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How to Re-Enable Hibernation in Windows 8

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Many people have an issue with the way power settings are accessed in Windows 8 – there is certainly more mouse and keyboard action involved in shutting down than in previous versions. When you access the power menu you may well have noticed that you are missing the hibernation feature. If you want it back, it takes just a few moments to reinstate.

Open the power menu on your computer to see what you are currently working with. You can go through the step of bring up the charm menu either with a swipe or pressing Win + C before hitting Settings, or you can jump straight to the right place by hitting Win + I.

What do you see here? The chances are that you are only presented with three options: Sleep, Shut down and Restart.

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It is worth pointing out that the hibernation state has been largely replaced by an enhanced Sleep mode. Put your computer into sleep mode and when you return to your computer you can pick up from where you left off.

However, should your computer lose power while in sleep mode, you will lose changes in any open files that you have not saved. This, coupled with the fact that some users have issues with sleep and, and that others just prefer the idea of hibernation, means that you may want to gain access to additional power options.

Press Win + I and click the Control Panel link, and then open Power Options.

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Click the ‘Choose what the power buttons do’ link to the left and then click ‘Change settings that are currently unavailable’.

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Scroll down through the list of options and tick the Hibernate box before clicking the ‘Save changes’ button.

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Next time you bring up the power menu, the hibernate option will be there ready for you to use.

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There really isn’t much reason to use hibernation these days, but if you are a stickler for doing things a certain way or you are having problems with the usual sleep mode, it is good to know that Hibernation has not been lost.

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

  • Published 01/28/13

Comments (17)

  1. Nick

    I don’t get this complaining about the mouse and keyboard to shut down Win 8! It still uses good old Alt+F4 that we’ve all been using forever. That’s how I always do it. But hey, that’s just me

  2. Sjaak

    I just can’t figure out how to wake up my PC (Win8 Pro) from hibernation. Any help on that?

  3. Mark Wilson

    @Sjaak – what happens when you hit the power button to bring the PC out of hibernation? Does your computer restart, give an error message or do nothing?

  4. filp-out

    Every day i look on here, and every day i see a new article titled “how to do with windows 8″.
    It really is shocking that people dont know how to do a damn thing with the computer they own.
    Or that MS hid these standard features to begin with.

  5. max

    @filp-out – I think your second guess is more accurate. Not that users don’t know how to use a computer. More Windows 8 has hidden even more options and yet another tweak is necessary to make it usable.

  6. madvent

    I think this place must be rename to howtonoob :p

  7. TheFu

    There are known issues with standby and the pseudo-shutdown in Windows8 if you dual boot with other OSes. This is a very small group, but still catastrophic for those people.

    I do not know if hibernated file systems are impacted or not.

    Seems that Microsoft decided to not close their file system properly in these situations, so that if another OS is used to access the same partition, data corruption is possible, perhaps even likely.

    There is a way to disable this feature inside Windows, if you dual boot. Sorry, I don’t have the directions handy – no Windows8 here.

  8. Bugger

    It’s shocking that Microsoft took an absolutely great operating system, Windows 7, and screwed it up and called it Windows 8.

    I call it “Windows Hate”.

    Everywhere you look or read there is some article telling you how to make Windows 8 work like Windows 7, so why bother unless you want a tablet type computer and you’ve purchased a touch screen monitor. I reloaded my desktop with 7 after purchasing 8 and trying it. It’s not made for use with a mouse and lots of features are just hidden and they call it Windows 8.

  9. James

    It is hard to understand the mentality of those responsible for the downgrade called Windows 8. They could have added the (few) real improvements to Windows 7, without screwing up, changing access methods or just plain dumbing down a whole load of features that were great before. I will not be downgrading any of my machines to 8.

  10. Frieder

    Also, if you normally use sleep instead of shut down, remember to turn off “fast start-up”.. what a useless feature. For the very rare cases that I actually click “Shut down”, I expect my computer to do exactly that: To FULLY shut down. Not to go into some weird intermediate state with caching. I gladly wait another 5 seconds to boot into a completely fresh instance.

  11. thesilentman

    Um, guys; why hibernate? SSDs are the norm now, and even then, Windows 8 boots up quite fast without Fast Boot. So, why hibernation? Just turn off your machine and get a better performing one at boot.

  12. ceninant

    I don’t have an SSD.
    Until I build a server so I can have 12TB of storage, I won’t have an SSD.
    Hibernation saves your session and is perfect for laptops.

  13. Joe

    @silentman

    Some people might be working on , say 4 document that are stored at 4 different locations on the drive.
    Let’s say these locations have very long paths.
    The user might be up late working on a project that’s due in the morning and he wants to have a few hours of sleep efore picking up exactly where he left off.
    He simply save all his documents and hibernates his computer (sleep wont do, what if desktop loses power?)
    This is is logical SSD or no SSD.

    P.S.
    (You have successfully advertised that you are the (very) proud owner of a SSD enabled computer – congrats!)

  14. Alex

    To completely shut Windows down you will need to disable Hybrid Boot.

    In your Control Panel, under Power Options, select Change plan settings, then Change advanced power settings. Now open the tree in the Sleep section. You will find an option to toggle Hybrid Boot on or off.

    Please note that Hybrid sleep is on by default for desktop systems but off by default on laptops. Why this choice?

    First of all, desktops are at higher risk of the power outage scenario wherein a loss of power (either due to a genuine power outage or simply unplugging the computer by mistake) causes all work in progress to be lost. Desktop computers typically don’t have a backup battery, so a loss of power means instant loss of sleep state. By comparison, laptop computers have a battery which can bridge across power outages.

    Furthermore, laptops have a safety against battery drain: When battery power gets dangerously low, it can perform an emergency hibernate.

    Laptop manufacturers also requested that hybrid sleep be off by default. They didn’t want the hard drive to be active for a long time while the system is suspending, because when users suspend a laptop, it’s often in the form of “Close the lid, pick up the laptop from the desk, throw it into a bag, head out.” Performing large quantities of disk I/O at a moment when the computer is physically being jostled around increases the risk that one of those I/O’s will go bad. This pattern doesn’t exist for desktops: When you suspend a desktop computer, you just leave it there and let it do its thing.

  15. Gigi

    powercfg -h on

  16. Keith

    Same as @Gigi.

    Also works in Win7.

  17. Frieder

    @Alex
    You are describing two different things: Hybrid Boot (aka “fast start-up”) and Hybrid Sleep.
    Hybrid Sleep is a combination of Hibernate and Sleep. When “Hybrid Sleep” is active, putting the PC into sleep mode will ALSO save the memory to hiberfil.sys on permanent storage. So in case you unplug your computer while it is in sleep mode, no data is lost and the computer would boot up as if it was put to hibernate in the first place. Under normal circumstances one would benefit from faster boot times with better protection against data loss.
    It is beyond me why this very useful mode is not available in Windows 8 anymore.

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