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How to use hibernation to extend battery life on Windows 10

On Windows 10, hibernation is a power-saving feature that works by saving the content in memory onto the hard drive (inside the Hiberfil.sys hidden system file), allowing a complete shutdown of the device to extend battery life without losing your current work. The next time you resume, the previous session will load into memory, allowing to pick up where you left off.

Although hibernation doesn't resume as fast as sleep on Windows 10, the feature will come in handy when you aren't using the device for an extended period, when running out of battery, the laptop has a battery drain issue, or when you have to swap the battery (if you still have one of those devices).

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to enable and configure hibernation to extend battery life on your laptop, or completely shut down your computer preserving your current session on resume.

How to enable hibernation on Windows 10

To enable hibernation using Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to confirm if hibernation is already enabled on your device and press Enter:powercfg /availablesleepstatesIf Hibernate appears under the "The following sleep states are available on this system" section, then the feature is enabled, and you don't need to continue with step No. 4.

  1. Type the following command to enable the feature on your computer and press Enter:powercfg /hibernate on

Once you complete the steps, hibernation will be enabled on your laptop. However, it's not a feature available on all system configurations. If you're unable to use hibernation on Windows 10, it could be for one of these reasons:

  • Graphics card driver doesn't support this power state. Updating to the latest video driver may fix this issue.
  • Hibernation may be supported, but it's not enabled inside the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) or legacy Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). Accessing the motherboard firmware and adjusting the settings using your device manufacturer support website may resolve the problem.
  • Hybrid sleep feature is enabled. In some cases, you may need to disable this feature before hibernation becomes available.
  • Hardware is not compatible with hibernation. For example, devices with InstantGo don't have the hibernate option.

How to add hibernation option to Power menu on Windows 10

To add the hibernation option to the Power menu on Start, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound.

  1. Click on Power Options.

  1. Click the Choose what closing the lid does option from the left pane.Quick tip: If you're using a desktop computer, you can select the Choose what the power buttons do option to get to the settings.

  1. Click the Change settings that are currently unavailable option to modify the Shutdown settings.
  2. Check the Hibernate option.

  1. Click the Save changes button.

After you complete the steps, the "Hibernate" option will be available in the Power menu in the Start menu, Lock screen, and Power-user menu (Windows key + X keyboard shortcut).

Customize power button to hibernate

To put your device into hibernation when pressing one of the power buttons or closing the lid, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound.

  1. Click on Power Options.

  1. Click the Choose what closing the lid does option from the left pane.

  1. Under the "Power and sleep buttons and lid settings" section, use the drop-down menu to allow your device to enter into the hibernation state when you press the power or sleep button, or when closing the laptop lid.

Once you complete the steps, your computer will enter into hibernation depending on your configuration.

How to configure hibernation settings on Windows 10

If you want to prolong battery as much as possible, you can adjust the power settings to allow your computer to hibernate automatically.

To change the hibernation timers on your computer, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound.

  1. Click on Power Options.

  1. Click the Change plan settings option under the current power plan in use.

  1. Click the Change advanced power settings option.

  1. Expand the Sleep branch.
  2. Expand the Hibernate after branch.
  3. Use the On Battery option to set the number of minutes before putting the device into a hibernation state when the laptop is running on battery.

  1. Use the Plugged in option to set the number of minutes before putting the device into a hibernation state when the laptop is connected to a power source.
  2. Click the Apply button.
  3. Click the OK button.

After you complete the steps, your device should go into hibernation automatically after the specified time you configured.

Similar to previous versions, hibernation offers a reliable method to save battery life while preserving your session. However, it's the option that takes the most time to process a shutdown and resume. It requires writing the content in memory to the hard drive to hibernate and write the information back to memory to resume.

If you're looking to save battery with quick resume times, perhaps the sleep option is the recommended method. Just remember that if your device loses power during sleep, you may lose unsaved work.

