• Shut Down: This is the power-off state most of us are familiar with. When you shut down your PC, all your open programs close and the PC shuts down your operating system. A PC that’s shut down uses almost no power. However, when you want to use your PC again, you’ll have to turn it on and go through the typical boot-up process, waiting for your hardware to initialize and startup programs to load. Depending on your system, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • Sleep: In sleep mode, the PC enters a low-power state. The PC’s state is kept in memory, but other parts of the PC are shut down and won’t use any power. When you turn on the PC, it snaps back to life quickly—you won’t have to wait for it to boot up. Everything will be right where you left of, including running apps and open documents.
  • Hibernate: Your PC saves its current state to your hard drive, essentially dumping the contents of its memory to a file. When you boot up the PC, it loads the previous state from your hard drive back to memory. This allows you to save your computer’s state, including all your open programs and data, and come back to it later. It takes longer to resume from hibernate than sleep, but hibernate uses much less power than sleep. A computer that’s hibernating uses about the same amount of power as a computer that’s shut down.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid mode is really intended for desktop PCs and should be disabled by default for most laptops. Still, you might come across the option at some point. Hybrid is like a combination of sleep and hibernate. Like hibernate, it saves your memory state to hard disk. Like sleep, it also keeps a trickle of power going to memory so that you can wake the computer almost instantly. The idea is that you can essentially put your PC into a sleep mode, but still be protected in case your PC loses power while sleeping.


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