Four Windows 10 Power Settings You Should Probably Change (Hibernation and Sleep)

Jan 5, 2015

Out of the box, Windows 10 comes with some power settings that, depending on your usage habits, probably should be changed. These may be especially important if you are using a Windows tablet, but they are also useful for laptops, and they all have to do with hibernation and sleep.

Hibernation vs. Sleep

I know most of you are aware of the differences between hibernation and sleep on a computer. But if not, here’s the story. Hibernation shuts power use off completely—zero battery drain—and stores the state of your computer in the hard drive. That way when you start the computer again, even months later, it starts much faster than a fresh boot of the computer, so it’s up in about thirty seconds. But that’s still much slower than using sleep. Sleep stores the state of your computer in RAM, and so resumes much faster; you’ll be up and running in two to five seconds in some cases. However, sleep uses a fair amount of battery power. So it makes sense to decide which of these you want to use and when. The default settings are, in my opinion, not ideal for most usage cases.

The Changes

The following four settings changes are the ones I recommend you change in Windows 10, especially if you are using a Windows tablet.  The first one is a bit complicated, but they are much easier after that.

By the way, try to understand what’s going on before doing these settings. If they aren’t favorable to your particular work situation or usage habits, then don’t do them! Or perhaps the steps aren’t quite the same on your computer. If that happens, leave a comment stating what’s up so others can learn from what you learned (but sorry, we can’t debug your Windows settings).

Change #1 for a Windows Tablet: Change the Time after which Sleep Changes to Hibernate.

If you put a Windows laptop or tablet into sleep and leave it unplugged, after a certain length of time the laptop will automatically cut over to hibernation. That’s so that you don’t completely deplete your battery and lose any data that’s active at the time you put it to sleep. On past Windows tablets and laptops I’ve owned, I recall it being days before hibernation kicked in automatically like that, which was good.

But these days, you will see unplugged Windows laptops cutting over from sleep to hibernation in only a few hours. That means, after only a few hours, the tablet is waking up really slowly. That’s okay for a laptop that you only use for big blocks of work. But for a tablet, like a Surface 3, if you open it to do short and quick tasks a couple times a day, it’s frustrating to have to wait thirty or more seconds each time. I feel tablets should be nearly instant-on almost all the time because we use them like smartphones—for quick app use. It shouldn’t take almost a minute to get into your tablet just to check the weather, for example.

Called Hibernate After

The time it takes to cut over to hibernation is called the Hibernate After time and the default setting for this varies by manufacturer. On the Surface 3 (non Pro) it is only four hours. On my Lenovo Yoga 900 hybrid it is only three hours, even worse. I’d say that for any device you use in quick spurts on and off, like a tablet, it should be at least twelve hours so sleep lasts longer. The setting to increase the Hibernate After time is buried relatively deep, and here are the instructions to change it. (by the way, if you make this setting change on a Surface, be sure to do setting #2 below as well).

The Hibernate After Setting Steps

  1. Unplug your power cord to ensure that the whatever power plan that corresponds with your battery mode is in effect.
  2. Activate the Start Menu (not just the start screen) and type in “Power & Sleep Settings” (be sure to use the ampersand) and select it. That will open the Settings window to the correct pane.
  3. Ensure Power & Sleep is displayed at the top (or selected on the left if window is wider).
  4. Click Additional Power Settings at the bottom of the main pane.
  5. For the currently active and selected plan, click Change Plan Settings to the right.
  6. On the next screen, click Change Advanced Power Settings at the bottom.
  7. In the Power Options dialog box that opens, Advanced Setting tab, scroll down to Sleep, and expand the commands under it. (If anything from here in steps below on is grayed out, you may need to click the Change Settings that are Currently Unavailable link near the top).
  8. Expand Hibernate After
  9. Change On Battery to 720 minutes (that’s 12 hours), or what seems right to you.
  10. Also, just to be cautious, scroll down to the Battery item and expand that. Then expand Critical Battery Action, and make sure Hibernate is chosen for both On Battery and Plugged In. They should be already set that way, but it’s good to confirm that. This overrides the above timing if your battery is already really low when you put your laptop to sleep.
  11. Click Okay all the way out.