We're focusing this guide on Windows 10, but hibernation has been around for a long time. You can refer to these instructions if you're still using Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

26 Comments
  • I just learned how to completely remove windows apps( like, windows photos, groove mus/vid, xbox, even windows store) using the windows PowerShell. It would be helpful for some people if you would do an article about it.
  • Why would they want to encourage that?
  • Why not? This site is for all windows related stuff. If something helps the users then they should make a tutorial for it.. Posted via carrier pigeon.
  • Fix corrupted files from bad update to built-in apps
  • Isn't that what restore points are for?
  • What's a Windows system without Windows apps? I wouldn't do that if i were you.
  • I predict the Anti-Hibernate (Pro-sleep) folks will be along soon and rail on these options. :) However, until the whole Microsoft\Intel firmware\drivers W10 code gets sorted to support the SkyLake features properly, I feel hibernate is a big advantage to battery saving on devices like the Surface Pro 4.  While it does add a few seconds to the amount of time to resume using the device, we are talking mere seconds! These modern devices like the Surface Pro 4 (and others) have made us forget how long it used to take to boot up our trusty ole Windows computers. Amazing times we live in.
  • I too only use hibernate on Surface Pro 4/Book. I have zero issues no as opposed to Sleep.
  • I switched my Surface Book to use the hibernate since the first time you guys did an article on it, and have been very happy with the results. Thanks!
  • One area MS is still behind. My iPad can keep a charge for a couple of months. No Surface, or any other Windows Tablet I've had could manage a feat like that.
  • Your ipad is no Surface Book, sir. /wink
  • True. An Ipad has tremendous "standby" battery life. ( i have a couple of them laying around) But, you DO know what an apples<>apples comparison would be, right? Here it is: Take the hardware of say...a Lumia 640, and add to it the battery of a full sized tablet. Because that IS what an Ipad actually is. An iphone hardware chassis with a HUGE battery. Of course it has longer battery life. Far more fair to compare Macbook Air to a Surface. Then I WILL concede just how far "behind" Microsoft is in this one aspect.
  • I find it better then hybrid sleep. But cheap ssd sometimes cause trouble making it a pain to come out of it or sleep
  • Better check the grammar on that headline. Think you need an "on" in there at least.
  • Have the original Surface Pro, and ever since I upgraded to Win10 the hibernate feature fails 80% of the time. The machine comes back to life while sitting in my backpack and drains, or it fails hibernation and when I boot it up it is a fresh reboot. Not completely sure how to troubleshoot it...
  • Mine doesn't fully hibernate. Just shuts off the display but fan still working and drain the battery. But only sometimes. Almost costed me a class!
  • That headline hurts my brain...if only the author would have spent as much time thinking of a title that made sense as he did on the body of the article.
  • No offense, but sounds like it's way too easy to hurt your brain.
  • @mango.lover, fancy a game of scrabble? :P
  • What about 'how to disable hibernation and free disc space' tutorial for desktop users :)
  • I've also had issue with multiple devices switching from sleep to hibernate, an ongoing issue since Vista for me. After enough times of that I'm generally in the habit of doing a full power-down. I do give it a try when there's an update, but as soon as the system fails to go into hibernate I'm back to shutdown. Full boot time doesn't feel noticably longer than waking from hibernate, and my battery doesn't drain at all during those hours I'm away. Not having everything open the same as when I last used my device doesn't bother me.
  • I actually have a ton of respect for your strategy. As you point out, simply taking a FEW seconds to shut down the old fashioned way eliminates all the complexities of hibernate\sleep. I too chose a full shutdown if there is no compelling reason for exiting quickly and resuming where I was. It isn't often that I really NEED to be able to do that. And as I stated earlier (scroll up), these modern computers, whether they be laptops, 2-1's, and\or tablets, are all so quick to boot up compared to the old days.  Also note, these days you have browser settings that let you close the browser and save all the open tabs for the next time you relaunch. So it many ways, that negates one of the reasons for needing to hibernate\sleep.
  • @snakebitten, yup especially pretty much all high end machines have ssds. It takes several seconds for my laptop to turn on from a cold boot. From hibernate, it actually takes a little longer.
  • I set those manual options after I found my Surface 3 had drained a ton of battery overnight while asleep but not plugged in. Now I will add those options to the power menu as well - so thanks for the instructions.
    One other power issue I was wondering about: There's an option to maintain the WiFi connection while asleep (both plugged and battery power). If the device is in my bag and I'm in transit, will this option affect power consumption? Will it keep searching for available connections while asleep?
  • You do know, you can just go "powercfg -h on" you dont need the whole thing. I disable it on my HTPC, with 7 and 8.1 and that is all you need...(Powercfg -h off)
  • Warning.
    The default size of the hibernation file is 75% of your RAM. For example, on a 4GB system that is 3GB hiberfil.sys file size.
    In order not to risk losing your work when you hibernate at a time your RAM usage is above 75% (example using 3.5 of 4GB), it is advisable you set the hibernation file size to 100% of your RAM from the beginning.
    Use the command:
    powercfg -h -size 100