When Power Saving Fails: Fixing Windows 7 Hibernation Issues

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windows 7 hibernation issueWhen you use the hibernate shut-down option, Windows 7 saves the contents of your computer’s memory to disk and powers off the computer. The next time you start your computer by pressing its power button, Windows will restore the computer from its hibernated state, restoring all your open programs and documents. This is different from sleep, which uses a small amount of power to maintain your system’s state.

If your computer can’t hibernate or isn’t resuming from hibernation properly, there are a variety of possible problems — including a particularly obscure bug you’d never think to check.

Disable Taskbar Auto-Hide

Believe it or not, a bug with Windows 7’s taskbar auto-hide feature can cause your system to freeze or lock up when you resume from hibernate. This is a bug Microsoft needs to fix — perhaps it will be fixed in Windows 8 — but, for the meantime, you’ll have to disable taskbar auto-hide to make resuming from hibernate work properly.

You can disable taskbar auto-hide from the taskbar’s properties window – open it by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting Properties. After you have, uncheck the Auto-hide the taskbar option and click OK.

windows 7 hibernation issue

Update Hardware Drivers

To successfully hibernate, Windows must save your hardware’s state to disk and then restore it later, without going through the normal boot-up and hardware initialization process. This process is driver-dependent, so problems with your computer’s hardware drivers can cause hibernate to not work properly. Driver problems could also result in hardware not working properly after you’ve resumed from hibernate.

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If you have a hibernate problem, you should update your system’s hardware drivers. You can download updated drivers from your computer manufacturer’s website – or each individual hardware manufacturer’s websites, if you built your own computer. Everything from your computer’s motherboard chipset drivers to its graphics drivers may need to be updated. You may also be able to install updated drivers directly from Windows Update, although many hardware manufacturers don’t offer the latest versions of their drivers via Windows Update.

Fix Hiberfil.sys Problems

When you hibernate, Windows saves the system’s memory to the Hiberfil.sys file on your C:\ drive. If this file becomes corrupted, hibernate may not work properly. To fix a corrupted Hiberfil.sys file, you can disable and re-enable hibernate in Windows. Windows will delete the Hiberfil.sys file and recreate it when you perform this process.

To do this, you’ll need to open a Command Prompt window as administrator. Click Start, search for Command Prompt, right-click the Command Prompt shortcut that appears and select Run as Administrator. Run these two commands in the Command Prompt window:

powercfg.exe /hibernate off

powercfg.exe /hibernate on

windows 7 hibernation

If your C:\ drive is full and there’s no space for the C:\Hiberfil.sys file to be created, this may also cause problems with hibernate. Ensure there’s some free space on your C:\ drive – enough to fit the contents of your system’s memory (RAM) – before hibernating.

Prevent Devices From Waking Your Computer

Some people have reported trying to hibernate their computers, only to find them waking up immediately instead of going through the hibernate process. If this is happening, a hardware device may be keeping your computer awake. You can control which devices are allowed to wake your system in the device manager.

Open the device manager by clicking Start, typing Device Manager, and pressing Enter. In the Device Manager window, expand the Network adapters section, right-click your network adapter and select Properties. From the Power Management tab, uncheck the Allow this device to wake the computer option. You may also want to try changing this setting for other devices, such as your mouse and keyboard. (This should only allow the devices to wake from sleep, but some users have reported them interrupting the hibernation process.)

windows 7 hibernation

You can also run the powercfg -devicequery wake_armed command in a Command Prompt window to view the devices that can wake your computer.

windows 7 hibernation

Some peripheral devices may cause hibernation to fail if they’re connected – try unplugging non-essential devices like printers and USB sticks before hibernating and see if it works properly.

Configure Power Profile

If you find your computer hibernating when you don’t want it to – or not hibernating when you do want it to – you can control its hibernation settings in Windows 7’s Power Options window. Type Power Options into the Start menu, press Enter, select a power profile, and use the Change advanced power settings link.

Look out for “hybrid sleep” – a feature that automatically hibernates your computer after it’s been asleep for a while. If you find your computer hibernating when you don’t want it to (or if hibernate doesn’t work properly, but sleep does), you’ll want to disable hybrid sleep.

For more information on tweaking your power options, check out our guide to Windows 7’s power options.

windows 7 hibernation issue

Unfortunately, if your computer has never hibernated properly, it may not be compatible with Windows 7’s hibernate feature. While updated drivers may fix this problem in some cases, some computer manufacturers may not have gone to the effort to make everything work properly.

This post was inspired by Jeffery Fabish’s excellent answer on MakeUseOf Answers – we wanted to bring the information to a wider audience. If you have a question or problem of your own, ask us on MakeUseOf Answers and our community will help you out!

Have you ever run into hibernation issues with Windows 7? How did you fix them? Did you use a solution not mentioned here? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image Credit: Laptop with a Black Screen via Shutterstock

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Good info for the masses. I used to run into the hardware conflict problems too, and they can prevent Sleep Mode from functioning correctly as well.


Rigoberto Garcia

Great article Chris



Usually hibernate works for me, but funnily enough last time I tried it it got most of the way and then decided to wake up again. I think there may have been a small power surge that told the computer to turn on.

Another thing to watch out for is the network card. Some power settings will let that sleep, but not wake up properly, which can become apparent when hibernating.

A similar problem I’ve had with some laptops is that the default Windows power options asks it to turn the screen off after a certain period, but since there was no power on for a laptop monitor I was left with a black screen until I restarted the computer. I thought it was a major hardware issue until I worked out what was happening.

