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XP: Enable or Disable Hibernation

Should I turn off my computer every night?  Is it better to have it Hibernate?  Should I have set it to Standby?  What is the best option for my computer?  I get these questions all week when people are asking about their home PC’s.  I believe the jury is still at on what is the best answer.  Instead of going into a long explanation I advise people about what I do.  I never turn of my home computer or my work computer for that matter and have never had any issues.

Depending upon how much you use your home PC should determine what route you take.  If your using it only once or twice a week to check email and do some browsing then it is probably save to turn it off between sessions.  If your using it several times a day … keep it on, or set it to sleep or Hibernate between sessions.  This will allow you to quickly restore the computer state between usage. 

The difference between Standby and Hibernation is Standby saves the current session in RAM whereas Hibernate stores the state to the hard drive.  In Standby any unsaved documents could be gone if you lose power, so remember to save any documents first.  When the data is stored in RAM it will be able to resume much more quickly. 

Hibernation will save much more power which is a good thing to keep in mind when running low on battery power on a laptop.  The session will take longer to come back from Hibernate mode versus Sleep.  Also, additional disk space is required to Hibernate.    

To enable or disable Hibernation in XP click Start Control Panel Power Options then the Hibernation tab

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Either check or uncheck the box next to Enable hibernation.  Click Apply then OK.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/31/07

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