How to Get a Sony Vaio Out of Hibernate Mode

By Jeff Grundy

Hibernation on a Vaio laptop uses the least amount of energy among Windows power-saving modes.
i David Becker/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Like other modern Windows laptops, Sony Vaios allow you to hibernate or sleep your notebook. Sleep mode is a power-saving mode designed to let you resume using your Vaio quickly; think of it as a "Pause" button. Hibernation mode is also a power-saving state, but more akin to a "Stop" button. After a prescribed period of inactivity, hibernation mode saves open files to the hard drive and then turns off the laptop. However, rather than performing a cold boot to restore a Vaio from hibernation mode, you can just wake it. Waking a Vaio from hibernation let you load Windows and open your files and desktop much faster performing a cold boot.

How Hibernation Works

Windows offers several power-saving states that at first glance may seem to all perform the same task. However, the two primary-power saving states, sleep mode and hibernation mode, differ. Sleep is essentially a state that pauses all operations in Windows to reduce the use of power. As soon as you press a key, Windows wakes up and enables you to use the computer. Likewise, hibernation also halts operations on the PC and places the laptop into a power-saving state if Windows detects no activity on the laptop for a prescribed number of minutes or when you enable the mode manually. However, unlike sleep mode, hibernation mode actually writes open data and files from applications to the hard drive and then turns off the laptop -- but not completely. While in hibernation mode, the laptop still draws a slight amount of power from the battery or AC adapter. When you wake a Sony Vaio laptop from hibernation mode, Windows restores all of your applications and open files just as they were before the notebook entered the power-saving state. When you resume using your Vaio laptop, all Windows and applications should appear as they did when you left them.

Making It Work

Sony enables hibernation mode on all of their Vaios at the factory so there is no need to turn on the feature unless you have turned it off. If you do turn off hibernation inadvertently, you can enable and configure modes in the Power Options section of Control Panel. To place your Vaio in hibernation mode, click the Start button, and then click the arrow next to "Shut down." Select the "Hibernate" option. Alternatively, you can press "Fn - F12" to place the Vaio in hibernation mode. After a few seconds, Windows saves open program data and savings to a file named hyberfil.sys, and then shuts down the laptop. While in hibernation mode, the power-indicator light on your Vaio laptop turns off. Additionally, the Vaio will automatically enter hibernation mode if using the laptop without the AC adapter and the battery runs low or after a set period of inactivity. To return the Vaio to normal operating mode, you need only to press the "Power" button once. Be careful, though, when pressing the Power button. If you hold the Power button down for more than four seconds, the Vaio laptop will shut down completely and any unsaved data will be lost.

Hibernation Problems Due to Too Much Data

Generally speaking, you usually won't have any problems activating hibernation mode on your Sony Vaio laptop. If you experience problems with hibernation, they will usually occur when you attempt to wake up the notebook. The most common reason Windows fails to restore your desktop and programs when attempting to wake up from hibernation mode is a failure to create the hyberfil.sys file needed to store the data. This generally occurs if your hard drive doesn’t sufficient space to store the large file. Although stored only temporarily on your hard drive, the hyberfil.sys file can be several gigabytes in size depending on the number of applications you have running and the amount of RAM in your Vaio laptop. Consequently, if you're experiencing problems waking your Vaio laptop from hibernation mode, delete unneeded files and run the Windows disk cleaner to remove junk and temporary files you may not need.

Other Corrective Measures

In a few cases, Windows may create a corrupted or incomplete version of the hyberfil.sys file. If this occurs, it may prevent hibernation mode from working at all. You can usually repair this error by opening a command prompt, typing "powercfg -h off" and then pressing the "Enter" key. After you type in the command and close the command prompt window, simply reboot your Sony Vaio laptop and hibernation mode should begin working again. Finally, cannot if you cannot enable hibernation mode, or if it does not appear in the list of options on the shutdown menu, you may have inadvertently turned off power management in the Sony Vaio bios. The easiest way to correct this problem is to reset your Vaio's BIOS settings to factory defaults. You can do this by shutting down your laptop, restarting it and pressing the F2 key as you see the Sony Vaio logo screen. This procedure open the Sony BIOS menu, where you can select the Load BIOS Defaults menu option and press the Enter key. When the BIOS prompts you to do so, choose the "Save Changes and Exit" option to restart the Vaio laptop. After you restart the laptop, hibernation mode should function normally.