Differences between hibernate, suspend and shutdown in Windows

When you have stopped using the computer, it is advisable to turn it off so that it does not continue to consume resources, such as the battery, among others. However, you can completely turn it off or proceed to other actions such as suspending or hibernating it . The decision can depend on many factors that you must analyze depending on your situation, so we will tell you what each one consists of, what their differences are and when each of them is recommended.

What are these options

Differences between hibernate, suspend and shutdown

Before knowing their differences and seeing which one suits you best, it is important that you know what happens in each of them and what it consists of. For this reason, we will tell you what each of the different ways of leaving your computer is. First of all, you should know that, when you turn it off, it is completely disabled, closing applications and ending everything you are doing. When you have done everything you needed and you are not going to use it anymore, you proceed to turn it off so that it “rests” and its components do so.

When suspended , it consumes less energy, but is ready to be used again immediately. However, when hibernating , your operating system dumps the contents of memory on your hard drive and closes completely, but in such a way that when you turn it on, this process is done quickly and everything is as it was before.

suspender apagar hibernar

To turn off

When we turn off the computer, it closes completely, which means that all tasks, programs, files that are running and everything that is being done end. Therefore, if you have left something open before proceeding with this action, it may ask you if you really want to close it.

It does not consume power while it is not being used and, in addition, you can unplug the power cord without risks. It is the ideal option so that processes are closed well, programs are updated and errors in the use of the equipment are avoided to a greater extent. For this reason, in many of the problems that occur with computers, one of the frequent solutions is to turn it off and on again.

Lay off

If we opt for this option, the PC enters a mode of minimal power consumption to keep the RAM memory turned on, since that is where the state of the system is stored to be able to return to the windows and open applications when returning.

The reason for resorting to it is that you can immediately use it again, as well as the processes that you were carrying out, and also while you were not using it, energy has been saved compared to if it was turned on. It is a very comfortable option for people who spend a lot of time in front of their computer.


If we decide to hibernate, we will keep the current state of the computer saved on the hard disk or solid storage system so that it recovers when it is turned on, so no energy is consumed since it does not need to keep any component on. It has the advantage that you will be able to use it again much faster than if you had completely turned it off and with all the programs as we have left them.

It is a state that is used when your PC is going to be left for a long period of time, but you want to preserve what you were doing so you don’t have to wait for it to turn on again. The main reasons for hibernating a computer are that it starts up very quickly and all programs are kept open, as if you hadn’t stopped using it. All of this does so without consuming energy at times when you are not using it.

How to do it

We will tell you what are the steps you must take for each of the actions depending on the specific circumstances. On many occasions you can find them in the Windows start menu among the easily visible shutdown options, but in other cases things can get more complicated or you prefer to select how your computer should act in certain circumstances. Therefore, we tell you the ways to perform each of these functions.

To turn off

Doing so is very simple. Near the keyboard itself there is usually a key of its own for it. In the start menu, you will find the option to shut down. Sometimes, you will have to choose between this option, restart, or do it by updating the computer (if there are updates) and even suspend. On the desktop, you may find this button somewhere on the computer depending on the model.

In all operating systems it proceeds in a similar way and you will find it easily. Windows 7, will be given to the start button and later to its option, as in Windows 10. In Windows 8.1 or RT 8.1, you will have to go to start or press Windows + X on the keyboard, press to turn off or close session and turn off. In Windows 11, in the start menu, in the power button at the bottom you will see a menu that says shut down, restart, log in, suspend or hibernate. You can get to these options with Win + X. You give your option.

Lay off

If you want to do this on your computer in Windows 10 you will have to go to settings , system, power and suspension and additional power settings. In Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 7 you will have to look for Power Options (in the control panel). Later, you will have to choose in power options the behavior of the start and stop buttons and the closing behavior of the lid. You will have to give to its corresponding mode.

inicio apagado y suspension

In some cases, you can do it directly from the system startup , since it could be found among the options. In Windows 11 you can get there in the start menu, in the power button in the lower right corner where the options to shut down, restart, start session, suspend or hibernate will be displayed. You will have to give the corresponding option. In Windows 10, you will see it in the lower left, in menu and options.


