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CompTIA A+ Exam Cram: Configuring Windows Vista for Hibernation and Sleep

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Interested in conserving power? Want to use one of the built-in power-saving modes in Windows Vista? This CompTIA A+ Exam Cram article/screencast shows exactly how to do that by configuring Sleep Mode, Hibernation Mode, and Hybrid Sleep. With Windows Vista, configuring a computer to hibernate can be trickier than with older operating systems, but have no fear, David Prowse, author of CompTIA A+ 220-701 and 220-702 Exam Cram, shows you step by step how to accomplish it.

To conserve power and extend a computer’s lifespan, many Windows Vista users will employ Sleep mode, Hibernation mode, or a hybrid of the two known as Hybrid Sleep. These power-saving states are built into Windows Vista and are supported by most motherboards. This article and screencast shows how to accomplish each of these configurations. You will note that Hibernation requires an extra step that some people are not aware of due to the fact that it requires manipulation of the command-line.

Types of Power Conservation Modes

To help in deciding which mode is best for you, let’s describe each of these power conservation states now. Afterwards, we’ll demonstrate via screencast how to accomplish these configurations in Windows Vista.

Sleep Mode

Sleep is a Windows power-saving mode that saves all work to RAM. A very small amount of power is necessary to maintain the contents of RAM. A user can opt to put the computer to sleep manually, or to set the computer to automatically go to sleep after a period of time. (We don’t want the computer to stay up past its bedtime, do we?) Of course, the computer can wake when updates are scheduled, and go back to sleep when updates have completed. This is the default power-saving mode in Windows Vista, and the computer can resume from sleep by pressing a key on the keyboard, moving the mouse, or in other cases, by pressing the power button; the method of resuming from sleep depends on the type of computer that is being used. Waking from sleep only takes a few seconds.

Hibernate Mode

Hibernate is another power-saving state like Sleep in that all work is saved. The difference is that instead of saving work to RAM, the work and contents of memory are usually saved to a hard disk. Because work is saved to a non-volatile area, power outages will not affect the work, and even after a power outage, the computer can resume to its previous state by pressing the power button. When the Hibernate option is enabled, it shows up in the Start Menu, and a file called hyberfil.sys is created in the root of C: which is used to store all settings and contents of RAM when the computer actually goes into Hibernation mode. Waking from hibernation takes longer than waking from sleep (imagine the bear in his cave!) because the hard drive works slower than RAM. In some cases, hibernation uses less power than sleep, but not always.

Hybrid Sleep Mode

Hybrid Sleep combines the speed of Sleep with the dependability of Hibernate. Normally, the computer will sleep, unless there is a power outage in which case the computer will attempt to hibernate. This is usually only implemented on desktop computers. Because laptops have a battery, the need for Hybrid Sleep (the best of both worlds) is not usually necessary.

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