Sleep mode is a low power mode for electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and remote controlled devices. These modes save significantly on electrical consumption compared to leaving a device fully on and, upon resume, allow the user to avoid having to reissue instructions or to wait for a machine to reboot. Many devices signify this power mode with a pulsed or red colored LED power light.
In computers, entering a sleep state is roughly equivalent to "pausing" the state of the machine. When restored, the operation continues from the same point, having the same applications and files open.
Sleep mode has gone by various names, including Stand By (for Microsoft Windows 98-Server 2003), Sleep (for Mac OS 8-Mac OS X, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008), Suspend (Windows 95) and Suspend to RAM (Linux). Machine state is held in RAM and, when placed in sleep mode, the computer cuts power to unneeded subsystems and places the RAM into a minimum power state, just sufficient to retain its data. Because of the large power saving, most laptops automatically enter this mode when the computer is running on batteries and the lid is closed. If undesired, the behavior can be altered in the operating system settings.
A computer must consume some energy while sleeping in order to power the RAM and to be able to respond to a wake-up event. A sleeping PC is a case of a device on standby power, and this is covered by regulations in many countries, for example in the United States limiting such power under the One Watt Initiative, from 2010. In addition to a wake-up press of the power button, PCs can also respond to other wake cues, such as from keyboard and mouse.
Hibernation, also called Suspend to Disk on Linux, saves all computer operational data on the hard disk before turning the computer off completely. On switching the computer back on, the computer is restored to its state prior to hibernation, with all programs and files open, and unsaved data intact. In standby mode, computer's state is saved in RAM; in hibernation mode, computer's state is saved on the hard disk.
Sleep mode and hibernation can be combined: the contents of RAM are first copied to non-volatile storage like for regular hibernation, but then, instead of powering down, the computer enters sleep mode. This approach combines the benefits of sleep mode and hibernation: The machine can resume instantaneously, but it can also be powered down completely (e.g. due to loss of power) without loss of data, because it is already effectively in a state of hibernation. This mode is called "hybrid sleep" in Microsoft Windows other than Windows XP.
ACPI is the current standard for power management, superseding APM and providing the backbone for sleep and hibernation on modern computers. Sleep mode corresponds to ACPI mode S3. When a non-ACPI device is plugged in, Windows will sometimes disable stand-by functionality for the whole operating system. Without ACPI functionality, as seen on older hardware, sleep mode is usually restricted to turning off the monitor and spinning down the hard drive.
When sleep mode was first introduced, not all PC hardware supported it correctly, which could cause problems with peripherals that didn't detect the transition. This is rarely a problem with newer hardware and newer versions of Windows.
Microsoft Windows 2000 and later support sleep at the operating system level (OS-controlled ACPI S4 sleep state) without special drivers from the hardware manufacturer. Windows Vista's Fast Sleep and Resume feature saves the contents of volatile memory to hard disk before entering sleep mode (aka Hybrid sleep). If power to memory is lost, it will use the hard disk to wake up. The user has the option of hibernating directly if they wish.
In older versions prior to Windows Vista, sleep mode was under-used in business environments as it was difficult to enable organization-wide without resorting to third-party PC power management software. As a result, these earlier versions of Windows were criticized for wasting energy.
There remains a market in third-party PC power management software for newer versions of Windows, offering features beyond those built into the operating system. Most products offer Active Directory integration and per-user/per-machine settings with the more advanced offering multiple power plans, scheduled power plans, anti-insomnia features and enterprise power usage reporting. Vendors include 1E NightWatchman, Data Synergy PowerMAN (Software) and Verdiem SURVEYOR.
- Advanced Configuration and Power Interface
- Green computing
- Hibernation (computing)
- One Watt Initiative
- PC power management
- Standby power
- Shutdown (computing)
- "About safe sleep". Apple Inc.[dead link]
- Enable hibernate using group policy
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