Blog Post

Standby and Resume- not just a concept anymore

I get a lot of comments from laptop users who don’t use one of the best convenience features in Windows XP.  Microsoft has included Standby and Hibernate options in the Shutdown menu for quite some time but since early implementations did not work very well people stopped using them.  Standby provides the ability to shut down your computer while providing just enough power to keep everything in memory which makes resuming your work very fast.  Hibernation (accessed by holding down the Shift key when the Shutdown menu is on the screen) is for longer periods of inactivity and writes the entire contents of memory to the hard disk. This takes longer to resume your work but is much quicker than booting the computer.  Standby uses a little bit of power to keep the memory "live" but Hibernation does not use any battery at all.

Tablet PC and UPC users are well aware how stable this has become since WinXP SP2.  The Standby and Hibernation functions work properly when used as designed and can greatly extend the battery life and get you up ad running very quickly.  Laptop owners should realize this too but from the comments I get many users are not using it because they still think it unstable or slow.  I also hear from users who state that they boot their laptop everyday and quite frankly there is just no good reason to do so.  These days the only time I boot my laptop or my UPC is when a Windows Update requires a restart. I booted my Sony U last night for the first time in about 3 weeks and haven’t booted my laptop in over a month.  So you laptop owners try Standby and Hibernation instead of shutting down totally, even if connected to power.   You will start up quicker in the mornings, and exert much less stress to the components in your laptop.

On my Sony U Standby and Resume takes just 2 seconds each and Hibernation just 10 seconds.

25 Responses to “Standby and Resume- not just a concept anymore”

  1. Maryam Atighechi

    Can someone please help me!!! I’m taking the California bar exam in a week and my computer freezes at start up mode on the Sony Viao page. Can I constantly keep my laptop on standby until the exam is over? It is possible to keep a laptop in standby mode for over a week constantly, I’ll keep it charged throughout as well.

  2. Can somebody help me with my STANDBY problems?

    Every time, after I’ve been to the internet, my computer doesn’t want to stay in STANDBY mode. That is: it always restarts right away.

    But: if I dont go to the internet it goes normally to standby.

    What could be the problem?

  3. Hello,

    now suddenly my computer, xp, doesn’t want to stay in standby. it just stays there for a few seconds and then awakes again.

    what I have recently done is, I think, to download 3 antispy programs.

    get skype

    and, incidentally, got service pack 2

    Can somebody help me please?

  4. Something for Kevin C. Tofel:

    I recently had a problem with our Windows XP Home Edition pc. My wife was having a problem putting her laptop in stand by mode. It seems the main cause was because her pc wasn’t shutting down properly either.
    The fix was using the registry. Start,Run, regedit
    HKey_Local_Machine/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/Current Version/Winlogon Double Click Winlogon and look for a key called PowerDownAfterShutdown Modify that key to be 1 instead of a 0.

  5. “Ever since upgrading to XP SP2 on my Inspiron 8100 I’ve have problems coming out of stand by mode.”

    I have had exactly the same problem with my Inspiron 8200 since I installed xp sp2. I eventually found the source of the problem. sp2 has a utility called Data Execution Prevention (DEP). Microsoft explains what this does here:

    You need to disable this or find out what program is conflicting with DEP. My setting was the default ‘Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs and services only’. To see the setting: Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Data Execution Protection.

    I decided to disable DEP altogether. I’m now exposed to more risk until Microsoft release a service pack to resolve the problem.

    To turn it off you have to go into Boot.ini in the root of your C: and put AlwaysOff as the setting for /NoExecute:


    Hope this helps. It worked for me. But I would look out for a patch to resolve this so that you can revert back to having DEP’s added protection.

    I found a hotfix that I think would solve the problem… but I would rather wait for a properly tested service pack.

    If you decide to install the hotfix please let me know how it went. If you come across a service pack please also let me know as I dont use windows update.



  6. Simon

    Hey there,

    I think stand by and hibernation are great! I use stand by when i need to leave my laptop for 10 mins or more, and hibernation when changing the battery in my laptop.

    Just recently (after a fresh install of xp sp2) i’ve noticed that my laptop’s taking a long time to resume from stand by. Whereas it’s supposed to take about 5 seconds, it now takes way over 12 seconds. I know this seems pathetic, but it’s irritating!

    Thanks for any help!!


  7. I have hp laptop and when it comes out of standby mode the minimization and maximization of windows gets slower than usual. If I shutdown and restart the computer it becomes fine. I contacted the hp customer support too but they could not help me either. Its very frustrating.

  8. Hans Frick

    I have a Gateway 450 and I always used suspend and resume without any problems, but recently I installed service pack 2 for windows XP and since that time my suspend and resume does not work anymore. When I want to turn the computer back on it just freezes, the screen stays black and nothing happens anymore, then I need to reboot. So far I have not found any info on what is causing the problem, but it is clearly associated with service pack 2.

