Sleep vs Hibernate vs Shut Down vs Log Off

Here you’ll find exact differences between sleep vs hibernate and shut down vs log off. I’ve always wondered what is the difference between them. I just knew that these modes save a lot of electrical power compared to leaving a device fully on when you are away. So I did some research and found their functionalities. After using each one of them, here I’ve put the data together.

‘Sleep’ and ‘Hibernate’ are almost similar. You use ‘Sleep’ when you are away from your computer for a short time (5-15 minutes) whereas you use ‘Hibernate’ when you are away for a long time ( above 20 minutes). Read this article to find out when to use them and how they affect your computer…

When To Use 'Sleep' ?

‘Sleep’ is to be used when you are away from your laptop for 5 to 15 and you want your work to be on your computer when you come back.  

Using ‘Sleep’, your computer places the RAM into a minimum power state, sufficient enough to retain its data.

 Many laptops automatically enter this mode when the lid is closed. You can change the settings if you desire.

When To Use 'Hibernate' ?

Hibernating saves all your working data on the hard disk before shutting off.

Your data remains intact and appears again when switching the computer back.

Hibernating saves the computer’s state on the hard disk, which requires no power to maintain, whereas ‘Sleep’ saves the computer’s state in RAM, which requires a small amount of power to maintain.

Hibernation has its limit. I’ve found that after hibernating my computer 7 to 8 times consecutively, I cannot hibernate anymore because my computer needs to update.

When To Use 'Shut Down' ?

When you ‘Shut Down’, only your internal clock retains power. Whereas your CPU, RAM, and hard disk drive are powered down which shuts off your running programs. Because of this, it is used when you have finished and saved your work on the computer or your computer needs to update itself.

Of course, ‘Shut Down’ saves a lot of electrical power when compared to ‘Hibernate’ or ‘Sleep’.

When To Use 'Log Off' ?

‘Log Off’ is used when using a shared computer like in school or offices. When you ‘Log Off’, you are shutting down your user account only but the computer stays ‘On’. The screen will revert back to the login screen when you or someone else log in afterward.


Now I am sure you know the exact differences between each one of them – sleep vs hibernate, and shutdown vs log off.

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