Computer hibernation is nothing but an energy saving mode that saves power by switching the system off, in a way that the current state of the computer is saved to the hard drive, so that no files are lost, even when the computer is shut down. When again, the user turns on the system, every information that was saved is easily read by the hard disk, thereby restoring every file and folder used, before the system went onto the hibernating mode.
How to Activate and Deactivate It?
Hibernation saves an image of your desktop with all the files and documents that are open, thereby powering down your computer. It is because of this power management mode that it is possible to save computer batteries, without consuming time to shut all your files, and then shutting down and restarting it all over. For those who live working on their computers, this option helps in retaining all their work, without having them shut down, and lose important unclosed files. The best thing about the Windows operating system is that it automatically puts your computer into the hibernating mode, after a particular amount of time, so that no extra power is consumed if you are not on the desk for long. In order to install its settings, all you need to do is to go to Control Panel, and select Power Options. Then, click on the Hibernate tab, select Enable hibernate support check box, and then Apply.
Now, every time you leave your computer for a while, you just need to select the Shut Down option from the Start menu, wherein the dropdown list of What do you want the computer to do will appear. You just need to select the Hibernate option, and your computer will get in the respective mode, till the next time you turn the system power on. If this process seems long to you, there is a shortcut key to those using Windows XP Professional or Home Edition. After you have enabled it on your system from the Control Panel, you just need to click on the Shut Down button, where it will prompt you to Turn Off, Restart, or Stand By. You need to hold down the Shift key, and click on Stand By. Your computer will enter this mode.
For those using Windows Vista, its activation is comparatively easier. Go to the Start menu, and type in cmd. When the command prompt opens, type in powercfg/hibernate on. Press Enter, and shut the screen. This will put your computer in hibernation mode. However, for a computer stuck in it, there is a similar, but a proper command that you need to enter. Click on the Start menu, and type in cmd. When the command prompt program opens, type in powercfg/hibernate off. When you shut the screen, it becomes unavailable.
Computer Hibernation vs. Sleep vs. Standby
Sleep is another power-saving mode that enables the computer to resume its full power functioning instantly. It is like pausing a CD player, while you are bored of a song, and then again resuming it, playing it again within a matter of seconds. On the other hand, hibernation, a requisite for laptop computers in most cases, uses some space of your hard disk to save the open files and folders, thereby turning the computer system off. This is not the case with Sleep.
When the computer is put onto sleep mode, your system does consume some power. This contributes to the main difference between the two. Akin to the sleep option in Vista and Windows 7, when comparing it with standby, the same fact holds true for Windows XP as it owns the Standby option. However, the biggest drawback of Sleep and Standby options is that, as soon as the power goes off, you lose all your data, which in case of hibernation is not lost.