RAW Computing

When a laptop won't wake fom sleep or hibernation


One of the nice features of modern computers is the way that they can be put into sleep mode or hibernation instead of being switched off completely. They can be woken by touching them and withing a few seconds they are ready to use, carrying on exactly where you left off. Laptops are really good at this and you can simply close the lid to initiation sleep mode. Occasionally though, a computer or laptop won't wake up from sleep mode. What can you do about it?

This is actually quite an awkward problem to solve because the fault could lie anywhere. The first task is to use Windows Update to ensure that the operating system has all the latest updates. In Windows 7 go to Start, All Programs, Windows Update. In Windows 8 press the Windows key+X, go to the Control Panel and open Windows Update. Not all the updates are compulsory and there are optional ones. Select the optional ones too and update everything.

The next step would be to update the drivers. If you have a printer, scanner, webcam or anything else, there will be a driver associated with it and other software. There may be an option in the software to check for updates, but if not, go to the manufacturer's website and download the latest software and drivers. For example, if you have an Nvidia video card, go to www.nvidia.com and follow the links to download the drivers.

Sleep vs hibernation

Computers can sleep, they can hibernate, and they can do both at the same time. This might seem confusing at first, but it is actually quite straightforward.

When a computer is put into sleep mode it enters a low power state. It basically puts all the components into the minimum power state sufficient to keep it running. The disk drive may stop spinning, the monitor may go blank, the processor may slow down and so on. A sleeping computer can be woken with a keypress or mouse movement and it springs back into life quickly.

When a computer hibernates it saves the current machine state to the disk drive and then switches off the power completely. When it is woken up, it reloads the machine state off the disk drive so that you can continue where you left off.

A hybrid state is when the machine state is saved to disk, but the computer doesn't power off. Instead it goes into sleep mode. The advantage is that resuming from sleep is faster than resuming from hibernation. If a laptop's battery goes flat while in sleep mode, everything is saved to disk so nothing is lost. It can all be reloaded when the laptop is recharged and turned back on.

Turning off hybrid sleep can sometimes solve sleep problems. The computer can still sleep or hubernate, but it does one or the other and not both. Click Start (Win 7) or press Windows+X (Win 8) anc lcik Control Panel, Power Options.

Whatever power plan you are currently using, click Change plan settings, Change advanced power settings. Expand the Sleep section, expand Allow hybrid sleep, and click On and set it to Off.

Expand Power buttons and lid. Expand Power button action and choose either Sleep or Hibernation. You may find that one works, but the other doesn't. Closing the lid on a laptop can put it into sleep mode for example, if hybernate doesn't work properly.

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