You might know some people who never shut down their PC and keep it running at all times. Again, some prefer shutting down every time they’re not using their computer.
A dilemma thus arises among computer users, which is better between sleep vs shutdown, and is sleep mode actually bad for your pc?
Sleep mode isn’t bad at all, and arguably, it’s better than shutting down. It saves you a lot of time and is better for your computer’s memory. In this article, we’ll talk about both sleep and shutdown in-depth, and explain why one is more preferable to the other.
Let’s read along.
- What Happens When You Shutdown A PC
- What Happens When You Sleep A Computer
- Sleep Vs Shutdown: Is Sleep Mode Bad For PC?
- Why Sleep Is Better Than Shutdown?
- Are There Downsides Of Using Sleep Mode?
- Things To Consider When Using Sleep Mode
- When To Use Shutdown in Your PC
- How To Configure PC To Sleep
- How To Automatically Put PC To Sleep
- Hybrid Sleep: Another Alternative To Sleep
- How To Enable Hybrid Sleep
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Happens When You Shutdown A PC
Shutting down is the most popular method used by computer users. When you shut down your PC, everything is turned off. First, all the running software will get closed. Then, hardware components will start to turn off one by one.
In the end, everything will go into a power-off state. No power is used when a computer is shut down, making it the most power-efficient option when you’re not using your PC.
What Happens When You Sleep A Computer
Sleep is a state where the computer is partially turned off. Your software, files, and other apps won’t close down — rather, they’ll be saved in memory or RAM. Then the PC will be sent into a minimal—power state where it’ll consume little to no electricity at all.
This mode is great as you won’t have to deal with the hassle of saving all your work and then shutting down your PC. You can simply turn off a laptop’s lid or choose Sleep when you close your PC.
With some low power usage, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and use your computer more efficiently.
But sleep mode uses some power, whereas shutdown doesn’t use any. So can sleeping be harmful to your PC?
Sleep Vs Shutdown: Is Sleep Mode Bad For PC?
Sleep mode isn’t bad for your PC at all. As said earlier, many argue that it’s better than shutting down. Still, many fear the extra power usage of sleep.
Fortunately, it’s negligible and won’t ever reach the point of doing damage to your PC. Most laptop and computer manufacturers actually agree that sleeping is the more efficient way to go. For this, they design and optimize their devices to be used in sleep mode more.
But why exactly is sleep better than shutting down?
Why Sleep Is Better Than Shutdown?
Sleep mode is superior to shutdown in almost all cases. As you may already know, sleep saves everything in the computer’s memory.
When you turn on your PC again from sleep mode, it doesn’t have to go through the bootup process. You’ll be able to continue right where you left off.
The main upside of using sleep is exactly this — it can bypass the bootup process. It’s challenging for the hardware to boot up every single time that you want to use your PC. Everything needs to shut down and reinitialize on startup, and this takes a substantial toll on the components.
Another upside is that the sleep mode saves a lot of time. In this day and age, we constantly need to use our computers. It’s quite rare that we won’t use our computers for a couple of hours on end.
This is where sleep mode comes in. When you don’t need to use your PC for a while, it instantly puts your computer to sleep and saves all your work. As you can get back to work instantly and don’t have to wait for bootup, sleep can save you a ton of time in the long run.
Sleep is easier to use as well. You don’t have to worry about saving and checking all your files. Just simply close the lid and be rest assured everything will be safe and secured.
Are There Downsides Of Using Sleep Mode?
The only downside of using sleep is that it constantly consumes power. As your session has to be saved, the computer has to keep power running through the memory at all times. This obviously consumes electricity.
But the amount of electricity consumed is super minimal, and will maybe add a few cents to your electricity bill at the end of the month.
Laptops and computers have maximum optimization today. Thus, they can run at the lowest power possible and not face any difficulties.
Another potential downside may be that some components of your PC will be used at all times. Thus, they’ve to handle wear and tear. But this amount is super low and can, in most cases, always be neglected.
The toll won’t ever reach the point where it can truly cause damage to the components. And some argue that using some components more frequently is actually better for their health.
All things considered, the upsides of using sleep far outweigh its little downsides.
Things To Consider When Using Sleep Mode
You should put your PC to sleep if you’re not going to use it for a while, like maybe an hour or two.
But, try saving your files and documents beforehand if you have the time. For desktop computers, it might be that the electricity goes away and you lose all your work.
Saving everything beforehand can help avoid this. This way, you won’t lose any of your hard work and progress.
If your computer has backup and you forgot to save, as soon as the electricity goes down, save everything quickly before the computer shuts down. This way, backup power can help you save as well.
Have an option of auto shutdown or hibernation if your PC is in sleep mode for more than a few hours. This will help save battery in laptops. For computers, you don’t have to worry about it too much.
Now let’s take a look at when you should use shutdown, alongside its pros and cons.
When To Use Shutdown in Your PC
As said earlier, shutdown closes every file and software on your PC. It turns off all the hardware components, letting them rest.
You should use this mode if you’re not going to be using your computer for a long period, say overnight or for a couple of days. This way your computer can rest properly and be ready for the next use.
