What Is Standby for Laptops?

Also known as sleep mode, standby makes it easy to quickly resume your work

Standby or Sleep Mode screenshot
Melanie Pinola

Instead of shutting down your laptop completely, you can choose to put it into standby mode, also known as sleep mode. Learn about the benefits and disadvantages of using standby. 


Rather than turning the entire laptop off, including the display, hard drive, and other internal devices such as optical drives, standby mode puts your computer into a low-power state. Any open documents or programs are stored in the system's random access memory (RAM) when the computer goes to "sleep."

What We Like

The main benefit is that once you start your laptop from standby, it takes just a few seconds to get back to what you were working on. You don't have to wait for the laptop to boot up, as you would if the computer was completely shut down. Compared to hibernating, another option for powering down your computer, with standby or sleep mode, the laptop resumes more quickly.

What We Don't Like

The downside, however, is that standby mode does use up some electricity because power is needed to keep the computer's state in memory. It uses more power than the hibernate mode. HowTo Geek notes that the exact amount of power used by sleep or hibernate will depend on your computer, but generally sleep mode uses just a few more watts than hibernate does and if your battery level becomes critically low during sleep, the computer will automatically switch to hibernate mode to save your computer state.

Standby is a good option for conserving laptop battery power when you will be away from your laptop for a short period of time, such as taking a break for lunch.

How to Use It

To go into standby mode, click the Windows start button, then Power, and select Sleep. For other options, such as using the power button on your computer or closing your laptop lid to put it into standby mode, see this help article from Microsoft.

Also Known As: standby mode or sleep mode.

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