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Sleep vs Hibernate vs Shutdown - Which one is better?

Sleep vs Hibernate vs Shutdown - Which one is better?

So, you’re done with your computer for the day and you want to turn it off. Therefore you go to the start menu where you are faced with the only dilemma greater than pineapple on pizza: Sleep, Hibernate, or Shutdown? What does each of them do? Well, let’s take a look.


First of all, let’s get Shut down out of the way because everyone has used that. When you tell your PC to shut down it closes all programs, getting rid of any data that is not saved, logs out of windows, then cuts the power to everything, and there you go, your Computer is completely turned off and doesn’t use any power.

The downside of using Shut down is that when you eventually decide to use your computer again it can take quite a long time because it has to start windows and all of your software. But what about those other two?

What sleep does?

When you tell your computer to sleep you are essentially telling it to standby. Once you click the button, windows doesn’t turn off your programs. Instead, it saves the current session onto your RAM, then it goes into a low power mode, where it uses very little energy. The perks of sleep are that when the computer wakes up, you are almost instantly put where you left off because loading stuff from ram is so much faster than starting everything.


But RAM is a double-edged blade, which also comes with a pretty significant downside.


It is volatile, so when it loses power, it also loses all of its data. That means that, if your computer is sleeping and the power goes out, the session that was saved into memory is lost and the PC can’t resume anymore. If that happens, the next time you try to start it up it just behaves as if you had used shut down.


Much like in the animal world, you could say that hibernate is a far “deeper” sleep mode, or a bit of a hybrid between sleep and shut down. Just like sleep, it doesn’t delete your session and saves it instead. The difference here is that, instead of putting it on your RAM, it saves it on your actual Hard drive. After that, your computer fully shuts down, instead of going into a low power mode.

For pros and cons, it inherits a mix from both sleep and shutting down.

Turning the PC back on is slower than resuming from sleep, but it is still way faster than turning it on after a shutdown. Besides that it comes with the added perk that, unlike sleep, the saved session doesn’t disappear if the power goes out, it sits there until you turn the pc back on no matter what.

Now that’s all nice and good, but when should you use each of these?

Of course, there are no rules to this and you can do whatever you want but here is what I like to do:

  • If I’m turning off my computer during the day, but I still plan on using it later in the same day I like to put it to sleep, so I can quickly resume.
  • If I’m turning my PC off for more than a few hours or overnight I like to set it to hibernate. It allows me to quickly resume the next day but also means the computer won’t be running and drawing power while it’s just sitting there in the meantime.

But when do you shut your computer down?

Well, if I’m going away for more than a day I usually shut it down. However, it is a good idea to give your PC a fresh start every once in a while. It is needed for some programs to install and for updates to be applied. And that is pretty much it. So, I really do hope you found this article helpful then give it a share and comment below.

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