Windows

TR Dojo Challenge: What does Windows use hiberfil.sys for and how can I remove it?

Tell me why hiberfil.sys eats up so much disk space on Windows machines and how to remove it, and you could earn a TechRepublic coffee mug.

Windows users, who want to squeeze every bit of space from a hard drive, often go looking for large system files that they can remove. If you go on such a hunt, you're likely to turn up a file named hiberfil.sys. Depending on your version of Windows and computer hardware, this file can take up several gigabytes.

Unfortunately, you can't just delete the file and reclaim the space. If you delete the file and do nothing else, the file will reappear when you restart your machine.

So, here's the question: What does hiberfil.sys do and how can you remove it?

About the TR Dojo Challenge Series

Each week, I publish a new question designed to test the technical skills and IT prowess of our TechRepublic members. You can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this post's discussion thread.

I'll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. At the end of the week, I'll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member, who submits the first best answer, will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted the following week. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

The rules:

Only answers submitted within one week of the initial question's publication date will be considered for the follow-up article and swag.

All answers must be original and must consist of more than a link or links to third-party resources.

I will choose the correct response from the answers submitted and my decision is final.

Good Luck!

About

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 supp...

25 comments
CAPE_Tech
CAPE_Tech

hyberfil.sys is the snapshot Windows XP takes of your system before it goes into hibernation. You can remove it by disabling Hibernation and then restarting.

gdutson
gdutson

Hiberfil.sys is a Windows system file that is by default created automatically to store the data present in your PC's RAM memory when you put your PC into hibernation (basically, a snapshot of RAM contents). So long as the hibernation mode feature is enabled on your PC, the file will be created automatically each time you start Windows. You can't simply delete the file, but if you never use hibernation mode, you can turn the feature off, which will result in the file being deleted by Windows. In Windows XP, open Power Options (control panel>Power Options) and click on the Hibernate tab, then uncheck the box named Enable Hibernation. Click Apply and OK to close the open dialog boxes. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 the procedure is done through the Command Prompt dialog. (You may be required to log in to the machine as the administrator.) However, you must open the Command Prompt dialog as the administrator and then enter the command noted below. Further, depending upon your system settings, the UAC may challenge you at one or more steps; if so, simply click OK to dismiss it. Click Start>All Programs>Accessories. Right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as Administrator from the resulting menu. When the Command Prompt dialog opens, type this text (without the quotes): "powercfg.exe /hibernate off" and then press the Enter key. When Windows returns you to the Command Prompt, type "exit" and press enter and the Command Prompt dialog will close.

Agent 77
Agent 77

Hiberfil.sys is the hibernation configuration file.... to remove it; you must disable hibernation and reboot.... if the file is still there, you can boot to safe mode as administrator and remove it

oneoar51
oneoar51

hiberfil.sys is the hibenation file that records the state of the operating system when it goes into hibernation, including the users current active processes. To remove open the Power Options applet in the Control Panel>Hibernate tab> uncheck the "Enable Hibernation" checkbox.

AcousticNut
AcousticNut

hiberfil.sys is the hibernation file for Windows and it eats up so much space because it needs to be large enough to contain all your system data when the computer goes into hibernation mode. To disable hibernation in Windows XP, go into your display properties -> Screen Saver tab -> Power Button -> Hibernate Tab and uncheck "Enable Hibernation". To disable

techrimseyout
techrimseyout

Hiberfil.sys is a file that "bookmarks" or stores the information about what the user was working on before the system hibernates. (commonly used on Laptops, but will work on desktops if hibernation is enabled (Programs running, desktop configuration, etc) As a matter of fact, several years ago, there was a model of desktop PC that was manufactured with a hibernation chip issue that necessitated replacement of the motherboard. How to remove it: I'll be honest. I could cheat and google this, but I won't until I submit this answer. If I'm not mistaken, if you use the Tweak UI, there is a setting there that will change the registry setting, and clear the file. In Windows 7, if you reboot while the computer is in hibernation, a menu will come up giving you the option of either deleting the hiberfil.sys or using the information in hiberfil.sys to resume the system. How abut "half a coffee mug" ?

