Difference Between Suspend and Hibernate

As many know, suspend and hibernate are two functions that in Windows and other operating systems are aimed at saving energy of the computer equipment while the user requires a rest or pause and does not want to turn off the computer and then turn it on again.

In this sense, in Windows these options usually appear automatically when they have been previously configured. However, many times we do not know the real differences that exist between these two functions. Therefore, in this article we present the most significant differences between them based on their definitions in order to provide more information to users.

Lay off

The word suspend has its origin in the Latin -suspendere- which refers to stop. In the case of computing suspend refers to the deactivation of the computer equipment without having to turn it off, in order to keep the jobs, tasks and applications in use open when work has to be paused.

Similarly, suspend is intended to preserve the current state of the system and save power. Therefore, when the computer goes to sleep, the computer automatically enters a minimum power consumption mode, using only enough power to keep the RAM on. This is because the current state of the system is stored in it, so that when the user resumes his session, he finds all the windows and applications that he had open just as they were.

In that order of ideas, with this function the computer remains on in a non-functional state and upon resumption, an almost immediate response is obtained, returning to the functional state with which it was working. This is in contrast to shutting down the computer, as when you turn on the computer, it can take up to a few minutes for the computer to become functional after loading all system files.


The word hibernate comes from the Latin word hibernare, which refers to rest. In the field of computing, it is a function that computers (mainly Windows) have to enter energy saving mode and stop the session started when the user requires a long break from work. The hibernation state supposes a greater complete energy saving, since the equipment is completely turned off. Therefore, it is recommended for longer breaks.

With the hibernation function, the method used to save the information is a file that compresses and stores the data on the hard disk and when resuming the session, it must decompress said data to return to the functional state in which the computer was, which supposes a time less than a start from scratch. Likewise, hibernation mode can be a good option to save the work session and shut down the computer.

Taking into account what was previously stated, it can be said that the most outstanding differences between the suspend and hibernate functions are:

  • Sleep is recommended when the pause is for a short period of time while hibernation is more recommended when the pause will be for a longer period of time.
  • When a computer is in sleep mode if the power is cut off data that was not saved before entering sleep mode is lost while when a computer is in hibernation mode and power is cut off no data is lost of the started session, since it constitutes a backup system for the data on the hard drive and the computer is already completely turned off.
  • Sleep mode represents a faster session restart while hibernation mode is slower, since it requires the decompression of the compressed files saved on the hard drive at the time of hibernation. It is worth noting that although it is slower than suspend, it is usually faster than a fresh start.

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