 

Change #2 Surface Tablet: Turn Off Stay Connected to Wi-Fi while Asleep.

Once you make the setting above, where sleep stays engaged for a much longer length of time, you’ll next want to turn off another setting. But it’s not available on all laptops—I’ve only seen it on the Surface line. If you have one of those, then find and turn off the Stay connected to Wi-Fi while asleep setting.

This setting consumes a huge amount of battery power on my Surface 3 (non-Pro). For example, I notice a 20% drop in battery every eight hours while asleep. After I turned this setting off, I only saw a 2 to 3% drop in battery every eight hours. So if you make setting number 1 above, and you have a Surface tablet, this is a worthy next setting change to make.

You may wonder, why is this set on by default in the first place? It’s on so that your Windows Store Mail app can receive messages while the tablet is in sleep mode, just like your cell phone does and your iPad does. That way there’s no wait for mail to load when you go to check email after reactivating the tablet. And it will wake the tablet up for alarms and such. But, as I described, it comes at a huge battery expense. Also, it doesn’t help desktop Outlook at all, so I don’t think it’s worth it.

Here’s How To turn off WiFi While Asleep:

  1. Activate the Start Menu (not just the start screen if in tablet mode) and type in “Power & Sleep Settings” (be sure to use the ampersand) and select it. That will open the Settings window to the correct pane.
  2. Ensure Power & Sleep is displayed at the top (or selected on the left if window is wider).
  3. In the main pane scroll down to the Wi-Fi section and in that section turn off On Battery Power, Stay Connected to Wi-Fi while Asleep. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi section, then this setting is not applicable to your laptop, and there is nothing for you to do.
  4. Close the window.

 

#3 All Windows 10 laptops and tablets: Add Hibernate back to the Power menu

My next suggested change is this: add the Hibernate command back to the Power menu. Something new in Windows 10 is that Microsoft removed the Hibernate command from the standard Power menu; it now only has Sleep, Shut Down, and Restart. I guess they figured sleep was just so good nobody would want hibernation. But as I said, sleep consumes a fair amount of power, particularly if you don’t make the setting number 2, as I described above; if you make setting number 1, and not number 2 on a Surface, you can run your battery down fairly low in under one day of sleep.

So it now also makes sense to put your tablet or laptop directly into hibernation before you put it away for a while, for example before you pack it in a suitcase for a long trip. That way you’ll have lots of battery later when you wake it back up. But as I said, you can no longer do it manually in Windows 10 unless you add the Hibernation command back to the Power menu. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Activate the Start Menu (not just the start screen if in tablet mode) and type in “Power Options” and select it. That will open the Control Panel window for Power Options.
  2. On the left click Choose What the Power Buttons Do
  3. Scroll down to Shutdown Settings section of that window
  4. Activate the check box next to Hibernate, Show in Power menu. (If that is grayed out and unavailable to change, then first, up near the top click the Change Settings that Are Currently Unavailable link. Then try again)

 

#4 All Windows 10 laptops and tablets: No sleep when plugged in

Another default setting in Windows 10 that you probably should change is to undo the following: even if your laptop is plugged in, it will automatically go to sleep after only about 20 minutes. However, I leave my main laptop plugged in almost all the time and use it as a desktop computer with an external monitor. So I don’t want it to sleep after 20 minutes. Otherwise, I won’t be getting mail in desktop Outlook, and so when I resume I have to wait for Outlook to catch up.

