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Choosing between shutdown and sleep mode: Optimal computer care decisions

Choosing between shutdown and sleep mode: Optimal computer care decisions What shutdown mode to choose for your computer (Collage: RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

Many people don't shut down their computers at all - they run 24/7, but depending on the power settings, they may transition to sleep mode. There's a group of people who consider this approach undesirable and completely turn it off in settings. Safety Detectives suggests figuring out which mode is best to choose for your computer to avoid harming it.

Shutting down your computer

When properly shutting down the system, all active programs and services are closed. If closing a program is not possible due to unsaved data, the system prompts the user to save the information.

If Windows' fast startup mode is enabled, essential system files are stored on the disk when shutting down, speeding up the computer's subsequent startup. After completing these steps, the controller cuts power to the main components, and the computer shuts down completely.

Sleep mode

In sleep mode, the computer remains operational, awaiting commands from the keyboard, mouse, or power button (for laptops, opening the lid may activate the system).

Transitioning to sleep mode disables most of the computer's components, such as the video adapter, processor cooling system, case cooling, and the hard drive.

However, the RAM remains active, containing all necessary data, enabling the computer to quickly return to its normal state after waking up.

This mode requires the computer to be connected to a power source.

Hibernation mode

There's another mode called hibernation. In this state, data from the RAM is unloaded onto the disk, allowing the computer to be physically shut down. Later, it will turn on and resume the same session. While convenient, it's best to avoid using this mode due to potential errors and data loss in some cases.

The right approach

Leaving the computer on constantly can be beneficial, preventing sudden voltage changes, and maintaining consistent component temperatures, avoiding periods of cooling.

However, if there's no plan to use the PC soon, it can be shut down. For instance, if there's been no activity on the computer for an hour or two, you can put it to sleep and quickly reactivate it when needed.

What to do with a laptop

Laptops shouldn't be kept on 24/7 as they are portable computers designed for temporary use: while traveling, in cafes, restaurants, etc. This mode of operation will help the laptop last longer.

Moreover, if you put it into sleep mode without connecting it to a power source, the battery will drain, and the computer will eventually shut down. This way of shutting down (it turns off) will be considered an abrupt termination of work, which is harmful to the operating system and can lead to data loss.