jimdrvr99
jimdrvr99

That's Your hibernation folder and it contains all your settings so when you set your pc to hibernate its stored there. and you can disable it in your power options in vista and xp

cthogg
cthogg

The computer uses the Hiberfil.sys file to store a copy of the system memory on the hard disk when the hybrid sleep setting is turned on. If this file is not present, the computer cannot hibernate. To make hibernation unavailable, follow these steps: Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator. When you are prompted by User Account Control, click Continue. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off, and then press ENTER. Type exit, and then press ENTER.

brt0211
brt0211

You have to start by understanding the difference between standby and hibernation modes. Both are power-saving features. Way back when, this was aimed at saving laptop battery life but these days "green" (both in terms of saving power and $$) come into play. When the PC goes into standby mode, the system state is suspended to RAM. If the machine loses power, when you power back on you get a clean boot - and any unsaved work is lost. When a PC enters hibernate mode, the system state is written to the hard drive - hiberfil.sys. If you lose power when in hibernate mode, when you power back on you can resume the session just as it was. That's handy if you're on the go a lot and don't have a lot of opportunities to charge the battery, or if you're a desktop user that doesn't have a UPS that will power the system for an expected and extended power outage and can't be bothered to save your work before said extended and expected power outage.... You know who you are. But Redmond giveth, and Redmond taketh away. The hiberfil.sys file is generally the same size as the amount of physical memory available to Windows. So if you have 4GB of RAM installed, hiberfil.sys will take up about 4GB of space on the disk. With today's hard drives, that's not such a big deal right? Well, as the PCs get older and used more it's often difficult to come up with [insert amount of RAM here] of contiguous space on the hard drive. Ever seen Windows try to defrag a 4GB file? Go to lunch. In our environment, we generally disable hibernation on the desktop PCs and leave it enabled for laptops. We do this via Group Policy like this: http://bit.ly/8U2f7K. Bear in mind that we're a mostly XP shop with 2K3 AD. As far as individual machines, you can get rid of hibernation this way in XP: -Control Panel>Power Options. -On the Hibernate tab, UNCHECK 'Enable hibernation', click OK and reboot. NOTE: Setting the 'System hibernates' option to 'Never' will turn off hibernation but won't remove hiberfil.sys For Vista and 7: -Open the command prompt with Run As Adminstrator. -Type this: "powercfg.exe -h off" (without the quotes) and You're all set.

jalioto21
jalioto21

hiberfil.sys is the file that is created when you hibernate your computer. This file contains the state your computer's memory (RAM) was in before you last choose to hibernate. When you PC is turned on after hibernating windows will read the hiberfil.sys file, it will then restore the previous state the computer was in when you last hibernated. This function is set in power options within your control panel. The best way to delete this file is to let windows do it for you! See the steps below: (Windows XP Steps) 1.Open the Windows Control Panel 2.Double-click Power Options 3.Click the Hibernate tab, de-select the 'Enable hibernate support' check box, and then click Apply. 4.Restart your computer and hiberfil.sys should be automatically deleted (this is not always the case - simply delete it if Windows didn't do it for you). 5.If you change your mind in the future and would like to use hibernation, go back to the Hibernate tab as described in the first three steps and check the box 'enable hibernation' The steps for Windows XP were provided by softwarepatch.com. The link is provided below. http://www.softwarepatch.com/tips/hiberfil-sys-xp.html (Windows Vista/Windows 7 Steps) Method 1 1.Click on the Windows Button->All Programs->Accessories 2.Right Click Command Prompt and select "Run as Administrator" 3.Click Continue on the UAC prompt 4.type in "powercfg -h off" without quotes and press Enter 5.Restart the computer to let windows remove the file. Method 2 1.Click on the Windows Button->All Programs->Accessories->System tools-> Select "Disk Cleanup" 2.Check "Hibernation File Cleaner" 3.Click "Ok" 4.Click on "Delete Files" The steps for Windows Vista & Windows 7 were provided by Vistax64.com. The link is provided below. http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/165508-hibernation-enable-disable.html#post317574

