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Often I have a lot of stuff open and don't feel like shutting down my laptop, so I just use sleep mode when I'm transferring it. But I have no idea if this might have any disadvantages.

So my question is: is it bad to put your computer in sleep mode every time?

Things I'm wondering:

  • Should I turn off my computer every once in a while?
  • Will continuous use of sleep mode slow down my system in any way?
  • Are there any bad side effects (in the long term)?

Any thoughts?

FYI I'm using Windows 7 on a laptop

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8 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

One other negative point is that the laptop will still be consuming a small amount of battery while in sleep mode.

Hibernation is another other option to consider which would completely power it down - yet still allow you to resume exactly where you were when you hibernated it.

Control Panel -> Power Options -> Change Plan Settings -> Change Advanced Power settings -> Sleep -> Allow hybrid sleep (<-- you could also go into the command prompt and type powercfg -h on)

Once those settings have applied, you can go into Power Buttons and Lid in that same dialog box and set it to Hibernate.

Some system processes and applications end up hogging resources and the only way to release it is to restart.

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On the negative side, Hibernation takes a long time to restore. And also demands a lot of free disk space. Sleep mode is perfect when you want to move your laptop for short distances and want quick access. Different scenarios, different uses basically. –  pavsaund Aug 24 '09 at 7:30
    
Also Hibernation helps save electricity, and in a small way positively affect your wallet/planet. –  wonea Nov 16 '12 at 11:33
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Sleep is often not well supported amongst drivers, as a result, your computer might be less stable.

For example, my video hang problem seems more likely to occur after a sleep cycle...

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My graphics card drivers sometimes fail after many sleeps. Though I rarely ever shutdown my PC. looking at these answers im going to enable hibernation. –  Doomsknight May 24 '12 at 15:22
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In Windows I always prefer to reboot my computer once in a while. Usually after updates...

Remember servers does rarely reboot/shutdown, and they don't have any ill effects of this. Of course some badly designed software or device driver may have a memoryleak that is 'reset' during a reboot, but I guess thats pretty rare for a running system.

Any long term effects that isn't fixed by a reboot is rather unlikely...

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it's better when you don't need to restart or shutdown your system put it in sleep mode and just restart it when you want update system or some of your service need restart. but if you don't update your system and don't have much service on your system every once in a while restart it your self for release of memory and ... .

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Sleep mode is basically for when you need to move the laptop briefly. However, if you keep your laptop in sleep overnight or for long periods of time, say, more than three hours a day, the long term effect is that most batteries get damaged or experience reduced lifetime. This is due to continuous use while in sleep mode, though the power consumed is negligibly small.

I have over time realised that graphics drivers misbehaving on resuming may sometimes even cause a black screen when you plug and unplug the charger rather than brighten and dim the screen, respectively. Other undesirable effects include the lifespan of your RAM being reduced due to constantly holding charges even when the machine is not in use. I would suggest that you use hibernation instead for long periods.

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could you please review your post and add Capitalization and line breaks. Because your current answer is hardly legible. –  Ivo Flipse Jul 24 '11 at 12:56
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I've fixed it, but I disagree with this post. A continuous low load on the battery does not significantly reduce its lifespan. Smart batteries that monitor themselves continuously don't experience significantly shorter life than "dumb" batteries even though the monitoring circuity consumes a very small amount of power continuously. Furthermore, the statement on the lifespan of RAM being shortened by continuous operation is not much more than speculation. –  DragonLord Jul 28 '11 at 2:05
    
Is there any data to support one or the other argument here then? –  Kissaki Nov 24 '12 at 9:01
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It should cause no problems. I usually put my computer to sleep all the time and it works, giving only minor problems.

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The reason why I do reboot from time to time is that some softwares need to the reboot to complete their updates (aside from the obvious Windows Updates which insist heavily for you to reboot).

Aside from that, I did not see any negative side-effect to maintain a long Windows (Vista in my case) uptime through sleep mode cycles.

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According to me, it is best to put the computer in Hibernate mode:

  • Does not consume the battery.
  • You can recover your work as soon as you log in.

The disadvantage of putting the PC into sleep mode:

  • Most of the times you may not remember putting your PC to sleep, then it will spend whole battery and will instantly be giving the warning of putting your PC to wall power in order that to be charged.
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Sleep allows you to “recover your work as soon as you log in” as well, doesn’t it? :) –  Kissaki Nov 24 '12 at 9:03
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