When my new Dell laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium and 4GB RAM sleeps (not when it hibernates), it will drain the battery overnight.
My old Dell laptop with XP Pro (2 GB RAM) could sleep for days without running out of battery.

Is it normal that Windows 7 sleep is this power-hungry or should I troubleshoot my new machine?

Edit: I know how to set the different sleep/hibernate settings. That is not what I'm asking.


According to the Windows 7 Sleep/Hibernate FAQ, it's recommended that you use hibernation for laptops. You might want to try this for an evening and see if it drains less power. There's also additional info here:


  • I'm aware of this. The question is whether the amount of battery used by non-hibernation sleep is normal. Waking up from hibernation drives me crazy, as it feels just as slow to reload the memory as starting up cold. – Niklas Jan 11 '11 at 17:18
  • On the link provided by @w7pro, it states Sleep requires an extremely small amount of power. If your laptop battery charge gets critically low while the computer is asleep, Windows automatically puts the laptop into hibernation mode. But the question itself proves that it's not happening as stated. ;) – IsmailS Apr 11 '11 at 5:13

You new laptop has twice as much memory to keep powered when in Sleep or Standby. When using Sleep, your laptop makes a 4GB hibernation file (like Hibernate) as well as keeps the RAM powered (like Standby), so uses the most battery power out of all the power options.

It's best to only use Standby, when you are not using the laptop for a little while and use Hibernate when you are not going to be using it again for a few hours. You can configure the laptop to automatically Hibernate after it has been in Standby for x minutes.

There is no point in using Sleep mode on laptops (it is disabled by default), as laptops effectively have built-in UPSs, so losing electricity power during Standby does not cause any loss of data.

  • I guess you mean "Standby" in the sense it was used in XP, which is what I really want, but which on this new machine drains the battery in approx. ten hours. Do you really think that dumping 4 GB to disk once will make a noticeable difference in battery? Also, regarding data loss, the battery does run out eventually... – Niklas Jan 11 '11 at 17:13
  • @Niklas: You need to disable Hybrid Sleep in Power Options so that the laptop only goes into Standby, but this would have been the default on a laptop anyway. In Standby only the RAM is powered, so if you have twice as much RAM, twice as much power is going to be used (all else being equal). Laptops usually automatically hibernate when they are running out of battery power, and you can make this happen after x minutes of Standby in Power Options, as I have already mentioned. – paradroid Jan 11 '11 at 17:31

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