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Hibernate vs. Standby: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 28, 2023
Hibernate saves the system's state to disk and powers off, while standby saves the state to RAM and uses minimal power.

Key Differences

Hibernate and standby are both power-saving modes used in computers, but they operate differently. Hibernate saves the current state of the system, including all open programs and documents, to the hard drive. Once this data is saved, the computer fully shuts down. When you turn the computer back on, it reads the saved state from the disk and restores everything as it was. Standby, on the other hand, saves the system's current state to RAM, which requires a small amount of power to maintain.
Standby is quicker than hibernate since accessing data from RAM is faster than accessing it from a hard drive. When a computer is put into standby, it enters a low-power state, but it doesn't completely turn off. This means that while in standby, there's a minimal power draw to keep the data in RAM, but it's significantly less than the power used during regular operation. Hibernate doesn't use any power once it's activated, as the computer is entirely off.
One advantage of hibernate over standby is that hibernate ensures no data loss even if the battery drains or the system is disconnected from power. Since hibernate saves the state to the disk, the information remains intact until the user powers on the system again. Standby, however, relies on a continuous power supply to RAM, and if that supply is interrupted, the saved state can be lost.
In terms of longevity and wear, hibernate may put slightly more wear on the hard drive over time since it requires reading from and writing to the disk every time it's used. Standby, preserving the system state in RAM, doesn't involve the hard drive and thus avoids this potential wear.

Comparison Chart

Power Usage

No power usage after activation
Minimal power to maintain RAM

State Saved To

Hard drive


Slower due to disk read/write
Faster due to RAM access

Risk of Data Loss

Low (state saved on disk)
Higher if power supply is interrupted

Wear and Longevity

Potential wear on hard drive over time
No wear on hard drive

Hibernate and Standby Definitions


Hibernate involves completely shutting down the computer after saving the state.
When I hibernate my PC, it turns off but can quickly resume where I left off.


Standby is a mode where the computer uses minimal power while maintaining the state in RAM.
I put my computer on standby during lunch breaks to quickly resume work afterward.


Hibernate is a power-saving mode where the system's state is saved to the hard drive.
I usually let my laptop hibernate overnight to conserve battery.


Standby avoids wear on the hard drive since it doesn't involve disk operations.
Frequent use of standby is less taxing on my laptop's SSD.


Hibernate ensures no data loss even if the power source is interrupted.
Using hibernate is useful during power outages, as all my work remains intact.


Standby requires a continuous power supply to keep the RAM active.
If there's a sudden power cut while my PC is on standby, I might lose my unsaved work.


Hibernate can be slower than other power-saving modes due to disk operations.
I noticed that waking up from hibernate takes a bit longer than from standby.


Standby ensures a faster wake-up time compared to other power-saving modes.
Standby is my go-to option when I need a short break from my tasks.


Hibernate reduces power consumption to virtually zero after activation.
To save on my electricity bill, I often hibernate my desktop when not in use.


Standby is ideal for short durations of inactivity.
For short interruptions, I usually leave my computer on standby.


To be in a dormant or torpid state during a cold period, especially during the winter.


One that can always be relied on, as in an emergency.


What does hibernate mean in computing?

Hibernate is a power-saving mode where the system's state is saved to the hard drive, and the computer fully shuts down.

Is there a way to disable either hibernate or standby?

Yes, most operating systems allow users to disable or enable hibernate and standby through power settings.

Does hibernate affect the lifespan of an SSD?

Frequent hibernations involve write operations to the SSD, which over a long time might slightly reduce its lifespan.

Does standby use any power at all?

Yes, standby uses minimal power to maintain the system's state in RAM.

Which mode is better for the longevity of the computer's components, hibernate or standby?

Standby avoids wear on the hard drive, while hibernate involves disk operations, which may cause slight wear over time.

How does standby differ from hibernate in power usage?

While hibernate uses no power after activation, standby maintains a minimal power supply to keep the RAM active.

Can a computer recover from standby without any power source?

No, if the power to RAM is interrupted during standby, the computer's state can be lost.

Can you schedule a computer to go into hibernate or standby at specific times?

Yes, many operating systems and third-party tools allow scheduling of power-saving modes.

Is there wear and tear associated with using hibernate often?

Yes, frequent use of hibernate may put slight wear on the hard drive over time due to disk operations.

Why might someone choose hibernate over standby?

Hibernate is ideal for longer durations of inactivity or when there's a risk of power interruptions, ensuring no data loss.

Can both hibernate and standby be configured in power settings?

Yes, most modern operating systems allow users to configure both hibernate and standby in power settings.

Is hibernate always available on all computers?

Not necessarily. Some systems, especially older ones or those with specific configurations, might not support hibernation.

Is there any risk of data corruption when using hibernate?

Generally, hibernate is safe. However, like any disk operation, there's a slight risk of data corruption, especially during power fluctuations.

Why don't servers typically use standby?

Servers need to be readily accessible, making standby unsuitable as it involves a pause in operation.

Which mode, hibernate or standby, is better for overnight use?

Hibernate is generally recommended for overnight use as it consumes no power and ensures no data loss.

Which mode is more energy-efficient, hibernate or standby?

Hibernate is more energy-efficient as it uses no power after activation, while standby maintains a minimal power draw.

Is hibernate or standby faster for resuming work?

Standby is generally faster due to data being stored in RAM, while hibernate requires reading from the disk.

Can a computer on standby turn off completely?

No, a computer on standby remains in a low-power state but doesn't shut down completely.

How does standby affect laptop battery life?

While standby uses minimal power, it can drain a laptop battery over extended periods, especially if many applications are open.

Which mode, hibernate or standby, ensures no data loss during power interruptions?

Hibernate ensures no data loss as the state is saved on the disk, while standby might lose data if power to RAM is interrupted.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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