When you leave your Windows 10 computer, it's important to ensure it's not simply left powered on. There's no need to add unnecessary charges to your electric bill. If you're going to come back to it soon you probably don't want to simply shut it down completely. �You'll then have to wait for it to boot back up. Luckily, you don't have to.

In this blog post, we're going to cover the Windows 10 hibernate vs. sleep debate and see which one is best for you.

Sleep and hibernation are not new to Windows but, in Windows 10, you will find the settings are tucked away in a different place and you will also find a few new settings in there as well.

Sleep Settings

You'll want to use Windows 10's sleep mode when you're going to be away from your computer for a short while. Sleep mode forces your computer to enter a low-power state than when brought back up, will resume wherever you left off.

To access sleep settings, type in "power options" into the Windows 10 search bar. You will then see the Power Options control panel come up as the Best match.

Power Options

This will bring you to a place where you can choose your power plan. Your power plan is essentially a grouping of settings that dictate how your Windows 10 computer behaves when trying to conserve power. From this screen, you can either modify the default power plans or create your own.

Choosing a power plan

Depending on which power plan you pick, depends on how the sleep and hibernation settings are applied. For now, I'm just going to change the effective power plan to High performance and tweak its sleep settings.

I'll click on change plan settings to customize the High performance power plan.

High performance

Once I'm in the settings screen, I can then specify how long the computer is idle until it goes to sleep.

Setting sleep time

However, if you click on Change advanced power settings, you'll be able to then modify sleep activity from wake timers. Wake timers are various events that can be set sometimes by scheduled tasks that will wake up your computer at specific intervals. Here, you can specify to ignore all wake timers or only important wake timers.

Setting a wake timer

Hibernation Settings

If you intend to be away from your Windows 10 computer for an extended amount of time you might choose to enable hibernation. Hibernation was designed for laptops and uses less power than sleep mode as it saves your current settings in a file onto your computer.

To see if your computer supports hibernation, you can go to the Power options control panel applet again and again into the advanced settings as you did with sleep settings. From here though, when you click on the Sleep category, you will see a Hibernate after option with a setting to specify total minutes to wait until hibernation.

Enabling hibernation

If you don't see this option, your computer may not support hibernation mode. You will probably not see this if you are on a desktop.

Finally, if your computer does support hibernation you have the option to hibernate when you click on Power in the Windows 10 start menu. However, it's not enabled by default.

No Hibernate button

To enable this option, head into Power options again and this time choose Choose what the power button does.

Changing power button options

Next, click on Change settings that are currently unavailable.

You should then have the option to check Hibernate.

Enabling the Hibernate button

Once you do this, you'll then have the option to hibernate your laptop on the Power button menu.

How to hibernate


As you can see, sleep and hibernation settings in Windows 10 are similar to previous versions but are just found a little differently. You'll just have to navigate through some menus but, in the long run, the hibernate vs. sleep debate will still go undecided.

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