Every Windows 11 Sleep State, Explained

There are a total of six Sleep States in Windows 11. Each is defined by a different level of power consumption and activity on your computer. Understanding how your computer uses and saves power can be the first step towards using less energy and prolonging battery life.

So, let’s explore which sleep states Windows 11 supports and how to check which ones are supported on your PC.

Windows 11’s Power States, Explained

Windows 11 has a range of power states, and each one serves a specific purpose.

Working State – Sleep State 0 (S0)

Your computer is defined as being in Sleep State 0 when it is fully operational and usable. In other words, it is awake. No internal hardware components are in the low power state. Your monitor can be off or on in this sleep state.

Sleeping – Sleep State 1 – 3 (S1 – S3)

Sleep States 1 to 3 refers to increasing levels of computer sleep. The longer your Windows computer isn’t used, the deeper into these three states it will drop. Hardware components will gradually enter the different sleep states based on their importance to the system.

Not all computers will enter the deepest of these three sleep states. The system automatically enters the deepest state supported by the wake-up devices enabled on your computer. For example, the keyboard, trackpad, and USB devices may remain powered to allow them to wake the computer when used.

Volatile memory, such as RAM, is kept refreshed. This allows the system to retain the state it was in when it entered sleep.

These individual Sleep States are not user-selectable, and it is unlikely you will be able to tell the difference between them. To you, the system will either appear awake, asleep or off.

Hibernate – Sleep State 4 (S4)

Hibernation is the deepest sleep state level. When your computer is in hibernate mode, it will appear to be turned off. In this Sleep State, even volatile memory like RAM is powered down. The contents of the volatile memory will be saved to a new file, called the hibernation file, at the point the system enters this state.

You can enable hibernation mode in Windows 11’s Power Options. Once enabled, the option to enter hibernation mode will appear in the Power Menu alongside Sleep, Shut Down, and Restart.

Soft Off – Sleep State 5 (S5)

Otherwise known as a Full Shutdown, Soft Off occurs when a computer is restarted. When you restart your computer, it might seem like it turns off for a second or two. It doesn’t. Instead, it enters this sleep state before it is rebooted.

Hybrid Sleep

Hybrid Sleep is an extra sleep state available on some computers. It combines the activation of a higher-power sleep state (S1 – S3) with the creation of a hibernation file. If power is lost while the system sleeps, it can be restored from the hibernation file. It is not available on all systems and is usually reserved for desktop computers.

Which Sleep States Can My PC Use?

Not every PC will support every single sleep state. If you want to double-check which ones your PC can achieve, check our guide on how to check the supported power states on Windows 11 for more information.

Sleep States 1-3 Vs. Modern Standby

Modern Standby is an instant sleep/wake power state. It is also known as S0 Low-power Idle mode. In this sleep state, parts of the system continue to run in the background. This allows it to perform system actions without exiting sleep but then wake instantly when real-time action is required.

It allows a computer to wake from sleep more quickly than the standard 1-3 sleep states. It is similar to the sort of sleep state a smartphone uses.

Although it was introduced in Windows 10, Modern Standby isn’t available on all Windows devices. If you want to know if this state is available on your computer, have a look at our article on enabling and disabling Modern Standby.

Understanding Windows 11’s Sleep States

You can’t pick and choose between all the different sleep states in Windows 11. But by better understanding how your system uses power, you are in a better position to save energy and prolong the battery life of laptops.

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