Windows Vista has a neat new feature for laptops called “hybrid sleep”.  Actually, Windows Vista has a neat new feature for laptops called sleep too, so I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

Windows used to have a fairly simple hardware suspend command called “standby”.  However, this operation took a while to execute (both entering and exiting standby) and it was somewhat unreliable when performed repeatedly, on certain hardware or with certain applications running.  Sleep is meant to alleviate these problems by just serializing the current state into memory and then shutting down all devices other than the RAM.  With the OS state simmering in memory like that, entering and exiting sleep is nearly instantaneous.  However, the dark side to all this is if there is a power outage while the computer is in sleep, all of the unsaved data is lost (since it just existed in memory).  That’s where hybrid sleep comes in.

Hybrid sleep saves the OS state into RAM, but it also writes it all to the hard drive as well (sort of like hibernate does).  This ensures that even if power is lost, the data will remain.  This all sounds like a good idea, but in practice it’s just as slow as standby was.

Now, laptops have batteries and most of them are configured to enter hibernate when the battery dips below a certain level.  This means that unless the battery is physically removed, power to the RAM is never unexpectedly cut.  Thus, we don’t really need the hybrid sleep feature.  Unfortunately, giving hybrid sleep the pink slip is a little harder than it could be.

Step one, open up the power options setting from the control panel and select the “Change plan settings” link below the selected power plan.

Once in the resulting dialog, choose “Change advanced power settings”.  Now you need to scroll through the miles and miles of options to find the “Sleep” node.  Expand this, and then the “Allow hybrid sleep” node below it.  You should see two options, “On battery” and “Plugged in”.  Set both of these to “Off”.

Once this is done, click “OK” and you should be all set!  From now on, whenever your laptop would normally go into “Sleep” – usually when the lid is closed or when inactive for a certain time – it will enter full sleep mode, rather than hybrid sleep.  And when you go to awaken it from its slumbers, it should be fully responsive within a second or two of reactivation – as opposed to the 10-15 seconds after hybrid sleep.