Is Hibernate Mode Unhealthy for Your PC?

The hibernate function under Windows was developed for laptops as an alternative to energy-saving mode. Although it is a little slower to wake up your laptop compared to Sleep mode, it uses less power and your PC starts up faster than a full boot. However, hibernation has always been on everyone's lips because it hampered computer memory.

So is hibernation bad for your PC? Here we take a closer look at best practices and whether hibernation is affecting the life of your PC.

What is hibernation and how does it work?

Hibernation is a power management mode available on Windows computers. Users can configure the system to hibernate when in hibernation to conserve power while significantly reducing startup time.

Related: A Guide to Windows 10 Power Options

In the idle state, the PC saves all active sessions from your RAM memory to the boot drive and shuts down the system. When you turn on the computer, the data is restored from the boot drive to RAM as if you never turned off your PC.

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When in sleep mode, the computer saves all active sessions in RAM and goes into a sleep mode, but it still needs to use some power to keep the data in RAM alive. Hibernate, on the other hand, shuts down your PC and no longer uses any electricity.

It's an extremely handy feature for those who spend most of their time in front of their computer. You can just close the laptop lid while the apps are still running, pack up your PC, and go home. When you turn your PC back on, your most recent sessions will be restored from the Hiberfil.sys file. You don't have to go through the startup process or manually restart your apps.

Hibernation is also very handy when you are away from home and know that you will not have access to a power source for a long time. By putting your laptop to sleep, you can keep it that way for hours, days, or even weeks until you find a power outlet. Once you find one, you can plug in your laptop, open the lid, and everything is right where you left it.

Windows laptops are configured to sleep by default whenever you press the power button or close the lid. However, you can change these actions to hibernate in the power options settings.

Here's how to put your Windows PC to sleep

Depending on the configuration of your laptop, the hibernation feature may be disabled on your computer. Go to Start> Performance and see if you can see the Hibernation option next to Reboot, Shutdown, and Hibernate.

If not, here's how to put your Windows computer to sleep.

  1. Press Profit + r which open Run Crate.

  2. Type steering and click OK which open Switchboard.

  3. Go to Control Panel System and safety.

  4. Next open Energy options.

  5. Click in the left pane Choose what the power button does.

  6. Click on Change settings that are currently unavailable.

  7. Under the Shutdown settings Section, select the Overwinter Option to turn on.

  8. click Save Changes.

In addition, you can set your laptop to automatically go to sleep after a certain period of time. To do this, open the Control Panel and go to System and Security> Power Options; Click in the left pane Choose when the computer goes to sleep. Next click Change advanced power settings.

Related: How to shutdown or hibernate Windows 10 using a keyboard shortcut

In the pop-up window, expand the sleep Section. Then expand Hibernate after and set a time for a battery and Plugged in Options. However, for shorter breaks, it is better to put the PC to sleep.

If the Power option in Control Panel lacks Hibernation, you can enable it from the command prompt.

To enable hibernation from the command prompt:

  1. Type cmd in Windows search.

  2. Right click on command prompt and choose Execute as administrator.

  3. In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:
    Powercfg.exe / hibernate on

  4. Now go to the power option in the control panel and enable hibernation.

What is the impact of using hibernation on your PC?

The most common argument against using hibernation was the wear and tear on the mechanical hard drive from frequent shutdowns and reboots. The truth is that modern mechanical drives are much more resilient in this regard and are unlikely to have any major problems due to hibernation. This problem is even less common with SSDs.

Hibernate also reserves some of the space on the boot drive. It uses the hiberfil.sys file to save the current state of the PC and then restore it when it is switched on. The reserved space is usually equal to the RAM available on your system. If you have limited disk space, you can delete the hiberfil.sys file to free some space.

Related: Should You Delete Hiberfil.sys File in Windows 10?

To turn off hibernation:

  1. Open the open one command prompt as an administrator.

  2. Next, type the following command and hit Enter:
    powercfg.exe / hibernate

  3. This will disable hibernation and delete the file, freeing up the reserved space.

Waking up from hibernation is usually slower than sleep. Even on an SSD, it takes a few seconds longer than hibernation to turn on the system after hibernation. However, this tradeoff allows you to significantly reduce battery consumption without losing your active sessions.

When should hibernation be used?

Consider using hibernation when you need to take a long break, say for a few hours or more, but don't want to shut down your PC and close open apps. Use hibernation for short breaks and shut down if you will not be using your computer for a few days. The use case varies depending on the user; The bottom line, however, is that hibernation can be used safely.

That said, graceful shutdowns will periodically help your computer empty RAM and free up resources to optimize performance. It can also help you reduce power consumption and protect your system from power surges.

To claim that hibernation affects the life of a mechanical hard drive is not exactly a myth; it is a misinterpretation of how the power cycle works. Hibernation has the same effect on your mechanical hard drive as a normal shutdown or restart. Although it does a large round of writes when you go into and out of hibernation, the impact on the life cycle of your storage drive is minimal.

Hibernate or not hibernate?

Hibernation is a handy feature. Not because it makes boot time faster, but because it saves your active sessions. It allows you to turn off your system and then go back to where you left off without having to restart everything. Extremely useful for people who use multiple sets of tools repeatedly and extensively every day. It's a safe, clean, and controlled shutdown.

However, perform a full restart every now and then to avoid issues related to pending updates, unnecessary cache building, and resource management.

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About the author

Tashreef Shareef
(49 published articles)

Tashreef is a technology writer at MakeUseOf. With a bachelor's degree in computer applications, he has over 5 years of writing experience and covers Microsoft Windows and everything related to it. When you're not working, you can tinker it on his PC, try out some FPS titles, or check out animated shows and movies.

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