Igor Rizvi?

yea,i had some problems with network cards under hibernating.good thing i found the solution.and disabled hibernation.

Chris Hoffman

Yeah, some hardware drivers don’t support hibernation properly and won’t wake up. This is less common on Windows where manufacturers theoretically try to make it work, but more common on Linux.



An article about Windows and the image of the computer is a Mac…does not compute :D

Shakirah Faleh Lai

Some users run Windows on their Mac.

Chris Hoffman

Some ultrabooks look near-indistinguishable from Macs, these days.


Eric Wardowski

Great article. I didn’t know about the powercfg command line… that’s handy!


Catherine McCrum

We have tried so many work arounds and MS was no help at all. Solved it by switching to Ubuntu – Thanks though for the article. it reads well and I will keep it filed for someday when I try Windows again but not any time soon.

Chris Hoffman

Yay, Ubuntu! Like.


Ashwin Divakaran

superb article ! Been looking for a solution to this ..Thx i owe you chris


Russ Silbiger

I have an intermittent issue with the wireless adapter hanging on restore from sleep or hibernate. Can’t track down why.

Chris Hoffman

Probably just a problem with the hardware and its hardware drivers. Some things cannot be fixed (aside from getting an ew adapter).


Make a small batch file with a single line: ipconfig /renew

Put it in a folder somewhere (I used c:\windows\system32).

Open the task scheduler and create a new task. Make sure that you check “Run with highest privileges.”

Trigger should be set to “On workstation unlock of any user”.

Action is “Start a program”. Point it you your batch file.

Under the Conditions tab, make sure “Start the task only if the computer is on AC power” and “Stop if the computer switches to battery power” are both unchecked.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks, that’s a good idea that may work for some people!

Of course, if your hardware driver is messing up and failing to reinitialize the network adapter properly, that won’t work.


VS Vishnu



Victor Ong

This is a very good guide. Though it doesn’t really work unless you can actually BOOT into windows. This is what I did:

1. Take out battery

2. Unplug Laptop

3. Hold power button down for 5-10 sec.

4. Boot into windows.


sampath widushan



Vaibhav Jain

Some time after coming out of hibernating my computer become too Slow and I have to restart it for functioning it properly.
Microsoft should fix this thing also.
(I am using Win.7)

Chris Hoffman

Could be the software you’re running leaking memory.

Everyone always says Windows should be restarted regularly, after all.



Nice and informative article.


Navinder Singh

Thanks….I have been having this problem for awhile now.



I have this problem on my N150 Samsung netbook since two weeks ago (pretty close to the moment you wrote this post). I tried all what you proposed, plus about a dozen of other booting, register and drivers tools. Nothing works or at least explain which is probable cause. When trying to hibernate I just get a black screen, that is easily removed by just moving the mouse. I will insist because is very annoying to power off a netbook everytime; that is not the best way to handle such sort of computing resource. If I succeed, I promise to let you know about.

Chris Hoffman

I recommend you ask on MakeUseOf Answers: http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

I’ve never had that problem myself — maybe someone else has and they’ll be able to help you.

You can also try contacting Samsung tech support. You bought their product, and they owe you some amount of support if it isn’t working properly.


They will say it’s a software issue and that I should contact Microsoft instead. Can you believe it? Effin chinese manufacturers. I have a Qosmio X770 and it runs Windows 7 64-bit (Home Premium). When I click Standby or Hibernate, I get a black/blank screen. The hard-drive runs in the background until the process is completed.

On the Toshiba forum, I read something that this is a fault in the 64-bit Windows 7, others claimed it was to do with the nVidia GTX card. I updated my driver and the problem is still here. Hell, I updated the BIOS but no luck. Actually the 2.00 bios update prevented Windows from booting. Turns out you have to disable “Fast boot” in bios to resolve this issue. What kind of idiots work at Toshiba???

I do not know how to solve this problem and in my search I landed on your blog.


Silviu Despa

The .sys file worked for me! Thanks, I wanted to get that fixed !

Chris Hoffman

Awesome, glad to hear it worked for someone!



Hibernate never worked for me. After selecting it, I have never been able to log back in again. Just restarts whenever I try.

Chris Hoffman

It’s possible it just won’t work with your computer, unfortunately.

Mike Brady

Have an intermittent problem on Win 7 64bit where chrome browser does not respond after hibernating, it just hangs. Even restarting the browser and the WLAN service doesn’t help, (its worse with the sleep function) so end up having to reboot.



Oddly enough deleting hiberfil.sys with the powercfg /hibernate off /hibernate on command worked. It appears the profile initiating the hibernate request couldn’t modify the file correctly, although the local administrator and winlogon could. How odd.

Chris Hoffman

It’s definitely a bizarre set of bugs. But this is Windows, where rebooting often fixes things, so it shouldnt’ be a surprise.



Thank You so much!

I just turned “auto-hide the desktop” off and suddenly my computer can resume from hibernation again, I wasn’t expecting that to work, but it did.


Jay Upadhyay

Thanks man…its really useful information for sure



I have a weird bug where every time my computer goes into power saving mode, it locks and auto-hides the taskbar. extremely annoying. Any ideas?

Tina Sieber


Have you found a solution for this issue in the meantime?



tnx it worked ,….nice one



It did work for me (disabling computer wake up capability of the network card).
Thanks a lot !

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