Windows XP logoThere are 2 ways of putting your computer into a mode where it will preserve your work, and save on power when you’re not using it.  These 2 methods are hibernate and standby.

Standby mode will cut the power to any hardware or peripherals your computer or laptop is not using at the time you select this option.  This will conserve battery power in laptops, and can be useful in desktops if you need to step away from the computer for an extended period of time.  Your programs and applications are stored in RAM, but your computer is still drawing power.  This method will allow a quick “wake up” because data can be read from RAM very quickly.

Hibernate on the other hand, will take a snapshot of your current configuration and save it to the hard drive, then it will power down your computer.  When you bring your computer out of hibernate mode, which will take a little longer than a regular start-up because the computer actually shuts down, any programs and documents you had open will reappear on your desktop, just the way you left them.

You may need to enable hibernate mode if you want to use it.  To do this, go to your control panel, select power options, click on the hibernate tab at the top of the window, and make sure the Enable Hibernate mode check box is filled in.  Hibernate mode uses hard drive space so be sure you have enough space to use this option.

Using either of these methods can save laptop battery life when you’re not using it.  It can also be used if you need to leave programs or documents open but have to leave your computer and don’t want to leave it on and using electricity.