Difference Between Sleep and Hibernate in Windows

Difference Between Sleep and Hibernate in Windows
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

There are many options in a Windows computer system, asides from the “Shut down” option when the user is not using the system.

We have sleep and hibernate options, and I bet that many users don’t know the difference between sleep and hibernate in Windows, and many people use anyone that comes to their head.

However, we have discussed the differences between these two options. But before we talk about the differences, let us talk about each option first.

Sleep Mode in Windows

In Windows systems, sleep is a standby mode that turns off power to non-essential and non-critical parts.

This mode activates after a period of inactivity on your PC, but the user can also activate it manually. No operation will continue while in this mode.

The power load will reduce slowly in this mode, but the machine’s power will not be completely off.

All of your apps and windows remain open, and your device maintains the active state of the PC by using its random access memory (RAM).

If the computer loses power while in sleep mode, all data is lost, and it will restart as if it had just been powered off.

Hibernate Mode in Windows

Hibernate mode is similar to sleep mode, except it saves your open documents and runs applications to your hard disk instead of RAM.

If your laptop battery is about to die, the last waking state of your device saves automatically to disk. This usually happens using the Hibernate power mode.

This mode allows your computer to completely shut down, which means it consumes no power while in Hibernate mode.

When you turn on the computer again, it will pick up where you left off. Because desktop PCs lack the battery power of laptops, Hibernate is frequently activated after a set amount of sleep time.

Difference Between Sleep and Hibernate

Now that we have talked about these options separately let us dive into their differences. These options do not have much difference, but the few ones are worth discussing.

Firstly, hibernation consumes no power, but it takes 20-30 seconds to wake up the system. While sleep mode consumes some power, it only takes 3-5 seconds to wake up the system.

However, sleep consumes very little energy, whereas hibernation consumes none. Also, hibernation will resume slowly, while sleep will resume immediately.

When a system is idle for a long period of time, hibernation is perfect and when the system is idle for a short period of time, sleep mode is ideal.

On hibernate, the work process will be saved on the hard disk, and in sleep mode, the work process will be saved in RAM.

Check out the highlights below.


  • Maintaining hibernate mode requires no power, but maintaining sleep mode requires a small amount of power because the work will be in RAM.
  • Hibernate is useful for long periods if you don’t want to use your laptop. But sleep mode is useful for shorter periods.
  • Hibernate uses less than 300 nA at present, whereas the current usage in the sleep mode is around 2nA at present.
  • Computer work is intact in the Hibernate mode on the hard disk. But the work stays in the RAM in sleep mode.
  • Wakeup time is less than 100 uS and less than 15 uS, for hibernate and sleep mode respectively.
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