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Difference Between Hibernate and Sleep

Hibernate vs Sleep

Hibernate and sleep are words that are today being frequently used to describe about power saving modes in a computer and should not be confused with hibernation of some of reptiles and mammals that is a process of conserving energy during harsh weather. In animals, hibernation is similar to, but quite different from normal sleep as it eliminates requirement of food and movement for a prolonged period. The same concept has been beautifully used in terms of computers as power saving technique. Both sleep and hibernate are techniques designed as a compromise full power on and totally shut down states. If these processes are not used in a computer, we would have to begin with the boot process every morning upon starting the computer. However, there are differences between hibernate and sleep that are discussed in this article.

Though, both sleep and hibernate are similar to off state of your computer, hibernate is a deeper off state than sleep, and it is for this reason that it is referred to as a better option for power savings than sleep. In terms of data also, hibernate is considered a safer mode. This is because hibernate mode means shutting off power to not only monitor and hard drives, but also to RAM memory chips, which is not the case with sleep mode. The data in RAM is saved by hibernate mode in the form of 1’s and 0’s in a reference file before RAM gets unpowered and then reloads this data after reading it when you wish to come out of hibernate mode. Thus, when a person comes out of hibernate mode he finds the data as it is at the time of ending his session with the computer. You must have realized that your system takes longer to come back into action when you come out of hibernate mode rather than when you come out of sleep. This is because of all the reading and reloading that takes extra time in case of hibernation. A computer thus, takes longer to wake up from hibernation than from sleep. On the other hand, there is no saving of contents of RAM in case of sleep which is why you must have noticed computer waking up faster when coming out of a sleep (as there is no reading and loading of contents of RAM). However, precisely because of all this, there is lesser power savings in case of a sleep than in case of hibernate.

One point to note is that, if you are not using a UPS and there is by chance a power interruption, all your RAM content would be gone as it is not saved in the case of sleep mode. So make sure you have the backing of UPS before employing sleep mode.

In normal circumstances, laptops come with hibernate mode function enabled, while PC comes with sleep mode enabled. However, it is possible to make use of hibernate mode in a desktop also.

What is the difference between Hibernate and Sleep?

• While both sleep and hibernate are power saving techniques in a computer, hibernate is used more for laptops, whereas sleep is used more for PC’s.

• Hibernate mode uses less power than sleep, but takes longer to wake up than sleep.

• Hibernate is safer for data as it saves RAM contents that are reloaded when you want the computer to wake up.

• In case, there is no back op of a UPS and power interruption takes place, all content in RAM is lost during sleep.


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