Should You Shutdown, Sleep or Hibernate Your PC?

Understanding Shutdown, Sleep and Hibernate

When you are not using your PC, you can put it in sleep or hibernate mode apart from shutting it down. Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, and you need to choose the best one based on your needs.

In this article, you will learn about the differences between these modes and how to select the most appropriate one.


  • Sleep is the best mode to choose when you are taking a short coffee break from your work and want to get back quickly to where you left off after it.
  • Hibernate is a good option if you will be away from your work for a longer period and also want to save all your work even if you are away.
  • Shutting down is the best option if you are not going to use your computer for even longer time, say for a day or so, and want to keep it safe.

Understanding Shutdown, Sleep and Hibernate

Understanding Shutdown, Sleep and Hibernate

Each of these modes has its significant characteristics and pros and cons. These modes are also used in different situations based on their characteristics.

Therefore, you should understand them first very well and then use one of the options that you deem fit for the specific situation.


Shutdown refers to powering off the PC completely, along with all apps and programs. In this mode, the main memory of the computer system is typically cleared.

Most users use this mode because using this mode allows the computer system to stay fresh, responsive and fast.

You should typically shutdown your PC in the following situations:

  • If you use the system infrequently
  • If you want to unplug the PC from the wall socket or remove the battery of the laptop
  • If you want to leave the system behind for a long stretch of time, such as during a vacation
  • If you want to ship the product or place it in the storage while travelling by plane
Read Also:  What is Stick Computer? (Explained)

Other than that, you may even shut down your PC every night. This is, in fact, a very good practice. A lot of people do it, especially when they buy a new PC or laptop, and there are some very good reasons behind it, such as:

  • It increases the lifespan of the device
  • It improves the level of performance of the system
  • It enhances the speed in operation
  • It helps in protecting the system from damage due to power surges
  • It also helps in saving a considerable amount in the monthly power bill
  • It helps in protecting the privacy of the users
  • It helps in improving the productivity


However, there are some downsides of shutting down your PC, such as:

  • It takes time to resume work when you restart the system.
  • If you forget to save a file before shutting the Pc down, it may result in permanent loss of data.


Sleep mode is usually a very good option to choose when you are away from your system for a short time, for a coffee break, for instance.

When you put your desktop or laptop computer in sleep mode, it will use a lot less power.

In addition to that, it is also a good mode to use for other reasons, such as:

  • Your system will start up faster and you will be back to where you left off almost instantly.
  • If you are using a laptop, you do not have to worry about the battery draining and losing your data. This is because the system will save the work automatically and turn it off when the battery reaches an extremely low level.
Read Also:  Top 10 Reasons to Choose a Laptop Over a Desktop

Typically, in sleep mode everything that you are working on and every app you are running will be kept in the main memory or the Random Access Memory (RAM) of the PC.

This means that it is only the RAM that draws power and all other components of the PC are powered down, thereby saving energy.


In spite of the benefits offered, sleep mode too has its fair share of downsides, which include the following:

  • It still draws power.
  • The RAM does not get a break from work.


This is a particular option that may not be available in every PC since it is designed especially keeping the laptop computers in mind.

If you have this option and use it, your PC will consume much less power than it would if you put it in sleep mode, though the exact amount of power consumption typically depends on the PC itself.

However, just like in the sleep mode, putting your computer system to hibernate mode will also allow you to get back to where you left off almost instantly.

When you hibernate your PC, everything is completely turned off. However, this option will let you continue with all your work when you come back from your break.

This is because the system saves everything safely in the ‘Hibernation File’ and stores it on the hard disk of your PC. The entire computer system is then shut off, thereby drawing zero watts of power.

Hibernate is particularly useful to save battery power on laptops that aren’t plugged in.

Read Also:  What is Mainframe Computer? Uses, Types & More

Therefore, if you want to take your laptop somewhere and you don’t want to waste valuable battery power, you should certainly put it to hibernate mode rather than putting it to sleep.

Typically, you should use the hibernate option when:

  • You know that you are not going to use your computer for an extended period.
  • You do not have access to a power outlet to recharge the battery of your laptop computer during that period of time.


The demerits of the hibernate mode are:

  • It takes longer to boot back up.
  • It does not help in the speed of the computer by clearing the main memory.


Understanding the differences between shutdown, sleep, and hibernate modes can help you choose the best option depending on your specific needs.

Shutting down is the best option when you will not use your computer for a long time, while sleep mode is ideal for short breaks.

Hibernate mode is useful when you want to save battery power on laptops that aren’t plugged in for an extended period.

Although each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, choosing the appropriate one can help you save power, protect your data, and improve the performance and lifespan of your device.

About Taylor

AvatarTaylor S. Irwin is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments