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How to Enable or Disable Hibernation in Windows 7

Windows 7 provides power saving features in the shutdown options. If you do not want to shut down your computer (you just want to step off your computer temporarily), windows gives you the sleep and hibernation feature to save power while you are away. You can go to the hibernation or sleep mode directly from your start menu, under the power options.

Hibernation is a power-saving state designed primarily for laptops but is available for other PCs too. By default, if you leave your computer unattended for too long, it will turn off the screen and some hardware (e.g. USB, Wi-Fi) and go to sleep mode to save power. If it stays in sleep mode for too long, it will save all your data into a system file and then power down. This is the hibernation mode, and it does not need your computer to be powered anymore. Unlike the sleep mode, it will take you longer to get out of the hibernation mode, but still faster than booting the computer. The combination of the sleep mode and hibernation mode is known as hybrid sleep setting.

There is a hidden system file named Hiberfil.sys located in the root folder of the drive where the operating system is installed. The Windows Kernel Power Manager reserves this file when you install Windows. The size of this file is approximately equal to how much random access memory (RAM) is installed on the computer. So if you have a 4GB RAM the Hiberfil.sys file will be between 2 and 4GB depending on the data stored in it. The computer uses the Hiberfil.sys file to store a copy of the system memory on the hard disk when the hybrid sleep setting is turned on such that everything that is loaded to the RAM will not be lost. If the Hiberfil.sys file is not present, the computer cannot hibernate.

You can view if the Hiberfil.sys file is present by going to.

  1. Open my computer and go to local disk (c:)
  2. On the top left corner, click on organize, and select ‘folder and search options’
  3. Go to the view tab
  4. From the advanced options, go to hidden files and folders and select ‘Show Hidden files folders and files’
  5. Also uncheck the ‘Hide protected operating system files’
  6. Click apply then OK

If the hybrid sleep setting is on, you will be able to see the Hiberfil.sys file on the root of your operating system drive.

It is obvious that hibernation uses a substantial amount of your hard disk space, and if you are someone that is bent on saving time, hibernating can cost you a little. So how do you disable hibernation such that your computer will never hibernate? This article describes how to disable and then re-enable hibernation on a computer that is running Windows.

Method 1: Disable and enable hibernation using command prompt

Using command prompt, we can disable hibernation. You will need an administrator account for this operation since you will have to run command prompt as an administrator.

To Disable Hibernation

  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box. (Don’t use run since it won’t allow you to run as an administrator.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt or CMD, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. When you are prompted by User Account Control, click Continue.
  4. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off, and then press Enter.
  5. Type exit, and then press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

From the system root, you will notice that the Hiberfil.sys file is no longer available.

To Enable Hibernation

  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt or CMD, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. When you are prompted by User Account Control, click Continue.
  4. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate on, and then press Enter.
  5. Type exit, and then press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

From the system root, you will notice that the Hiberfil.sys file is now available

Method 2: Use Registry Edit to enable and disable hibernate

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog, type regedit, and hit enter.
  2. In registry edit window, navigate to the location below.HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power
  3. In the right pane of the Power key, double click on HibernateEnabled, and do step 4 or 5 below for what you would like to do
  4. To enable hibernation type in 1 (one) in the value data box, and click OK.
  5. To disable hibernation type 0 (zero) in the value data box and click OK
  6. Restart your PC for effect to take place

Method 3: Turn Hibernate On or Off in Advanced Power Options

  1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog, type powercfg.cpl, and click on OK.
  2. From your current power plan (shown as selected by a radio button), click on change plan settings.
  3. In the next window, click on change advanced power settings
  4. To enable hibernation, you first have to use method 1 or 2 to enable hibernation (if you had previously disabled hibernation using these methods) otherwise these options will be grayed out.
  5. From the advanced power options settings, expand the Sleep option
  6. Under Hibernate after, set the Setting (Minutes) to how many minutes you want your computer to sit idle for before it goes into hibernation
  7. Click on Apply, then OK
  8. To Turn Off Hibernate
  9. From the Advanced Power Plan Settings for your power plan, expand the Sleep option
  10. Under Hibernate after, set the Setting (Minutes) to Never
  11. Under Allow hybrid sleep, set Setting to Off.
  12. Click on Apply, then OK

If your PC or laptop changes power plans, you need to do this for the other plan. Laptops always switch power plans depending on whether the AC is plugged in or not.

Of all the power-saving states in Windows, hibernation uses the least amount of power (virtually no power is used in this mode). 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. You may lose data if you make hibernation unavailable and a power loss occurs while the hybrid sleep setting is turned on. Remember, when you make hibernation unavailable, hybrid sleep does not work.

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Expert Tip

How to Enable or Disable Hibernation in Windows 7

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