I'm really confused about these keywords used in Ubuntu. I've a little knowledge about suspend and hibernate in Ubuntu and how does it work. But I've no idea about what are the differences between sleep and standby. In result what are the differences between these four often used terms in Ubuntu?

I searched in Google before asking here but didn't get any answer specific to Ubuntu.

I'll be very happy to get a good definition, and appreciate for the time given to answer this question.

  • 1
    @ThomasW.: Answer given by rajagenupula says Sleep and Suspend are same.. You comments says Standby and Sleep are same. Does it mean Suspend and Standby are same? :P Nov 2, 2013 at 1:51
  • @ThomasW.: I've found them as different. Because when my system suspends, I lost my internet connection, but when my system goes in standby mode it doesn't. Actually asked this question to be clear between standby and suspend, so that I'll ask my actual problem. Nov 2, 2013 at 2:02
  • Where do you base that distinction, Saurav? There's an "idle" mode where your screen locks, and there's a "standby"/"sleep" mode where your computer goes into low power mode and turns off networking, your monitor, etc. There's also hibernate which saves your session to disk. What makes you think there's an additional mode where your computer keeps the networking up but stops processing other data?
    – Thomas Ward
    Nov 2, 2013 at 4:02

3 Answers 3


What's the difference between sleep, suspend, and hibernate?

  • Sleep (sometimes called Standby or “turn off display”) typically means that your computer and/or monitor are put into an idle, low power state. Depending on your operating system, sleep is sometimes used interchangeably with suspend (as is the case in Ubuntu based systems). What sleep does on your system should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
  • Suspend saves its current state to your RAM and puts the computer and all peripherals on a low power consumption mode. If the battery runs out or the computer turns off for some reason, the current session and unsaved changes will be lost.
  • When a computer hibernates (sometimes called suspend to disk), it will save its current state to the hard disk and power down completely. When resuming, the saved state is restored to RAM.

Saurav. I am answering this under my knowledge. Ubuntu dont have separate things suspend & sleep. When ever a Ubuntu system getting to be on suspend Ubuntu uses /etc/acpi/sleep.sh to enter/leave suspend mode. So that name indicating both suspend & sleep are calling the same script and they will have equal functionality.

If you want to know about what task will take care at the time of suspend/sleep means please read here : Wiki Ubuntu Community

Usually Hibernation means we know that it will saves the current state of the system.


When a computer hibernates, it will save its current state to the hard disk and power down completely. When next the computer boots, the prior state is restored just as you left it.

For more about Hibernation : Wiki Ubuntu Community

  • I appreciate for the time given to answer this, but still it is not complete. What about standby? The links do not say much about it. Nov 2, 2013 at 2:15
  • Standby , I didn't know much about it technically
    – Raja G
    Nov 2, 2013 at 2:46

Hibernation stores all the necessary settings, registers, and RAM memory as a non-volatile magnetic trace to hard disk. The power can then be totally removed. {Plug withdrawn}. On restart everything is reset to how it was except the real-time. The software of some Apps may have to give special consideration to this. S/by - preserves low voltage power to the RAM and such other registers as will be needed to be preserved. Power to the discs is removed after they are parked. {+/-12V} The power saving is considerable typically 95%. So if your PC was running 100W normally it will consume 5W in S/by or Sleep modes. In Hibernation mode it is (or can be) Zero. BjG

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