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August 4, 2020

Disabling Hibernation Resolves Power-on Mystery


On one of my Dev Channel test machines, I’ve been mildly annoyed by a behavioral change since Build 20170 made its debut on July 15. After a while, my Lenovo X380 Yoga test PC would go dormant. I had to click the power button to get it running again. At first, I assumed that the Power Options had been reset and some kind of sleep state was kicking in. I had to reconsider this assumption when I checked Power Options and saw that my prior setting of “Never” for either sleep state (on battery or plugged in) remained unaltered. Similar surfing through other settings in Power Options showed me that other settings likewise wouldn’t cause the PC to put itself out of action. I thereupon put this issue on the back burner, and let my unconscious chip away at this situation. “What could cause the PC to go into a sleep state that requires power-on?” I asked myself.

An “Aha!” Induced Experiment Solves Power-on Mystery

After letting my unconscious chew on the problem for quite some while, the solution came to me on Saturday morning July 25. “What if,” I asked myself “the hibernate option got turned back on in Powercfg? That would mean turning it back off would prevent the PC from going into hibernation, and having the push the power button to start it back up.” Thus, I entered the hibernation kill string powercfg /hibernate off in an administrative PowerShell window on that PC. I haven’t had to hit the power button on the X380 since then. As it had been prior to installing 20170, the machine is now ready to respond each time I run RDP to fire up a remote session, or hit the touchpad to log into it directly.

Not All Resets Result in Optimal Outcomes

This cryptic heading means that upgrades and updates may sometimes reset system behaviors to defaults. Not all such defaults — for example, turning hibernation back on — are always for the best. I’m not sure what’s causing the X380 to hibernate when hibernation is enabled. But I have learned that disabling hibernation fixes my issue of having to manually and physically wake the machine after it’s been idle for a while. Indeed, I now know that one can always tell if hibernation is disabled or enabled by looking at the Shutdown options in the Power Options utility (I was looking at the right tool, apparently, but in the wrong place). If hibernate appears under “Shutdown settings” it’s enabled on the target PC; if absent, it’s disabled. I show the information from my road machine in the lead-in graphic for this story. Its content affirms that indeed, hibernation is enabled on that PC. As the next screencap shows, that option no longer appears in Shutdown settings on the Dev Channel X380 PC:

disabling hibernation resolves power-on mystery.devchannelx380

With hibernation disabled, the hibernate entry disappears from “Shutdown settings.” Don’t ask me why “Turn on fast startup…” is now absent, too!

I’m still not exactly sure WHY enabling hibernation on my Dev Channel X380 causes it to sleep so deeply when idle.  Beyond some as-yet undetermined timeout interval, in fact, I must depress the power button to get that PC going once again. I am sure, however, that disabling hibernation on that PC causes that unwanted behavior to cease.

The weird thing is, I have a second X380 Yoga (it serves as my road laptop these days) that is configured nearly identically to the Dev Channel PC. (The only hardware difference is that the Dev Channel PC has a Samsung OEM 1 TB SSD, while the road laptop has a Toshiba OEM 1 TB SSD.) The only other difference between them is the version of Windows 10 they run: Dev Channel on the one, Release Preview Channel on the other. And only the Dev Channel PC (temporarily) displayed the “must press power button to wake from hibernation” behavior, now fixed. Case closed!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

One Response “Disabling Hibernation Resolves Power-on Mystery”

  1. Andrew Fox
    July 30, 2020 at 05:51

    in the power plan options there is a “hibernate after” setting which I assume is enabled on your power plan. Just need to edit the plan and change it to 0 minutes to disable it.

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