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What is the difference between suspend and hibernate in Windows?

26 mayo, 2021

Or why you don’t need to turn off your computer almost never. Nobody likes a slow PC, and the truth is that when we start the system for the first time after a shutdown, it usually takes longer to start everything, unlike when we return from a sleep state, where everything continues exactly as we leave it and the beginning is almost immediate.

The truth is that both hibernate mode and computer sleep in Windows and other operating systems, it is much more comfortable and practical than turning the machine on or off every time we use it and stop using it. It is simply not necessary and we will explain why.

Both sleep and hibernation serve the same purpose: preserve current system state and save energy. You would think that nothing can conserve as much energy as shutdown, but you would be wrong.

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Hibernate versus Suspend

Lay off

When we suspend the computer, the equipment automatically enters a mode of minimal power consumption, only the one it needs to keep the RAM memory turned on. In that RAM memory the current state of the system is stored, so that when you return you will find all the windows and applications that you had open as they were. If you have a laptop with a good battery, it can last up to more than a day like that without running out of juice.

When we use hibernate mode, the same thing happens, the difference is that instead of storing the current state of the equipment in RAM, it is stored on your hard drive or in solid storage. This means that the energy consumption will be zero. A computer that is hibernating, is basically off, does not consume power because it does not need to keep any components on.

Suspending equipment is like deep sleep, while hibernating is more like cryogenization.

What hibernate mode does consume is disk space. Windows hibernate file can take up a few gigs of spaceAnd in addition to this, when you wake up a computer from hibernation the process is usually a little slower than when you wake it up from sleep, although this also depends on the speed of your disk.

Reactivate hibernate mode in Windows 10

Menu Off

For some reason Microsoft decided that in Windows 10 hibernate mode does not need to appear in the system shutdown menu. When we right click on the start button and choose Shut down or log out, we can see only four options, and Hibernate is not one of them. The mode still exists, but to be able to use it you have to activate it manually.

Press the Windows key, type Control Panel and hit Enter. Once inside the options, click on Security system, then select Energy options and in the menu on the left click on Choose the behavior of the on / off buttons.

System configuration

Now click on the option that appears at the beginning of the window: Change settings currently unavailable. This will make Hibernate option appears in Shutdown Settings.


Check the box Show in Start / Shutdown menu and then press Save Changes to end. Now you just have to right click on the start button again and you will see that the Hibernate option appears next to Suspend, Close session and others.

From that same configuration panel you can decide if you want your computer to turn off, go into hibernation or suspend when you press the power buttons or close the lid of a laptop.

Which is better?

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Well this will depend on your needs. Suspend is what most computers do automatically when they stop being used for a long time, or laptops when we close the lid. This preserves the state so that we only have to press a button when waking up or simply lift the lid, but it will still consume energy no matter how minimal.

If you have a laptop that does not have much battery life, hibernating is definitely your option. But if you have very little storage space, you may prefer to go for suspension, since the hibernation file can be quite large. In fact, it was one of the things that we recommend deleting to recover some space in Windows 10 if you have little.

If you suffer from both deficiencies, or are paranoid about the electricity bill in your house, you do not mind having to wait for a slower start and having to open everything again every time you sit in front of the computer, then turn it off and live as in 1998.