As you may know, the power saving features in Windows XP
that are geared to laptop users are more sophisticated and far superior to
those found in earlier version of the operating system. One of the most
beneficial of these power saving features for laptop users is the hibernation
mode.

As opposed to the more familiar standby mode, in which your
entire computer switches to a low-power state where devices, such as the
monitor and hard disks, turn off and your computer uses less power, hibernation
mode actually shuts down the system. However, before it does so, it saves
everything currently in memory to a special file on the hard disk. Then, when
you turn the system back on, Windows XP simply loads everything from the
special file on the hard disk back into memory. When it does, everything is
just as you left it and you can get right back to work.

In this article, I’ll explain some of the other advantages
of using hibernation mode on a laptop and show you how to configure it. I’ll
then explain some of the problems you may encounter when using hibernation mode
and show you how to troubleshoot those problems.

Reduce load time

In addition to allowing you to get back to work quicker,
another benefit of hibernation mode is that it typically restarts your laptop
quicker than a cold boot operation. Of course that depends on how many
applications are running at the time you shift into hibernation mode.

Of course, if you put the system into hibernation mode when
a lot of applications are running, the goal, and certainly the outcome, isn’t
going to be a faster boot up. Rather, the goal and the outcome are going to be
that you can get back to work right where you left off.

However, if you close all your open applications, just like
you would do if you were going to shut down the system, before you activate hibernation
mode, then when you turn on your system, you’ll definitely experience a faster
boot up than if you would have turned your system off and then turned it back
on.

On the flip side, putting your system in hibernation mode
after you’ve closed your applications is much faster than actually shutting
down the operating system.

Configuring hibernation mode

Configuring your laptop to use hibernation mode is a simple
procedure. Of course in order to do so, you laptop must be Advanced
Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) ï¿?compliant. However, almost all
laptops are ACPI ï¿?compliant these days.

To configure your laptop to use hibernation mode, click
Start | Control Panel and double-click the Power Options icon. When you see the
Power Options Properties dialog box, select the Hibernate tab. Then, select the
Enable Hibernation check box and click the Apply button (see Figure A).

Figure A

The first thing you need to do is enable the hibernation on your laptop.

To continue configuring Hibernation mode, click the Advanced
tab. You’ll now focus on the settings in the Power Buttons panel, as shown in
Figure B.

Figure B

The settings in the Power Buttons panel will allow you to configure how you
want to put your system into hibernation mode.

As you can see, on this particular system, the When I Press
The Sleep Button On My Computer setting is set to Hibernate. However, both the
When I Close The Lid Of My Portable Computer and the When I Press The Power
Button On My Computer settings can be set to Hibernate.

Once you choose the method you want to use to activate
Hibernation mode, you can click OK to close the Power Options Properties dialog
box. When you do so, you’re all set to use Hibernation mode at any time.

Password protecting hibernation mode

If you’re using hibernation mode to quickly get back to
work, you may be concerned about security. After all, hibernation mode allows
you to bring your application right back to the way they were when you were
last working and if those application contain sensitive data, you might not
want just anyone having such easy access. As such, you may want to password
protect your computer during hibernation mode.

To do so, just select the Prompt For Password When Computer
Resumes From Standby check box on the Advanced tab shown earlier in Figure B.
Keep in mind that while this option only mentions standby mode, it also works
in hibernation mode.

One more way to activate hibernation mode

If you’re used to using the Turn Off Computer button on the
Start menu, you can continue to do so and still activate Hibernation mode. After
you click the Turn Off Computer button, you’ll see the Turn Off Computer dialog
box, which contains three buttons: Stand By, Turn Off and Restart. However, if
while this dialog box is on the screen you press the [Shift] key, the Stand By
button will change to a Hibernate button, as illustrated in Figure C.

Figure C

Pressing [Shift] transforms the Stand By button into a Hibernate button.

Delete Hiberfil.sys before defragmenting

When you use the Windows XP’s hibernation feature on your
laptop system, you will want to delete the Hiberfil.sys file before
defragmenting your hard disk. Hiberfil.sys can become very large and occupy a
lot of fragmented disk space itself. As such it can prevent Disk Defragmenter
from performing a thorough defragment operation.

Fortunately, you can easily remove the Hiberfil.sys file
from the hard disk and make way for a complete disk defragmenting operation. To
do so, access the Control Panel and double-click the Power Options icon. Next,
select the Hibernate tab in the Power Options Properties dialog box. then, clear
the Enable Hibernation check box and click OK.

As soon as you clear the check box, Windows XP automatically
deletes the Hiberfil.sys file from the hard disk. Once you complete the defrag
operation, you can re-enable the hibernation feature.

Troubleshooting hibernation mode

As you can imagine, just like everything else in Windows XP,
hibernation mode is prone to a few glitches here and there. However, they
really aren’t that bad to deal with if you know what to expect, Therefore, let’s
take a look at a few of the more common problems you might encounter when using
hibernation mode.

Wallpaper disappears after resume

When you resume a Windows XP computer from the hibernation
mode and then log on to the computer, the wallpaper may not show on your
desktop wallpaper. However, pressing F5 or right-clicking on the desktop and
selecting the Refresh Command will in most cases bring the wall paper back.

The computer hibernates after resume

After your computer resumes from hibernation, it may enter
hibernation again after five minutes of inactivity, regardless of the settings
you have configured in the Power Options tool in Control Panel. This occurs if
the computer’s BIOS resets itself as the computer
resumes from hibernation and clears any wakeup signals that might be active.
Therefore, the operating system cannot determine why the computer woke up and
as such returns to hibernation after five minutes of inactivity. It does so to
avoid situations where an application wakes up the computer and causes the
battery to drain while the computer is not being used.

The computer does not resume correctly

When you attempt to resume your computer from hibernation
mode, you may experience on or more of the following problems

  • The screen is not displayed correctly, and
    garbled characters may appear.
  • The screen appears blank.
  • The computer stops responding.

These problems typically occur on Windows XP systems on
which only SP1 is installed or on systems on which SP2 is installed, the
computer is connected to a network, has the Wake-on-LAN feature enabled, and a
network ping request brings the system out of hibernation.

If you encounter this problem, you can request a
specifically designed hotfix that should only be applied to computers
encountering this problem. To obtain this hotfix you need to contact Microsoft
Product Support Services on the Microsoft
Product Support Services Contact page
.

However, keep in mind that if you’re not encountering this
problem, Microsoft recommends that you wait for the next Windows XP service
pack that contains this fix.