If, like me, you use your laptop as a desktop, plugged in most the time, I’d turn that setting off. If you are concerned about using a lot of electricity, keep in mind that the main power consumer is the monitor. And there’s a separate setting (also shown below) that turns the monitor off without putting the computer to sleep. So here are the setting changes I recommend you make:

  1. Activate the Start Menu (not just the start screen if in tablet mode) and type in “Power & Sleep Settings” (be sure to use the ampersand) and select it. That will open the Settings window for the correct pane.
  2. Ensure Power & Sleep is displayed at the top (or selected on the left if window is wider).
  3. On the right, in the Screen section, make sure the When Plugged in, Turn Off After setting is set to a value reasonable for the type of work you do; I set mine to 10 or 15 minutes (keep in mind this may engage during movies if you don’t use the mouse).
  4. Below that, in the Sleep section, make sure the When Plugged in PC Goes to Sleep After setting is set to Never. This is the key setting, so your laptop stays alive even if monitor is off.
  5. Close the window.

 

Conclusion

That’s it. With these four settings, your Windows tablet or laptop will probably be much more usable. But again, think them through to make sure they make sense for your work patterns, and adjust them accordingly. If you have added insights, put them in the comments below.

One more thing, if you are using a Windows tablet with desktop Outlook, be sure to see my other recommended settings for that too.

Michael

37 thoughts on “Four Windows 10 Power Settings You Should Probably Change (Hibernation and Sleep)

  1. Matt

    Good start. If you want to optimize your Windows installation, check blackviper.com for services settings and Should I Remove It (freeware) to clean up your PC.

    Better think twice about installing Windows 10! Buried in the 45 page end user license agreement is language where you grant Microsoft (and hence, US govt) access to ALL information on the computer! This includes your login credentials and passwords. If you’ve recently installed it, you MIGHT be able to revert to the previous OS (search internet for how to do this).

    Reply
  2. MWilSF

    When setting your computer to sleep or hibernate you should also be aware that some programs
    you have set to run overnight like virus checkers or backups may not run when your computer is sleeping or hibernating. Some of these types of programs have options to wake up your computer so they will run, but many do not. Make sure yours aren’t impacted.

    Reply
  3. Steve Barrett

    I shifted my laptop from W7 to W10, and do NOT have the “sleep” option, just restart, shut down and hibernate…any idea what I can do to get “sleep”? Also, had machine set up to ask me what updates to download, B4 doing so…now, even on “hibernate” it downloads updates overnight…then I have to review all the bloatware it sent and uninstall…i.e. Visio, One Note, Cortana, Groove, Publisher, Access, etc., which I do not use and never actually installed, so I need to clean/delete up “automatic” downloads after the fact, rather than having the option to do so BEFORE-hand…

    Reply
    1. Michael Linenberger Post author

      Steve, Regarding adding sleep command, just follow the instructions in point #3 above, and check the Sleep box.
      Regarding you getting updates while it is hibernating, I am pretty sure that is impossible.
      Regarding how not to get so many updates to other Microsoft products, this might help: on the Windows Update Settings screen, at the bottom click the Advanced Options, and on that screen clear the check box that says “Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows.”

      Reply
      1. Joe

        my laptop when unplugged turns itself off even though I put it to sleep, it’s a new HP ENVY. Have to press power button twice, first time just black screen that has hp logo does nothing, have to press power button a second time for laptop to start up. HP techs just keep updating the BIOS, but still the same thing. Is this normal or is there something wrong here? Oh by the way where do I post the blogs, I have subscribed already so where do I go now, I am new at this in fact this is my first time, Thanks!

        Reply
  4. Adam

    Hi Michael :)

    What bothered me last few months is my laptops battery died completely so each time I would left it for more then 20 minutes without thinking it will come to sleep mode it happened few times that I’ve lost all of my temporary work for college I was doing.
    It didn’t even came up to my mind that this can be tweaked.
    Great tips, helped a lot, appreciate it! :)

    BTW this hibernate mode is so unnecessary if you ask me. Why put it on hibernate if it faster turns up with sleep mode? And if you want it to turn down for some longer time just use shut down option instead of hibernate? Anyway these are just my thoughts :)

    Regards,
    Adam

    Reply
    1. Michael Linenberger Post author

      “Hibernate mode is so unnecessary…” That’s a really good point Adam, that may be why Microsoft removed it from the Power menu. One could also say “shutting down is so unnecessary, when I can just hibernate the computer.” It’s all about the speed: hibernation turns off your computer faster than shutdown. And hibernation resumes faster than a cold start up of the computer. But sometimes a full restart is needed. I think they are all sometimes needed. Thanks for comment. Michael

      Reply
  5. Guy

    Hi Michael,

    My computer runs out of battery after only 8 hours in sleep mode.
    I don’t have the “WiFi while asleep” option.
    Do you have another tip I can use in order to help with this?

