Like bears in the wintertime, your laptop can go into hibernation. When you use a laptop, you often need to conserve battery power. If you are in a situation where you want to save power, but don't want to shut down completely, you can tell your laptop to "hibernate." When you tell it to hibernate, Windows XP saves your open windows, stores whatever you had in memory on the hard disk, and shuts the computer down. The next time you turn on your computer, your windows return to where they were.
To configure your computer to hibernate, you need to set it up in the XP power management options. Choose Start|Settings|Control Panel| and double-click Power Options. In the Hibernate tab, make sure there's a checkmark next to Enable Hibernation. In the Power Schemes tab, you also can set when the system hibernates automatically.
To tell your computer to hibernate, choose Start|Shut Down or Start|Turn Off Computer. You should be able to choose Hibernate as an option. If it's not there, and you only see Standby, Turn off and Restart, try pressing the Shift key. The Standby button changes to Hibernate.
Standby is different from Hibernation. Standby turns off various energy-draining options while you aren't using your computer to save power. It takes less time to restore a computer from Standby than it does from hibernation. On many laptops, you have to push the power button to revive it. Similarly, if you hibernate your computer, generally, you need to press the power button to wake it back up.
Editor's Note: A reader named Jean pointed out that you shouldn't hibernate a computer when it's running any program that writes directly to the hard disk, such as a FileMaker database. You could corrupt the data or crash the program.