Have you ever wondered about the words “sleep” and “hibernate” that appear in the menu options when you turn off your computer? They appear on most laptops and desktop PCs and Macs manufactured in the last decade. In fact, there are many ways to save energy when using a computer. 

Many people who want to shut down their computers for the night, just ignore the sleep and hibernate mode options and never use them. That’s too bad because if you are ever away from your computer for a few minutes or a few hours but want to resume your work when you return, these two modes can help you save energy. In fact, any power-saving mode can help save electricity bill if you use it properly. 

What’s the Difference Between Sleep and Hibernate in Windows? 

Sleep mode puts your active files in RAM, which means that the computer needs to use a small amount of energy to keep them there. In hibernate mode, your files are stored on the hard drive and, therefore, are protected against overvoltage. But hibernation mode also uses a little less energy than sleep mode. It is up to you to decide, but laptops are not subject to power surges if they are not connected, so you can opt for sleep mode if you will be out for a short time. Actually, both modes are more useful for laptops to save battery power. Desktop computers do not have the problem of battery power, so you only need to turn them off or use one of the power saving modes if you want to save money on your electricity bill, not to save a non-existent battery. 

How to Put Your Computer In Sleep or Hibernation Mode 

It is simple to put your computer in any of the energy-saving modes. When you click on the power button in the start menu, you will generally see, depending on the version of Windows you are using, a menu that includes four options: sleep, hibernation, shutdown, and restart. You can choose what you want from the menu and the computer will go to the selected mode until you activate it. 

How to Wake Your Computer from Sleep or Hibernation 

Computers have several different activation procedures, all of them simple and fast. First, most computers will wake up from hibernation or suspension when you press the start button on the machine. However, some PCs will wake up when you press any key, move the mouse or on a laptop, simply lift the lid to activate the machine. 

Tips to Save Electricity on Computers 

Fortunately, there are lots of ways, in addition to using “sleep” and “hibernate” to cut down on your PC’s energy use. Yes, the power saving mode of sleep and hibernate can and do cut down on waste, but there’s a lot more you can do to save electricity bill expenses month to month.  

Here are some common, easy ways to save electricity when using a computer: 

  • Turn the brightness down: This method saves a lot of energy but you have to make sure that the screen is bright enough that you can read without straining your eyes. 
  • Use any built-in power-saving features: Most computers have several power-saving features in the Control Panel’s “settings” tab. After you get there, choose something called “power options properties” to adjust multiple items and their energy use levels. 
  • Turn the monitor off when you aren’t using it. There’s no longer a need to use screen-savers, which actually wastes energy. 
  • Buy energy-efficient computers and peripherals, like monitors, extra hard-drives, printers and more. There are many super-efficient items on the market these days and most of them are reasonably priced. 

The Final Verdict 

To answer the question about whether it is best to use hibernate, sleep, hybrid sleep or just turn the computer off, consider the four options: 

  • Sleep: Stores active files on the hard drive, uses very little electricity and works on both laptops and desktop computers. 
  • Hybrid Sleep: Only for desktops, it stores active files in RAM and on the hard drive and uses very little energy. 
  • Hibernate: Deeper than “sleep,” this mode uses less power than any option on this list except for “off.” Hibernate is best if you will be away for an extended period of time and want to get your files back as soon as you get back to the screen. Works on both laptops and desktops. 
  • Off: Off mode uses no electricity and is the best option if you will be away for an extended period and don’t need to get right back to the same files you were working with before. You are protected from power surges in “off.”  

There is no truth in the old myth that turning on or off the computer consumes energy. You can turn it off instead of putting it in hybrid, sleep or hibernation mode at any time. Restarting and shutting down does not use additional power. Think of it as turning off the lights when you leave a room; If you go, you just turn them off. It’s not a big deal. When you return to the room, you turn them on again. 

But if you want to have immediate access to the same files you were previously working on, use sleep or hibernate mode if you are only dating for a while. Sleep is better for short absences and hibernates for longer ones. Don’t worry about the hybrid because your desktop is set to use it by default if it is out for an extended period. It is not used in laptops. 

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