Shut Down, Sleep, vs Hibernate: Difference and Comparison

The most prominent part of a computer system is its operating system. It looks after the memory and data management of the system.

In a computer or laptop system, numerous options are available that are used for saving power of the computer or laptop system.

Few of these options available in the computer systems are shut down, sleep and hibernate

Key Takeaways

  1. Shutting down powers off the computer completely, closing all applications and processes, while sleep and hibernate modes preserve the system’s state for quick resumption.
  2. Sleep mode uses more power than hibernate mode, as it maintains RAM content, while hibernate mode saves the system’s state to the hard disk and powers off.
  3. Hibernate mode is slower to resume than sleep mode but is more suitable for extended periods of inactivity.

Shut Down vs Sleep vs Hibernate

Shutdown turns off the computer completely, while sleep saves its current state in RAM and reduces power consumption. Hibernate also saves the state, but to the hard drive, and shuts down the computer. Hibernate consumes less power than sleep, restoring the computer to its initial state.

Shut Down vs Sleep vs Hibernate

Shut down mode in a computer or laptop is used to close the running software programs in the background in need to turn off your computer or laptop.

Being a part of the procedure of shutting down a computer or laptop, the closure of the operating system is the last program. 

When the laptop or computer enters sleep mode, the supply of power to inessential programs or software applications is restricted.

Random Access Memory (RAM) access maintains the state of the computer.

Hibernation is alternatively known as a smart battery.

When the laptop or computer enters into hibernate mode, it maintains its previous files, and other data when it powers down the system.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonShut DownSleepHibernate
Applicability The shutdown mode can be instantly applied to your device.The sleep mode can be instantly applied to your device.This power-saving mode takes time to be applied.
Working of ComputerOnce shut down, your system does not perform any function and does not even use electricity. After entering sleep mode, your system still performs basic functions. Once entering Hibernating mode, your system does not perform any function and does not even use electricity.
Work storage Your work is not saved anywhere on the system. Your work is automatically saved in RAM. Your work is automatically saved on the hard disk.
Alternative NamesDo not own any alternative names. Sometimes referred to as standby, suspend mode or suspend to RAM mode.Hibernate is also known as suspend to disk.

What is Shut Down? 

The experts highly recommend properly shutting the computer or laptop to prevent data corruption. The early laptops or computers did not have the capability of turning off themselves.

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However, over time the feature of turning themselves off was added to the computers and laptops.

As the early computers were not capable of turning off themselves thus Windows 98 used to pop up a message it’s now safe to turn off your computer.

A computer or laptop should preferably shut down when you and everyone else in your home are done with the work that is to be done on your computer or laptop.

There are shortcuts keys also available that let you shut down your laptop or computer in a shorter period.

However, the availability of shortcut options is supported by the operating system that you use.

Microsoft Windows users can use the shortcut ALT+F4 for shutting down the windows.

Then press ‘Enter’ to shut down your computer or laptop. Apple macOS users can shut down their computer or laptop by using CTRL + OPTION + COMMAND + EJECT BUTTON.

Turning off the computer without shutting it down, turning it off while it’s frozen, and while a blackout takes place in the computer are some examples that depict an improper shutdown.

What is Sleep? 

In this mode, just the necessary amount of power is supplied to RAM so that it can hold on to the data stored in the computer or laptop.

When laptops and computers face inactivity for a certain period they tend to enter sleep mode.

Laptops and computers slip into sleep mode when they are closed.

Laptops and computers tend to exit sleep mode when they face some kind of activity such as pressing any button present on a laptop, moving of mouse, opening the laptop lid, etc.

However, not all computers and laptops are the same.

You shall not worry about losing your work due to the draining of the battery of the laptop or computer as the laptops and computers turn themselves off when the battery is very low

and only when the Windows automatically saves all your work done.

Whenever you exit your laptop or computer from sleep mode you’ll be able to resume your work from wherever you left.

However, the sleep mode can result in overloading on RAM of your laptop or computer. 

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What is Hibernate? 

Before the system of the laptop or computer shuts down the current system of the laptop is saved from the RAM of the laptop to its hard drive.

Thus, when the system is turned back on by the user, he or she can resume with the state of the laptop which was before the habilitation mode was turned on.

The habilitation mode tends to save the power of the laptop at a more efficient rate than the sleep mode.

This is because as the system is entirely turned off, thus there would be no electricity usage taking place as if the system is shut down.

The usage of the hibernation mode may sometimes lead to faulty operations in the software programs of the system upon restarting the laptop or computer.

The option of hibernation was majorly designed for laptops thus it would not be able to apply to all computers.

You may use the option of hibernation when you won’t make use of your laptop for a quite long time and you wouldn’t have a chance to charge up your laptop at some point in time.

The mode of hibernation was implemented in 1992 for the first time.

However, in 2020, Windows 10 of Microsoft gives access to hibernation by default when shutting down of computers takes place. 

Main Differences Between Shut Down, Sleep and Hibernate

  1. Shut down and Hibernate mode, both are less convenient than Sleep mode. 
  2. Shut down and Hibernate, both the modes are much more efficient than Sleep mode as it saves the least power when turned on.  
  3. Shutting down your laptop or computer means that you won’t be able to directly access the part of a system where you left, however, in sleep or hibernate mode you can. 
  4. In Shut down and hibernate mode, the system uses no power however, in Sleep mode, the system does use the power. 
  5. Shut down and hibernate mode, can be used by the user when he or she will not be working on the system, however, sleep mode can only be turned on when the user won’t be using the system for a shorter period. 

Last Updated : 15 July, 2023

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