to keep running. So, sleep mode does reduce power consumption, but not as much as hibernate mode. In short, you should use sleep mode over hibernate when you can easily find a power source near you.

Power source available

Shut Down

The purpose of the shutdown is pretty simple, which is to turn off all the running applications with your PC. In shutdown, the system uses almost no power, so it is for sure that it is best to shut down the PC if you want to save all the battery power. However, if you want to get all the applications and your unsaved data unaffected at its place after the reboot, then you shouldn’t go with this option.

Why Hibernate Shouldn’t Be Used Too Frequently?

Now if you think about it, hibernate is surely a useful feature, especially for battery-operated devices. But it does come with its own disadvantage.

Hibernating is a good feature if you want to keep your system in deep sleep mode for a long time. But if you use it quite frequently, then it affects your laptop’s overall battery life along with the board of your system. But if you are using the hibernate or Safe-Sleep feature rarely, then it is fine, because it is made for rare purpose only. It is my personal experience that if you are using this feature daily, then you will notice in a few days that your laptop’s battery life will go down considerably.

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So after going through the entire article and comparison, the difference between sleep vs hibernate vs shutdown must be clear to you. We all have been using the sleep and hibernate feature from the very start, but what we didn’t realize is the difference between them. The right time to shut down and using sleep mode is pretty clear. As of hibernate mode, use this only when it is necessary, else avoid it and save the life span of your laptop’s battery. But still, if you want to regularly put the laptop in hibernate mode, it is recommended to keep the charging on for your laptop.

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Akshay Thapliyal
Akshay Thapliyal is the Co-founder of TechUntold and mainly looks into the strategic planning at TechUntold. He also loves writing articles on apps & problems he faces related to tech. Follow him on:


  1. I suppose some sort of metrics or proof would make your claim of hibernate destroying battery life more than sleep mode valid. I don’t know how you would get them though? Your battery life is going to depend on cycles and at what levels you’re recharging and I don’t see how hibernate is going to affect this more than sleep if you’re constantly draining your battery anyways

    • Hey Justin,
      Hibernate uses battery when writing and then reading the data. It can be that during these processes, it uses more power than the Sleep mode. So if you use Hibernate often and only for short amount of time, it can be more power draining than Sleep mode.


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