Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Tip of the Week: Deciphering Your Computer’s Power Options

 Granted, you’re probably most interested in your computer when you’re using it. However, it is very important to consider what you do when you walk away based on the list found in the Power section of the Start menu. Let’s go over what each of these options actually does.

Your Options

Opening the Start menu and clicking Power, you’ll most likely see the following options:

  • Sleep
  • Hibernate (subject to the hardware used or any group policies that may be in place)
  • Shut Down
  • Restart

Each option activates a different process that will best serve you in different situations. While Shut Down and Restart should be somewhat obvious—one turns off the system, and the other one completely shuts down all processes and brings them all back up to full power—the two remaining options may be less clear. Let’s review the times you should use these remaining options, Sleep and Hibernate.


When your computer is in Sleep mode it is technically still on, just at an inactive state. This means that resuming work is a speedy and efficient process… once the monitor and peripherals wake up and full power is restored, you’re back in business.

This speed can be attributed to the use of your RAM to store all the data on your system while the computer sleeps. Unfortunately, this method also exposes your data to risk as a loss of power for any reason could wipe this data with no recourse on your part. Make sure you’re regularly saving your progress!


In between putting your computer to sleep and fully shutting it down, Hibernate basically enables you to turn off your computer while still retaining the fast pickup time that sleeping the system offers.

This is done in a similar method as Sleep would, with the exception that the actual drives are used to store your activity and processes instead of RAM. In doing so, your data is more protected, but could easily fill your hard drive with unneeded data.

To revive a device from hibernation, all you must do is press the power button again.

Your Needs Will Dictate What You Use

…or, your organization might. Your options could very well be limited by the hardware installed in the system you use or by your organization’s admin options. Therefore, Hibernate may or may not be an option for you to use.

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