jjcanaday
jjcanaday

hiberfil.sys is the map of memory (RAM) that is saved when windows is put into "Hibernate" mode. Its size will be roughly the size of installed RAM. It can be deleted by de-activating Hibernation mode -- On XP: Start > Settings > Control Panel > Power Options > Hibernate (Tab) > uncheck "Enable Hibernation". hiberfil.sys will automatically delete.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Wow! Everyone was quick with their answers today. I'll have to come up with another question/quiz.

Chris_Muncy
Chris_Muncy

hiberfil.sys is the files system created by the OS when the computer goes in to hibernation. To remove it go to your control panel, then the hibernate tab in the power options property box. Then clear the enable hibernation check box and click ok.

MrJoeB
MrJoeB

Easy. First off, the file is equal to the amount of RAM you have in your computer. 2GB RAM results in a 2GB hiberfil.sys hiberfil.sys is the Hibernation File used for when your computer goes into Hibernation. The contents of RAM are copied into this file and the computer powers off completely, rather than a sleep state where the computer goes into a low power mode. To remove the file safely, go into the Control Panel / Power settings area, and disable Hibernation. Reboot, and the file should disappear. Another option, for Vista and Windows 7 users, is to open a command prompt, type: "powercfg /h off" and reboot.

comguy1973
comguy1973

It is the file that Windows creates when your computer hibrenates. Go into the power options and turn off hibrenation. comguy1973@yahoo.com

mluck
mluck

That's the hibernation file that windows uses to put the machine into hibernation (stores the state info). To remove it, turn Hibernation off in the windows GUI, reboot. Reasonable chance windows has deleted the file, but if not manually delete (I recommend wiping with a tool, eraser for example)

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

This week's TR Dojo Challenge is about reclaiming hard disk space on Windows machines by removing the hiberfil.sys file. Original post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1459 Windows users, who want to squeeze every bit of space out of a hard drive, often go looking for large system files that they can remove. If you go on such a hunt, you're likely to turn up a file named hiberfil.sys. Depending on your version of Windows and computer hardware, this file can take up several gigabytes. Unfortunately, you can't just delete the file and reclaim the space. If you delete the file and do nothing else, the file will reappear when you restart your machine. So, here's the question: What does hiberfil.sys do and how can you remove it? Please Read the all the before Answering I?ll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. During that time, TechRepublic members can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this discussion thread. At the end of the week, I?ll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member who submitted the first, best answer will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted on Thursday the week following the question?s publication. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

joe.araneta
joe.araneta

Windows XP has a feature that is not very well documented and it will be totally new to users of older systems such as Windows 95 or 98. This feature introduced to most users for the first time in XP is called Windows hibernation. Instead of shutting down and restarting your computer, Windows takes a snapshot of everything running on your system, copies it to the hard drive and then turns off most of your hardware. To wake up from hibernation you normally move the mouse or hit the spacebar on the keyboard. In theory, it is supposed to be a quick shortcut or power saving option that allows you to leave your PC in suspended animation until you are ready to work again. However, in practice, most people find little time difference between shutting down and using hibernation. For people who use drive imaging to backup their system, the hiberfil.sys file can bloat the backup files - making them larger (sometimes over 1GB bigger) and therefore slower to copy/restore. Hibernation temporarily 'freezes' the computer when the PC becomes inactive, so it won't work if you have tasks running constantly (eg downloading files). However it can be handy if you want the computer to sleep after a task has completed (such as creating a video). OK, that's the role of hibernation - so what is the hiberfil.sys file and why is it so big? Hibernation takes everything in memory and writes it to your hard drive as the hiberfil.sys file. If you have 512MB of memory, then hiberfil.sys will be about 512MB. If you have 2GB, the file will be around 2GB. The important point to remember is that even if you don't use hibernation, hiberfil.sys will still take up this huge amount of disk space. The way to remove the file is to turn off the hibernation feature (by default, hibernate is activated automatically when XP is installed). Here's how to do it: 1. Open the Windows Control Panel 2. Double-click Power Options 3. Click the Hibernate tab, de-select the 'Enable hibernate support' check box, and then click Apply. 4. Restart your computer and hiberfil.sys should be automatically deleted (this is not always the case - simply delete it if Windows didn't do it for you). 5. If you change your mind in the future and would like to use hibernation, go back to the Hibernate tab as described in the first three steps and check the box 'enable hibernation'.

