Home > Uncategorized > Difference between Sleep Vs Hibernate in Windows 7

Difference between Sleep Vs Hibernate in Windows 7

February 3rd, 2011

When I clicked on the Battery icon on Windows 7 on my Sony Vaio, I came to several options. One of the interesting option was, what does the computer do when I press the power button – the options were – Do nothing, sleep, Hibernate and shut down.

While the “Do nothing” and the “shut down” are obvious, you may be curious about the difference between the sleep and the Hibernate.

First the similarity – the objective of the Sleep as well as the Hibernate is to reduce the time it takes for a system to boot up. Typically a system takes 1 to 2 minute in booting from a complete shutdown. With the sleep or the hibernate we reduce this system boot time. It is done through two slightly different ways achieving the same result.


In the sleep mode, the Windows puts a copy of the current state of the open programs and windows in the RAM. The processor is shutdown, however, the supply to RAM is not completely cut off. The system take very small amount of power in sleep mode. When you try to bring the system out of sleep, it wakes up and gets started with the current contents in the RAM.

In the Hibernate mode, on the other hand, the contents of current states and the programs are saved in a separate file on hard disk and the computer is shut down. When you try to bring the computer out of the Hibernate, it takes the dump from the hard disk and use it for a faster boot. Hibernate is slower than the sleep but much faster than a full reboot. The advantage of the Hibernate over sleep is – you save battery life, if you plan to restart the computer after a long time.


The disadvantage of the Sleep mode is – in case of power failure, the data on the RAM is lost. So the system is not able to boot from the RAM. And for this reason another state called a Sleep-Hibernate mode or Hybrid Sleep is sometimes used. In the Hybrid Sleep mode, the snapshot of the current state is stored in RAM as well as the Hard disk. Under normal circumstances it will act as if booting from RAM. In the event of power failure, the system boots from the snapshot files it stored in the hard disk.

The purpose of this article was to explain the difference between the Sleep and the Hibernate in Windows 7, The concept should apply to the earlier as well as the future versions of the Windows.

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  1. CHANDAN SHARMA
    August 10th, 2011 at 02:13 | #1

    DIFFRENCE BETWEEN SLEEP AND HIBERNATE IS AS FOLLOWS –

    Sleep is a power-saving state that allows a computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again. Putting your computer into the sleep state is like pausing a DVD player—the computer immediately stops what it’s doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working.

    Hibernation is a power-saving state designed primarily for laptops. While sleep puts your work and settings in memory and draws a small amount of power, hibernation puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk, and then turns off your computer. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power. On a laptop, use hibernation when you know that you won’t use your laptop for an extended period and won’t have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time.

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