Shut down the laptop or put it to sleep?

I’ve often wondered if it’s more efficient to put my laptop(s) to sleep rather than shut them down when I call it a day. It’s usually only a few hours of rest before I return to them.

Googling around, I stumbled upon a credible source that suggests putting the laptop to sleep is often better than shutting it down “if (the interval) is just a few hours or even overnight.” Check out If I’m not planning to use my computer for awhile, should I shut it down or put it to sleep? in the Microsoft knowledgebase.

Relevant excerpts:

If it’s just a few hours or even overnight, it’s usually more efficient to put your computer to sleep, either by clicking the Power button on the Start menu or by closing the lid on your mobile PC. (Some computers also have a dedicated sleep button on the computer case.)

There are several advantages to choosing sleep over shutting down:

  • All your work, including information about the programs you were using such as window location and size, is automatically saved.
  • When you awaken your machine from sleep, you don’t need to restart programs or reopen files as you would if you had shut down the computer.
  • While Windows does use some power in sleep mode, it’s very small: about one-tenth as much as it would need if you left the computer running. A mobile PC typically uses 1 to 2 percent of battery power per hour in sleep mode.
  • When Windows is asleep, it can still download and install updates and perform other routine maintenance tasks. For this reason, some companies require employees to put their computers to sleep rather than shut them down when going home for the evening.

But there are instances when you should shut down your computer fully—for example, when you install a new memory card or other hardware. If you don’t plan to use your computer for several days or more, you should also shut it down.


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