Many laptops have a Power Management feature called "Save to Disk," which is also known as suspend to disk, zero volt suspending, or hibernation. Save to Disk can be a handy tool for conserving battery life, but it can be a real headache if anything goes wrong. Here's a little background information on exactly what Save to Disk does and some advice on resolving Save to Disk partition problems.
Save to Disk defined
Used primarily when running from a battery, Save to Disk allows the user to place the laptop in virtual suspended animation. When the user suspends the laptop, a snapshot is taken of everything happening on the computer, and this information is then saved on the hard drive in the Save to Disk partition. The laptop can then be powered off to save battery life. When the system is powered on again, the laptop will return to the state it was in before it was suspended. Depending on the particular system configuration, Save to Disk can be configured from within the BIOS and/or through Windows.
Changes in the Save to Disk partition
While the Save to Disk partition usually requires no end-user maintenance, errors can occur if the amount of RAM changes or the hard drive is repartitioned. Re-creating the Save to Disk partition usually resolves these errors, and the exact process will depend on your laptop's BIOS manufacturer. Systems with Phoenix Technologies BIOS require an application called phdisk.exe, while those with American Megatrends BIOS require hdprepez.exe. The laptop vendor, not the BIOS manufacturer, usually provides these utilities, as they are matched to specific BIOS configurations.
Contact the vendor FIRST!
Warning: Creating or re-creating a Save to Disk partition can overwrite data already on the hard drive. Before performing either process, contact your laptop vendor for advice and instructions.
Member asks for help with Save to Disk partition problem
Recently, member Conradj posted the following problem in the Technical Q&A:
"I'm getting an error message saying, ’Save to Disk partition not found; Save to Disk feature is disabled; run phdisk for information.’ What can I do to correct the error?"
Soulrider suggests that the Save to File (Hibernate) feature may be incompatible with FAT32. “With some Phoenix Technologies BIOS configurations,” Soulrider writes, “the Save to File feature may not be usable if your primary (boot) drive is formatted using FAT32. If the phdisk.exe utility is earlier than 5.0, you will need to update the utility to use Save to Disk feature.” Soulrider also suggested flashing the BIOS to update it.
Camcc591 recently battled a Save to Disk partition after adding more memory to a laptop. Camcc591 writes, "This is from memory, so bear with me. Phdisk.exe must be run from a DOS prompt. A DOS window does not work. Restart the machine and check the Restart in DOS mode button. The help switch is either "phdisk ?" or "phdisk /?". This will tell you to use "phdisk/create" to create a new file of sufficient size for the saved information. I forget the name of the file that is created, but yours may have accidentally been deleted, causing the problem. On my NEC, the phdisk.exe program is located at c:\NECUtils. Your manufacturer may have an update, if needed."
Ask your peers
If you have a question that you can't find an answer to, post it in TechRepublic’s Technical Q&A section. Other TechRepublic members will try to answer your question in return for TechPoints.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.