Standby and hibernate are 2 extremely useful functions that you can use because of the time it saves you from booting up your computer. Once you’re done with your work session, and need to leave your desk, simply choose standby or hibernate. These two sleep modes are fantastic for laptops as well.
But what’s the difference? Hibernate saves an image of your current session with all open applications and files. Then it powers down your computer (exactly as if you had turned it off). When you next switch your computer on, you will see exactly the same applications and files open as you had left them. In this state, your computer is exactly as though it’s turned off — no power is needed in hibernate mode.
Standby is a sleep mode that reduces the power that your computer uses to almost nothing. The keyword is “almost”. When you use standby mode, your computer cuts the power to your screen, hard drive, peripheral devices…in fact, anything except your computer’s memory (RAM) is cut. This is because the RAM will maintain a copy of your working session.
I’ve had people tell me that moving your notebook around while it’s in standby mode will shake up the harddrive when it’s spinning and cause hard disk problems. Utter rubbish. The hard drive is powered down during standby, much less in hibernate mode.