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Is it bad to put your computer in sleep mode every time?

I do not shut down my laptop (os:vista). Instead I always make it sleep. Are there any bad consequences of this approach?


Obviously, if your laptop is sleeping and you lose AC power (ie on a desktop computer) or the battery goes completely flat, your RAM cannot be refreshed and you lose all state. That's why hibernating is better if this would be a problem.

As for the effect on your battery, it depends entirely on the type of chemical composition used in the battery. eg Lithium-Ion and Nickel MEtal Hydride have different charging, usage and lifetime recommendations. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechargeable_battery

  • My MacBook (although the menu offers no option to hibernate) will go into hibernation mode if the battery runs below 2% when not on AC power. I'm assuming here (because I haven't tried it), but I expect it will do the same if it's sleeping at the time the battery gets to that state. Not sure about Windows laptops, but I expect they're the same. – U62 Jul 22 '09 at 0:09
  • Windows does the same, at least starting with Vista. You also have the option of enabling Hybrid Sleep which is basically Standby + Hibernate in one go. So you can even remove the battery and still get your state back, or, if you don't do that, still wake up in a second. – Joey Aug 24 '09 at 10:12
  • The newer MacBook Pros use hybrid sleep by default. – Neil Nov 20 '09 at 22:39

Apart from the small amount of extra battery usage, no.


If you forget that you have it on sleep instead of hibernate, and you for some reason take out the battery, then that could frag your hard drive and not play nice with the OS.

  • 3
    Shouldn't Windows flush the HD cache before sleeping? – zildjohn01 Jul 15 '09 at 16:16
  • You could do that on some seriously old Windows versions, such as 2000 or XP. Shouldn't be an issue any longer. – Joey Aug 24 '09 at 10:13
  • Still holding out on XP, where this thing kind of happens now and then, until the computer is upgraded to handle the new base reqs. – random Aug 24 '09 at 10:47

I believe that using sleep/standby when not having the laptop plugged in is actually beneficial to battery life, supposing a lithium battery is used.

As explained in the wikipedia article, battery life is best kept at 40% charge. So not having your battery fully charged all the time should help.

  • 1
    Lithium Ion is not the only type of battery used in laptops these days, so this is not correct for all laptops. – Ash Jul 15 '09 at 14:15
  • True. Supposing there is a lithium battery. – Mercer Traieste Jul 15 '09 at 14:36

I've seen a detriment on the disk usage which eventually and with the time makes it harder for the OS to restart ( assuming Windows here )

All the RAM used by the system is serialized into large files chunks which, seems to me like they never get purged.

The more I used to hibernate my laptop the worst it's performance seems to be.

That's why I always turn it off. Even though it takes more time.


Is there a good reason to not Hibernate?
It saves battery and does not need power connected.
But, you do need a hibernation space as large as your RAM -- is that your problem?

  • I disabled hibernation because of the disk space so I do not have a hibernation option... – spinodal Jul 15 '09 at 9:30
  • Hibernation takes much longer to restore from. – U62 Jul 22 '09 at 0:07
  • With 4 GiB of memory the sheer time it takes to hibernate and restore is awful. – Joey Aug 24 '09 at 10:14
  • writing several GB of ram to ssd every time you stop working (so at least once a day) uses up its lifetime way faster than not doing it. – peter Jan 9 at 6:57
  • @peter, perfect point that keeps getting stronger as we get systems with more RAM. – nik Jan 10 at 7:40

In years and years of experimenting with audio apps on both Windows XP and OSX, I can assure you that no system wakes up from "sleep" mode with all of its marbles in place. If you're just browsing the web, sleep mode is fine, but I prefer to either keep the computer running (which I do, generally, 365 days a year) or shut it down completely.

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