Windows 8 hibernation & SSDs

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by CuteBirdy, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. CuteBirdy

    CuteBirdy MDL Junior Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    Windows 8 makes a hidden hibernation file in the root directory, which is huge (about 75% of the RAM).

    I am aware that the hibernation file is supposed to allow you to enter hibernation, which I don't ever use, and to speed up Windows loading from boot, which may be useful.

    For a conventional hard drive, which is slow, hibernation might be a good thing, as it speeds up loading time. But if we have a solid state drive, which is already very fast at loading, is it better to turn off hibernation?

    Of concern is the fact that SSDs can't be written to too much. I am afraid that with this huge hibernation file on the SSD, it will be constantly updated with new data each session, causing unnecessary wear and tear on the SSD.
  2. Rand

    Rand MDL Novice

    Dec 7, 2007
    The hibernation file won't be written to unless you do hibernate the computer, if you let it go to sleep or do a full system shutdown every time then it'll never be touched. It's only written to when you actively choose to hibernate.

    Keep in mind though that Windows 8's full system shutdown isn't a complete shutdown anymore, it uses a subset of hibernate to save the kernel state and which isn't much less disk writes then full hibernate is. That (along with making the bootloader part of the OS itself, and hence requiring a second reboot to access anything outside of it) was done to speed up boot times. So if disk write cycles is a major concern for you then a conventional shutdown won't save you much over hibernation as it would have in Windows 7 or earlier, if you multi-boot it'll need significantly more disk writes then before.

    Setting the system to go to sleep is the only viable means of substantially reducing disk writes to the SSD when the system isn't in use, otherwise Windows 8 will always be writing much of the system state to disk when it shuts down.

    In any case, classic hibernate can be disabled by opening an elevated command prompt and typing in powercfg -h off. That's disable hibernate and delete the hiberfil.sys. It won't do anything about the new system state save on shutdown however, as mentioned the only way to avoid it as going to sleep.
  3. CuteBirdy

    CuteBirdy MDL Junior Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    #3 CuteBirdy, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
    I am not sure about your last sentence. Are you saying that even if we disable hibernate and delete the hiberfil.sys file, whenever we shutdown properly, it will still write as much info to the SSD as when we have hibernate on? If that's the case, which directory does Windows 8 write the info to, so I can monitor how many megabytes it is taking up whenever I shut down?

    Also, how many megabytes of write are we talking about whenever we shut down, is it is only a few mbs (which I can live with) or are we talking about a few hundred (which is going to hurt the SSD)? I reboot the computer a fair bit to try different settings, that's why I am interested.
  4. Puremin0rez

    Puremin0rez MDL Senior Member

    Nov 24, 2010
    The new Fast Boot option actually makes my computer boot slower on my Pyro SE SSD. I just disabled Hibernation using powercfg -h off and it turned that feature off aswell. Boot up is nice and fast again :)
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  5. danielkza

    danielkza MDL Novice

    Aug 17, 2012
    Seems like a bug of some sort, because both my systems run SSDs (OCZ Solid 2 and Samsung SSD 830) and have seen improvements even though boot in Windows 7 was already fast. In Windows 8 I can barely see the Windows logo showing up.
  6. mickyjim

    mickyjim MDL Novice

    Aug 18, 2009
    From command run as admin

    powercfg hibernate off

    kills it
  7. pega2k

    pega2k MDL Novice

    Nov 17, 2010


    The swapfile.sys is the file that windows will use to store the kernel at shutdown to do the fast boot. If you wan to avoid that you can go to Control Panel\Power Options\Choose what the power button does\Change setting that are currently unavailable and uncheck the option that says Turn on fast startup (recommended) then the button Save changes and you you are done with the hibernating the kernel at shutdown.
  8. dailyinsanity

    dailyinsanity MDL Junior Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    the above method about turning hibernation off is indeed a good thing to do. I did it when I installed it August 3rd and it boots faster!