Many newer laptops provide users with power-saving features, including sleep mode and hibernate. While similar in purpose – both can reduce the need for laptop repair by allowing the computer to rest and save energy – each feature performs its functions differently. So which one should users enable if they want to conserve their laptop's battery?

What's the difference

As we've covered in previous posts, sleep mode – sometimes called stand by – saves the computer's current state in random-access memory (RAM) and places the machine in a low-power state. According to Microsoft, sleep mode uses about as much electricity as a common night light. On the other hand, hibernation saves all current data to the hard drive and then powers the computer off completely, using essentially no electricity.

Computers that have entered sleep mode will power on faster than if they were turned off entirely or put into hibernation. However, users risk losing all their current data if their home's electricity goes out while a laptop is in stand by. Hibernation can be a more secure, energy-efficient option that can extend a laptop's battery life, but it can take a few seconds longer than sleep mode.

Consider a combination

Laptop users don't necessarily have to pick one or the other. Most newer computers allow them to create power profiles – accessible via the "Power Options" menu in "Control Panel" – through which they can enable a combination of sleep mode and hibernation. For example, sleep mode could take effect after 20 minutes of inactivity, with hibernation kicking in another 20 minutes after that. This arrangement could help users maximize their laptop's power- and data-saving capabilities and might even minimize the need for professional laptop repair in Virginia.