    Thank you!
    Guy

    Reply
  6. Milar

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  7. Robert Kinney

    I lost sleep mode installing win10 from win7. Found hibernate (but no sleep) under “show hidden buttons” and moved it to power on start menu. I have turn off, re-start and hibernate; no sleep.

    Reply
      1. Simelus

        Hello Michael!
        I have a good question, my laptop doesn’t want to taking charge while it open, it is taking charge awhile it’s turn off or sleep. Could you tell me what’s the problem please????

        Reply
  8. Arturo Grey

    The first thing people need to change is windows 10 itself. The ony pro argument is if you are a pc player but else, winsows is slowy turning into spy softweare and even if we change some settings, our privacy is stil being slowly taken from us. If people don’t react somehow… I don’t wan’t to know what will M$ do in 10 years.

    Reply
  9. Andrew Eger

    I have a windows 10 machine and it is plugged into a Battery backup.
    Anytime we loose power the computer goes into a sleep mode.
    Where, in windows 10, do I adjust so the computer stays on even when on battery power?
    I went into power settings and changed everything to “always on” – still no doing the trick..

    Reply
  10. Jim Jackson

    Re the comment about running applications like Defender and virus checkers overnight (which I try to do often), it is annoying that when I come to check it in the morning, the green line has hardly moved. Like you, my W10 laptop is almost always plugged in so after checking on exactly what sleep, hibernate etc. means, I’ve changed the plugged in Power options to “Never”.

    Hopefully, that will now enable them to complete overnight…

    Reply
  11. Ivan Dinchev

    I need some help please – have laptop ASUS and upgraded to Windows 10… my default action when I close the lid is hibernate – it is how I shut my comp for years now… but with Windows 10 I found out, if I close the lid and then plug the power cord to charge it out during the night for example, it wakes up… and is stuck on the HDD password for the night – in the morning all warm… I started opening the lid and using the power button to switch it off, but that is not normal – how to tell the PC not to wake up at power cord plug in?… this was not an issue with Windows 8. Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Peggy

    This worked for me. I removed my Bluetooth wireless mouse dongle from the computer then put it back after 2 or 3 minutes and the issue of not going into sleep mode was fixed. It happened again with a recent update to windows 10 and I did the same thing and it corrected it again. It’s worth a try. I hope this helps!

    Reply
  13. xena

    hibernating thing worked for me but now when I press the on/off button my laptop goes to sleep instead of actually shutting down. I already changed the settings and it still does the same, its driving me nuts. freaking w10

    Reply
  14. coophomegood

    Hi Michael :)

    What bothered me last few months is my laptops battery died completely so each time I would left it for more then 20 minutes without thinking it will come to sleep mode it happened few times that I’ve lost all of my temporary work for college I was doing.
    It didn’t even came up to my mind that this can be tweaked.
    Great tips, helped a lot, appreciate it! :)

    BTW this hibernate mode is so unnecessary if you ask me. Why put it on hibernate if it faster turns up with sleep mode? And if you want it to turn down for some longer time just use shut down option instead of hibernate? Anyway these are just my thoughts :)

    Regards,

    Reply
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    If you face any technical issues so just call Microsoft customer service phone number +1-844-622-1670, take solution for your technical problem easily via Microsoft customer service number they are solve your instillation & Configure Microsoft Office Outlook issue, Windows 7 IE Browser crashes error, Windows 10 anniversary updates errors problems.

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