Headley
Headley

Get the installation package of Windows XP and copy to your computer or you can do it in your flash drive only. Just open the setup file, it will collect some information and restart and open setup screen. You can install through that. Have a try once... _________________ http://www.microsoftoffice-2010.com/

sales
sales

Hi Bill - Hiberfil.sys is where windows XP dumps the whole memory before putting the system into hibernation. To gain the disk space used by Hyperfil.sys which is equivalent to the amount of Ram you have onboard you need to perform the following: Disable System Hibernation by going to Control Panel / Performance and Maintenance / Power Options / Hibernate tab, and uncheck the Enable hibernation box

IC-IT
IC-IT

That was a challenge? ;-)

perulous
perulous

its related to hibernation, to delete this file just turn hibernation off.

osullivan_j
osullivan_j

If Hibernation is enabled on your machine, you have the option to power off your machine (not stand-by, complete powerdown) and store details of all the applications and the data they have loaded, that are open at the time. This information is stored in the hiberfil.sys file. When you next power on your machine, this information is retrieved and your machine is returned to the state it was in when you previously hibernated. i.e apps open and data loaded. If you want to remove the file, you have to disable the Hibernation option in Power Options. In XP, go to Control Panel, Select Power Options, then select the Hibernate tab and de-select the checkbox next to "Enable hibernation". Click OK to accept this change and then re-boot, which should remove the file automatically. If you don't trust Windows all that much :-), ensure that you can view protected system files and check that the file no longer exists on your harddrive. In XP, select Tools from the toolbar on Explorer, the select Folder Options, then select the View tab. Scroll down to find the "Hide protected operating system files" option and de-select the check box. Click Ok to accept the change. Now go and make sure Windows has done what it is supposed to have done. You could also make a note of the available disk space on your harddrive before and after you disable Hibernation and if you magically have an extra 1 to 2 GB of disk space (depending on the RAM on your machine) its a safe bet the file is gone. (I am assuming anyone reading this post has at least 1GB of RAM on their machine, anything less and how can you call yourself a Techy?)

doug.cronshaw@baesystems
doug.cronshaw@baesystems

If your drive imaging system is backing up hyberfil.sys, it doesn't properly understand what it should be doing. When doing proper backup of a Windows system the contents of the hibernation file (hyberfil.sys) and page file (pagefile.sys) should not be committed to the backup medium. Only the attributes of these files should be stored in the backup files; the files' content changes on an exceedingly regular basis - in the case of the page file every time a virtual memory swap occurs - and doesn't need storing to allow disk restoration. (And unless you do a drive image backup prior to every hibernation, the restoration of hyberfil.sys's content will not provide a file that can be used usefully.)

sales
sales

Hi Bill Hiberfil.sys? is where windows XP dumps the whole memory before putting the system into hibernation. To gain the disk space used by Hyperfil.sys which is equivalent to the amount of Ram you have onboard you need to perform the following: Disable System Hibernation by going to Control Panel / Performance and Maintenance / Power Options / Hibernate tab, and uncheck the Enable hibernation box

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