If you don’t use your PC that frequently, shutting it down every time you’re done using it will be ideal. But when you’re sure the PC is going to be used in a couple of hours or later that day, you don’t have to shut down.
Advantages Of Shutdown
Shutting down a computer can be advantageous in some cases. First, it saves power. As everything is turned off, no electricity is used, and you can save both power and your battery.
Secondly, it clears up space in your computer. Your RAM gets cleared up, deleting temporary files and data. Cache gets cleared as well. This frees up space in the memory, preparing it for later use.
All the hardware components of your device get to rest during the shutdown. Overheating is a common issue if any equipment is used for too long. The same goes for your computer’s hardware.
But during the shutdown, everything turns off and gets to cool off. This saves their health and lets them work for longer.
Therefore, shutting down every once in a while can be beneficial for your computer.
Disadvantages of Shutdown
Shutting down comes with a bunch of disadvantages though. One of the main problems being a long bootup time.
When restarting after a shutdown, all your computer components need to reinitialize. This is known as bootup, and it takes up a lot of time.
Today, laptops and computers are super fast. Still, bootup takes anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Even after bootup, the computer takes a few more minutes to run at optimal performance.
Shut down can put a lot of stress on the processor as well. Turning off and reinitializing everything takes a lot of power, and your processor or CPU takes the toll on it. Thus, for a brief moment, the CPU will be overworked, which may harm it in the long run.
The biggest disaster of shutting down is the risk of losing all your progress. If you forget to save before shutting down, you’ll lose all your files and work. There’s no coming back from this.
All things considered, there’s not really a need to shut down your computer unless you don’t use your computer frequently. Most regular users can therefore get away with just sticking to sleep mode.
How To Configure PC To Sleep
Now that you know sleep mode is better than shut down, let’s see how you can configure your PC to sleep. We’ll set options for it to sleep when the lid is closed, or when you press the power button.
To do so —
- Open Control Panel.
- Click on System And Security.
- Go to Power Options.
- From there, select Choose what the power buttons do.
- Here you can choose what happens when you press the power button on your desktop computer or close the lid of a laptop. Set all of the options to Sleep.
- Click Save changes.
You’re done! Now by default, your PC will go to sleep when you try to turn it off normally.
How To Automatically Put PC To Sleep
When your PC is not in use, you can choose to put it to sleep automatically as well. To do this —
- Like the previous step, go to Control Panel > System And Security > Power Options.
- Now select Change when the computer sleeps.
- Here, you’ll see the option Put the computer to sleep. You can select after how many minutes of inactivity you want your computer to go to sleep automatically.
- After you’re done, click Save changes.
Your computer will not automatically go to sleep when you’re not using it and save power.
Hybrid Sleep: Another Alternative To Sleep
Hybrid Sleep is a recent Windows feature that combines hibernation and sleep modes in a computer. As we know, in sleep mode, the computer saves all your work in the RAM. But this takes up memory and can cause your RAM to overload.
This is where Hybrid Sleep comes in. It doesn’t save your work in memory; instead, it saves everything permanently in the hard drive. Then it uses the RAM’s memory to store essential data for faster bootup.
Everything is then put in a low power state. You don’t risk losing your files as well in case of a power shortage. This makes Hybrid Sleep a great feature to use if you want to be a power user.
How To Enable Hybrid Sleep
To enable Hybrid Sleep —
- Open the Control Panel and select System And Security.
- Select Power Options.
- Click on Change plan settings and then Change advanced power settings.
- You’ll now see a dropdown menu with a bunch of options. Find Sleep and click on it.
- Now an option titled Allow hybrid sleep should show up. Turn it on for both On battery and Plugged in.
- Click Apply and then OK.
Congratulations, Hybrid Sleep has now been enabled on your computer!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Shutdown Use More Power Than Sleep?
After shutdown, a PC doesn’t use any power. But, during shut down, it might use more power by putting more pressure on the CPU and other components compared to sleep mode.
Is It Okay If I Never Shutdown?
In most cases, yes. If you use your computer frequently, never shutting it down won’t be bad for its health. That being said, if you’re a more casual user, shutting it down every once in a while can help refresh it and clean unnecessary files and data.
How Often Should I Completely Shutdown?
It’s a good idea to shut down your computer at least once a week. The main reason for doing this is so that temporary data and cache can get cleared, freeing up storage in your computer. This will help make it run faster, too.
Will putting my computer to sleep overnight cause any problems?
No, it won’t. Your PC can completely handle being in sleep for the night. But when using a laptop, make sure you have enough battery for doing so. Keeping it plugged in is a good idea to avoid any issues.
If you’ve come to this point in the post, we hope you’ve no confusion regarding sleep vs shutdown. We’ve gone through the pros and cons of both sleep and shutdown, and have talked about why sleep is better than shutdown.
Using your computer to its fullest potential is always the best idea. Sleep mode helps it achieve exactly that.
Yes, it might use a little bit more power, but it’s more than worth it. We hope you’ll use it and Hybrid Sleep to your best advantage to become a real power user of a computer!