  9. jk, thanks for the info. Unfortunately I can find virtually nothing on the Dell site that has been of any help. Also, I am running absolutely no utilities in the background other than the services that Microsoft has for the WinXP OS. I don’t even have any startup items starting/running (I’ve disabled all of them as I don’t like them anyway). I’ve even uninstalled MSN Explorer since I do not like that program at all. If there are any Microsoft services that may be causing this problem by sucking up resources then I am at a loss. I have no idea how to track something like that down. I’ve even scanned the web for some kind of utility that can interactively monitor what processes or background tasks/services may be using certain resources and how much of those resources. Unfortunately I have not found anything yet. By the way, hibernate mode seems to work just fine. It’s just standby that causes this problem.

  10. Mark, any problems I have seen with Standby/ Resume have always been the results of some program running in the background that doesn’t release its resources when it gets the notification to go Standby. I recently tested MSN Search and it interfered with Standby every single time. If you run a bunch of background utilities your risk of having something interfere greatly increases. I like the Konfabulator utility a lot but have toned down the number of widgets I was using dramatically as it slowed down the Standby and Resume problem significantly. If Dell support can’t help you then check Dell user’s forums to see what others say about this. I would bet you are not alone with this problem as you’ve described it. Good luck!

  11. Ever since upgrading to XP SP2 on my Inspiron 8100 I’ve have problems coming out of stand by mode. It seems to come out quick enough, and appears to be fine. But from that point on every action seems to cause a slight delay in the mouse and keyboard. Things like opening an explorer window, navigating an explorer window, scrolling an internet explorer window, dragging a window around the screen, and even simply moving the mouse around in circles. Every action causes the mouse to delay for just a moment (anywhere from .5 to about 3 seconds). Rebooting the system does absolutely no good whatsoever. The only thing that seems to fix the problem is to completely shutdown the system and then restart it. After restarting, all response time is back to being instantaneous. Of course, if I close the lid again (thereby forcing stand by mode), then reopen the lid (thereby resuming from stand by mode), the problem reappears. I’ve completely rebuilt my system from scratch and have virtually no additional software installed, yet. Not even my antivirus software has been put back on. The problem still exists. I’m running 512 MB of RAM on a 866 MHZ PIII. This problem is very annoying.

  12. Hibernation is like russian roulette. It only takes a single incompatible .dll or .vxd file to corrupt the entire file tables and potentially cause you to reformat. Thats why they sometimes include special hibernation rebuild utilities (in case something does go wrong) From my own experience, back to my first x86/286 laptop, its best to exclusively use the standby/resume function and not hibernate at all. Besides, if you know you’re going to using the laptop the next day its much faster. Hibernation is only good for ‘bookmarking’ when you know you will be away from your laptop for extended periods 10days/1month. In that case, you might as well power off!

    my $0.02

  13. Every problem I have encountered with Standby or Hibernation has been caused by a specific program which wasn’t shutting down property. Utilities can often interfere with system functions. I recently tried MSN Search and removed it as it totally hosed the Standby function. If Standby stops working on your system try to determine which program is the culprit and disable it for a test. I use it on multiple systems, even desktops, with no problems at all.

  14. I use standby on my tabletpc, but its started to get really slow coming out of standby, up to 1 or 2 minutes, I think its a XP issue as my dell d600 does it as well, its completely ruins the nice feature of having a tablet that you can flick on and off in a second…

    Love to know how to fix it, but I’m waiting to order the Tosh m200 as a replacement to my old fujistu ST4110.

    Never used the hybernate as I heard bad things about it as well screwing up the Fujistu XP installation..

  15. I’ve used hibernation mostly since I got my acer c100 two years ago (is it that long ago?). I agree that it’s often overlooked by most users, most likely because it’s hidden under the shift key.

    One thing I have found is that every few days I need to do a proper shutdown, as my tablet seems to get a little slower.

    I would like to see an “instant on” feature on a tablet like my pocket pc. I don’t see why the OS can’t be stored in ROM memory, which could be written to by the user… Dreaming again…

  16. I use hibernation a lot and only observed two problems ever (which are easy to circumnavigate):

    1) an older version of pgpdisk (a file encryption utility) broke the hibernation feature

    2) At some point some versions of kerio personal firewall caused serious problems. This has been fixed. in mor erecent versions, I believe. But the problem seems to be not too uncommon for personal firewalls in general.


  17. Weird. I’ve been doing both for a few years on laptops, and now on a Tablet, and I’ve never had any problems. It definitely makes working on battery last longer. I also blank my screen if I know I’ll need to write something momentarily, but don’t want to go to standby.

  18. I’ve heard stories of others having major problems with hibernate – i.e., requiring a complete re-load of XP. Granted, some of that may be attributed to their configuration, and I’m a firm believer that very few solitary programs cause problems on their own these days, but hear these has made me think twice about using it.

    Also, if I standby/resume too many times on my Thinkpad, I often find that my external USB 2.0 hub tends to act up. Probably my config! :)

  19. Good point and GREAT timing as I have been researching how to maximize portable battery life for the past 48 hours.

    Standby and Hibernate can work well for those on the go. I just timed both on a convertible Tablet PC: Standby shuts down in 2 seconds restarts in 5. Hibernate shuts down and starts up in roughly 13 seconds for each action. No more of the “Turn Off” option for me!