Difference between Sleep, Hybrid Sleep & Hibernation in Windows 10/8/7

Many of us are not familiar with the exact difference between the various power saving modes in a Windows computer like Sleep, Hibernation or Hybrid Sleep. In this article, we will see the difference between these terms.

Sleep vs. Hibernate vs. Hybrid Sleep

Sleep vs Hibernate vs Hybrid Sleep

Sleep is a power-saving state that allows a computer to quickly resume full-power operation (typically within several seconds) when you want to start working again.

Putting your computer into the sleep state is like pausing a DVD player; the computer immediately stops what itโ€™s doing and is ready to start again when you want to resume working. Yoy can read about the different System Sleep States here.

Hibernation is a power-saving state designed primarily for laptops.

While sleep puts your work and settings in memory and draws a small amount of power, hibernation puts your open documents and programs on your hard disk and then turns off your computer. Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power. On a laptop, use hibernation when you know that you won’t use your laptop for an extended period and won’t have an opportunity to charge the battery during that time.

Hybrid sleep is designed primarily for desktop computers. Hybrid sleep is a combination of sleep and hibernate; it puts any open documents and programs in memory and on your hard disk and then puts your computer into a low-power state so that you can quickly resume your work. That way, if a power failure occurs, Windows can restore your work from your hard disk. When hybrid sleep is turned on, putting your computer into sleep automatically puts your computer into hybrid sleep.

Hybrid sleep is typically turned on by default on desktop computers and off by default on laptops. You will be able to see the settings under Power Options > Advanced settings.

Hope this clears up things.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. selig

    usefull stuff guys….not many ppl know the difference btw the 2…..

  2. John

    How do you know if the PC is using hybrid sleep or sleep?

  3. Dromer

    You can usually check in the Advanced Power Options under Sleep.

  4. Leo

    Umm…I use hibernation every night. My computer hibernates after six hours of sleep. And I would say that hibernation fills almost the exact same role as hybrid sleep, except the computer actually comes back to life faster, for some reason. And also…when you use hybrid sleep it seems the computer actually moves everything back from the HD to memory, no matter what…so it takes a long time to use and will be quite slow at that time, so it really can’t be used. Hibernation takes a little time to “boot”, but the computer is usable almost immediately when you’re logged in.

    So thanks.

  5. BOB

    want to set laptop to sleep rather than hybrinate

  6. armchairnavigator

    >> Hybrid sleep is a combination of sleep and hibernate
    you dumdum – hybrid sleep is no different to hibernate – they both allow you to pull the power from a system in sleep mode without causing any problems.

  7. me

    Why wouldn’t we want to have the computer shut down? My apple had a setting where I could pick what time it shut down every night (automatically). Why can’t I have my windows computer shut down?

  8. Sarah Lasair Berry

    Seriously? If you’re going to quote the Microsoft article word-for-word, you should say so beforehand, and at least put it in a blockquote of sorts.

  9. V So

    Amazing that the experts fail in this miserably. Get a proper technical education. There are more than one kind of sleep in Windoze. Most often which kind of sleep your Windoze OS ends up dependents on many factors. While hibernate used to be one good deep sleep option, it is not very useful for desktop. Hibernate is very useful for notebook, say you are boarding a long plane flight. There is “active” sleep and real sleep. Active sleep typically do not switch power off the CPU, and your power saving is very limited. Sleep that switch off the CPU and all I/Os are most useful. In this sleep state (S3) the only thing that consumes power is the DRAM (to keep them in self-refresh), and the special DRAM power well of the chipset. The benefit of this sleep state over hibernate is very fast resume from sleep. The time you will opt of hibernate is if you have a laptop and want to conserve your battery charge.

  10. Russell88

    It seems I had to shutdown hybrid sleep on my Windows 10 PC, which I did not know existed, because it suddenly appeared to be putting my PC into that state when the PC was left alone, seemingly for a relatively short time, some minutes, after I stepped away from the keyboard to do something. Once I figured out that hybrid sleep was a thing, I have searched for a way to make Windows 10 wait longer for my PC to be not in active use before shifting to hybrid sleep mode but found nothing. So I shut down hybrid sleep and haven’t had that issue ever since. I always shutdown the computer and did not intend to use hybrid sleep which is why when it started to happen it unnerved me.

  11. Don Essig

    All I know is that now with upgrade to Win 10 when my computer goes to sleep (not sure what form or state it is now) it does not wake up with mouse or keyboard input anymore, have to hit power switch. Fast wake up, but annoying none-the-less.

  12. One question. When in Hybrid Sleep mode? Does the HDD turned off or still drain electrical current? Anyone?

  13. I want to read the article...

    It keeps scrolling me down to the comment section and wont stop doing so.

  14. Jacob

    My supervisory firm requires me to set my computer (laptop) to turn off completely – requiring a push of the on/off button if I have not used it or touched a key or the mouse every 15 minutes. I am assuming from the above info that this will require a Hibernation setting change to 15 mins. My Windows 10 Pro upgrade set it to never. So odd! Does anyone know if this is correct?

  15. Yurie Katsuragi

    wow i never thought about a 2011 article will help me now ahahaha
    i seriously didnt know about that hybrid sleep ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. DJ JB

    Hibernation is a great feature for desktop computers that are not connected to a UPS. This way, if you walk away from your station without saving work and there is an unexpected power outage, you will not lose your work. The hybrid sleep can also be an option to resume faster, as it backs up the memory onto the hard drive.

    On a laptop, you will have power all the time, so sleep (stand-by) mode can actually be a great option to very quickly turn off most power-consuming parts and being able to turn it back on very quickly. Disabling hybrid sleep in the power settings makes sure your laptop can go to sleep in seconds instead of taking sometimes a full minute to back up the memory first.

    If you don’t need your laptop for a longer time and need to conserve as much battery power as possible, either save your work and shut down completely (healthy to do anyway every now and then) or use hibernation.

    Your employer probably wants your laptop to go to stand-by mode after 15 minutes to make sure that it will prompt for your login credentials when you want to use it again. This to make sure nobody else (especially unauthorized people) can take advantage of your absence to gain access to sensitive files.

  17. DJ JB

    Hybrid sleep and regular sleep will consume the same amount of energy. If you want to save energy, use hibernation mode, which will switch your pc off 100% (you can even unplug it from the power source) and you’ll still be able to resume work afterwards.

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