What are Shutdown, Hibernate, Sleep, Log off and When to Use ?

Users can use different ways to shutdown their Computer Systems like Shutdown ( Turn Off ), Sleep, Hibernate

Every mode has its own importance. As Some Users prefers to turn off their computers or Some Users kept them at Sleep mode or Some leave it running alwayswhenever they step away every-time.

What you do ?
And How it affects your Computer System and When to use ?

We will try to find out here in this article which describes these different modes.

There are also some other options like Lock, Switch User, Log off which can be considered for a small duration break.

Shutdown ( Turn off ) :

All Users are familiar with this mode.This turn off your computer system completely.

  • It powers down your computer system in a controlled way.
  • All Open Programs Closes and the Computer shuts down the Operating System.
  • CPUs, RAM and Hard-disk drives are completely powered off.
  • No Power Consumption at all.
  • On again start-up, System boots up, loads the operating system and welcomes on the desktop screen.Restart your needed applications again.

Hibernate :

This option was designed for laptops and might not be available for all PCs.It returns you where you left your work.

  • Computer saves its current state to your hard drive i.e. It stores anything in RAM memory typically to the hard disk drive.
  • It takes longer to resume from Hibernate than Sleep.
  • Hibernate uses much less power than Sleep.
  • On again boot-up, It will load the previous state from your hard drive into its RAM.
  • When the computer comes out of hibernation, it is returned to its previous state and all open applications are restored. 

Hibernation can be used when you know that you won't use your laptop or PC for an extended period and won't able to charge the battery during that time.

Sleep :

It is also known as Standby or Nap mode.It is just similar to Hibernation, it is returned to its previous state when the System is powered up again.

  • Power is used to keep the computer’s state in memory, Sleep reduces the power consumption by stopping the power to the hardware components i.e. peripheral devices, monitor and the hard drive which are not being used.
  • It uses more power than Shutdown or Hibernate.
  • When the Computer is again turned on from Sleep mode, the system will boot quickly and the data will be retrieved from memory in a few seconds. 

Sleep has a main advantage over Hibernation that the Computer takes even less time to go from the sleep state to the ‘fully-on’ state.

You should put the Computer to Sleep If you leave your computer idle for a small amount of time. You can put your computer to sleep to save electricity and battery power.

What are Shutdown, Hibernate, Sleep, Log off Image

Other than these, you can use other options like Lock, Switch user, Log off for a very small period of time as these consumes power.

Lock will locks your system. You can put your computer in Lock mode as it will ask
  for passwords to use.Your system is then password protected and no one
  can access your system without passwords.It is the best way to protect your
  programs and data while you are away from the computer.

Switch User provides you to change different user accounts without actual  
  turning off your computer. You can easily switch between different accounts if
  available or to your own if there is no additional user account. It might ask for
  passwords,if provided.

Log Off shuts down user account only. The machine itself will remain powered on
  and will revert back to the login screen for the next time you or someone else
  logs in.

Restart ( Rebooting ) is when Windows turns your computer off and back on
  again. It saves your information to the hard drive, turns off the computer for a
  moment, then turns it back on again.A restart is typically best when your PC is
  running unusually slow or if a program has locked up as a troubleshooter.

This was all about the different Power modes to shutdown your computer system with some points of when to use them.

Have Fun!


  1. Thanks. Most complete answer/definition of any of the Microsoft Community's multitude of attempts to define the differences.


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