Ever noticed the start-up times in windows, which can be pretty disappointing? Ever faced a situation when you had to power down your system amidst some important work owing to a power failure? Or did you ever kill your system (and the associated task in it) because it is just too late to go but felt it was too slow? Saddening, isn’t it? Fortunately, there are solutions. Known solutions, but used less often.
Everyone, I presume, reading this must have come across it as a power option as well as a key on the keyboard to do this. And that is our magic charm. So, the question arises, how? And here’s the answer. According to the original AC-PI Implementation standard, the standard of power management in personal computers, “Sleep Mode” is a low power state, where power supply to components deemed non-essential such as network and graphics cards, USB, hard disks and other drives are halted and a small amount of power is used to keep the contents of the RAM alive. When the system is brought to normal again, you start from right where you have left your computer i.e., with all program windows open in the same state as they were. But unfortunately, this requires the system to remain connected to mains (or batteries). This is mostly preferable on laptops. Sleep mode uses a very little power so that isn’t so battery intensive. Moreover, the operating system automatically hibernates if the batteries begin to drain out, ensuring no data loss.
As opposed to sleep mode, hibernation does not require you to keep your system connected to the mains supply (or batteries). Also called as Suspend to disk, in this method, the entire RAM is copied into the hard disk with all programs and documents intact. Just like the sleep mode, when the system is brought back to normal, the content is restored as the system resumes just as you left it. However, this causes the resume process to lengthen a bit, depends on the size of RAM and the number of running programs. But this is significantly less that the time required for a fresh start-up after a full system shutdown. You can use this if you are certain that you are not going to use your system for a large period of time. This option can be used both on laptops and desktops.
Since Windows Vista, a new feature called “Hybrid Sleep” has been introduced which combines the benefit of Sleep and Hibernate. Designed specifically for desktops, the hybrid sleep mode keeps the memory contents alive as well as stores the RAM content to hard drives, allowing almost instantaneous resumes and meanwhile allowing the user to power off the system. When the system is kept powered, the contents are retained and you can resume your session within seconds. While resuming from disk after a power down, it takes under a minute. By using this, you can see that the shut down as well as the start-up times reduce dramatically. Beginning with Windows 8, hybrid sleep has become the default power off mechanism, facilitating faster system start-ups.
Sleep and Hibernate are available as normal power options in the start menu. In XP and below, it is available in the shutdown dialog. In Vista, Windows 7 and 8, the Sleep is available as a power option in the shutdown menu, accessible clicking the arrow next to the “Shutdown” button in start menu or the user menu in the start screen for Windows 8. A thing to note is that, these options are not available unless all your hardware support these AC-PI power states. Newer systems usually do but some older graphics cards and drives do not. Also, in Vista and above, the “Hibernate” option is hidden when “Hybrid Sleep” is enabled. It is needless as the same functionality is already clubbed with Sleep.
Some things to consider
- “Sleep” and “Hibernate” keeps the session in logged in state. If you want to secure your computer, you will need to enable “Require password on wake” option available in the “Power options” of the control panel.
- You require at least a free space of about 75% of RAM size for “Hibernate” and “Hybrid Sleep” to function properly. Otherwise, you will not be able to suspend to disk. So, if your drive is running low on space, try some disk cleanup tools or a dedicated cleaner.
- If you face problems in resuming the system after hibernation, start the system in safe-mode or boot an alternate OS like a Linux Live and delete the hiberfil.sys in system directory. However, you will not be able to recover your lost data.
- There are some considerations of data safety and privacy while suspending to disk. The hiberfil.sys file can easily be analyzed and converted into a full memory dump, acting as a snapshot of your actions. Mal-ware and other evil things can then use this data for malicious purposes such as passwords and other personally identifiable information stealing.
There are many in-build and third-party tools available to mitigate these problems. Nevertheless, Sleep and Hibernate are great ways to quickly get you up and going. And if your computer is lagging, then you may also want to try these optimization tips for Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows XP. Stay tuned to Blogzamana for more exciting tips on computers.