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How to enable hibernate mode in Windows 7

I’m a HandBrake occasional user and I’m having trouble making my computer suspend operation when an encoding job is running: when in sleep mode, handbrake keeps running (!!), emptying the battery about just as fast as when not in sleep mode (and making about just as much noise).

I later read that there are actually 2 different “suspend” modes: hibernate and sleep. To summarize the difference very quickly (more details there), sleep mode keeps the RAM powered and suspends most computer operations, while hibernate is supposed to write the RAM to disk, shutdown the computer completely and then load the RAM with what was saved on the disk when you turn the computer back on.

Hibernate and sleep can both be access from the start menu, in the drop-down button next to “Shut Down”. Except that for some reason, in my case hibernate didn’t show. Apparently in such (common) case, you need to enable it first, and there’s no GUI for that: you need to use the command line. In start menu, run “cmd” (without the quotes – or [windows key] + R works too) and then type powercfg /hibernate on.
If after that you still don’t have the hibernate option (wasn’t my case), reportedly you’ll need to disable hybrid sleep mode in the power options : in start menu, search for “edit power plant” then click “change advanced power settings” and browse to Sleep → Allow hybrid sleep.

Now you should have the hibernate option. If you don’t, you may want to check Microsoft’s FAQ entry about that, but I found it quite helpless.

Last but not least, hibernate seems to crash my computer (and not suspend handbrake anyway), so in the end that was a bit useless :/

Update (2015-03-15): not only Handbrake seems to defeat hibernation, also hibernation will create a huge file to store the RAM’s content. This file, C:\hiberfil.sys will always take up the equivalent of a large proportion of your RAM’s size (I have 20 GiB RAM, the hiberfil.sys file is 15 GiB). So when you don’t need it and want to reclaim some disk space, I believe it’s worht disabling it 😉

Posted in Windows Se7en.

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