Shut down, Sleep or Hibernate? Which mode to use on laptops

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There are many ways to shut down your PC—you can turn the PC off completely, you can make it sleep, or you can hibernate the PC.

Sleep

This uses very little power, your PC starts up faster, and you’re instantly back to where you left off. You don’t have to worry that you’ll lose your work because of your battery draining, because Windows automatically saves all your work and turns off the PC if the battery is too low. Use sleep when you’re going to be away from your PC for just a little while—like when you’re taking a coffee break. For a lot of PCs (especially laptops and tablets), your PC goes to sleep when you close your lid or press the power button.

  1. Open power options:
    • For Windows 10, select Start , then select Settings  > System  > Power & sleep  > Additional power settings.
    • For Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1, swipe in from the edge of the screen, tap Search (or if you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search), enter Power options in the search box, and then tap or click Power options.
    • For Windows 7, click the Startbutton Start button icon, click Control Panel, click System and Security, and then click Power Options.

Hibernate

This option was designed for laptops and might not be available for all PCs. (For example, PCs with InstantGo don’t have the hibernate option.) Hibernate uses less power than sleep and when you start up the PC again, you’re back to where you left off (though not as fast as sleep). Use hibernation when you know that you won’t use your laptop or tablet for an extended period and won’t have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time. First check to see if this option is available on your PC and if it is, turn it on.
To hibernate your PC:

  1. Open power options:
    • For Windows 10, select Start , then select Settings  > System  > Power & sleep  > Additional power settings.
    • For Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1, swipe in from the edge of the screen, tap Search (or if you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search), enter Power options in the search box, and then tap or click Power options.
    • For Windows 7, click the Start button Start button icon, click Control Panel, click System and Security, and then click Power Options.

Shut down:

The ‘shut down’ option is one we’re all familiar with. It closes all active programs and shuts down your operating system and computer, to a state that consumes almost negligible power. Shutting down your machine also clears your running tasks irrespective of whether you have saved them or not, although you may see prompts asking you to save your work if that’s the case.
However, you may instead want to hibernate or shut down if you want to save power on your laptop or, for desktops, especially if you’re suffering from sudden power cuts.