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: are there technical considerations that would make it detrimental to put your computer in sleep mode every time?

Associated implications:

  • Would any such issues be mitigated by turning off my computer every once in a while?
  • Is continuous use of sleep mode known to slow down a system in any way, and for what technical reason if so?
  • Is continuous use of sleep mode known to cause any long-term side effects, and for what technical reason if so??

FYI I'm using Windows 7 on a laptop.


7 Answers 7


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.

  • 12
    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
    Commented Aug 24, 2009 at 7:30
  • Also Hibernation helps save electricity, and in a small way positively affect your wallet/planet.
    – wonea
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 11:33
  • Also note that hibernation writes a lot of data, so don't underestimate its energy consumption; for a "short" sleep, just suspending to RAM will use less energy. "Short" might mean "a couple of hours or less", here, depending very much on your system and your storage. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 14:57
  • And: Hibernation will be one of the most write-intense tasks your permanent storage will do. So you might want to add a "lifetime degradation of SSD or hard drive" to your cost calculation. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 14:58

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...

  • 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.
    – IAmGroot
    Commented May 24, 2012 at 15:22
  • @NickBailuc it'd be more useful if it mentioned/contrasted with other options like hibernation
    – barlop
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 0:32

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...


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.


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.

  • 2
    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.
    – bwDraco
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 2:05
  • 1
    Is there any data to support one or the other argument here then?
    – Kissaki
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 9:01
  • 1
    Do you have any research/proof for the fact that batteries get damaged or have significantly reduced lifetime?
    – wrwt
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 12:12
  • do you think batteries get damaged more in sleep mode than when the laptop is on, and if so, why?
    – barlop
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 0:30

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.
  • Sleep allows you to “recover your work as soon as you log in” as well, doesn’t it? :)
    – Kissaki
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 9:03

Frequent activation of sleep mode may lead to deep sleep mode activation in case of some drivers like that of graphics and LAN. When we activate the sleep mode, the components and drivers go into sleep, which wake up when we tap a key or click on mouse. Frequent sleep mode activation may lead to deep sleep modes in which the above mentioned drivers Don't wake up even after restarting the system normally. These problems require BIOS configuration checks, RAM resetting, battery resetting, etc.

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