If you want to do this in Windows 10 you will have to also go to configuration, system, power and suspension and additional power settings. In Windows 8.1 / RT 8.1 and Windows 7, you will go to Power Options or Control Panel, System and Security, and Power Options. In the same options, behavior of the buttons and closing the lid, you will choose to hibernate.

botones opciones de energia

In some cases, this option may also appear at startup to Shut down or log out and hibernate. In Windows 8.1 / RT 8.1 it could be in Settings, Start / Shutdown and the corresponding option. In Windows 11, you will see it in the start, power button and your option.


It may be difficult for you to recognize the differences between one or the other because they are similar in certain aspects, however, their operation is not the same and they have certain notable differences. Therefore, we are going to tell you what the differences are between one and the other, taking into account various relevant factors that can help you make the best decision if you are doubting what is best for you.

apagar o suspender pc

Hibernate and suspend

Both are two power saving modes that allow you to power up quickly while keeping tasks and applications running. Hibernation is more similar to shutdown and saves more power. However, when you turn it on, it will take less time to do so if you have suspended it than if you have hibernated it. In this last option, the information is stored on the hard disk, while in the previous option it is kept in the RAM memory.

On the other hand, you can only suspend the equipment if it is connected to the electrical current or if you are sure that the battery will not be consumed, because if you do not run the risk that everything will close abruptly and affect the computer in any way. If it hibernates nothing happens because everything will be recovered from the hard drive.

Hibernate and shut down

When you turn it off, you close all active programs and it ends shortly thereafter, cutting off its components and power consumption. In addition, it temporarily stops working and does not consume any resources. When hibernating, it is not consuming battery, but disk space is being consumed. Therefore, the programs will be available to use again at the same point when it is turned on again, which is not the case in the other case. One of its drawbacks is that your file can take up a lot of space.

When it comes time to turn it on , you will notice that it does it much earlier if you have hibernated than if it has been completely closed, although the time it takes to do so will depend on the speed of your disk.

Shutdown and suspend

The differences between one state and another are remarkable. In the sleep state, energy is saved when the computer stops having activity, but in the shutdown neither energy nor RAM memory or any other resource is consumed. However, at the time of turning on, in the suspension you can use it immediately and in the shutdown you will have to wait.

On the other hand, when you turn it on after turning it off you will have to reopen everything you need to use, while after having suspended it, everything you left open to work with it again will be. Although on a powerful computer this may seem like a trifle, if your computer is extremely slow and takes a long time to do things, you will appreciate the power saving option when you are going to be away for a short time.

To turn off Hibernate Lay off
Situation Total shutdown Energy saving Energy saving
Stores information Not stored HDD RAM
Use of energy None Minimum Low
Ideal for Total shutdown Long shutdowns Short shutdowns

What is better?

If you do not want to turn off your computer because you like to keep your tasks and applications running and you want to return to them quickly, the decision between one and the other will depend on whether you are going to use the computer soon or are going to take time to do so. If you are going to be absent for a few minutes, or perhaps a few hours, the best thing is to suspend it because the minimum energy will have been consumed and when you return you will be able to start using it immediately. However, in a longer period of time or on a trip, hibernation is worth it because it will not be consuming resources and you will be able to use it again with the same programs and tasks as when you left it. Even if it takes a little longer to turn it on, it will be minimal. In both cases, much lower than when turning it on again after its total closure.

On the other hand, the suspension can be a good idea if you are going to leave your laptop for a short time, but it is not the most recommended for desktop computers. It must be borne in mind that, if for some reason the electrical current is cut, it will close abruptly, something that would not happen with hibernation or shutdown.

Although it may seem that the best option in all cases is to hibernate , one of the drawbacks of doing so is that not all computers have the support for it, so you have to see how you can act in this case. The new versions of Windows 10 have the option of suspension, but not with hibernation, or at least not in a simple way. Also, if you have little available disk space you may prefer the other options.

apagar suspender o hibernar

Suspension is convenient for short periods, hibernation for longer periods, and when you want the computer to stop performing all the tasks it was doing and then start again, shutting down is convenient for you. In addition, if you have installed something new, you want an update to be carried out or the processes to finish correctly, this last option is convenient (in some cases restarting) the computer. If your computer takes a short time to turn on again, it is advisable to close all programs, tasks and turn it off. The decision depends on your needs and preferences.