Vivek Agarwal’s Portal/Java Blog

An IBM Gold Consultant’s weblog about IBM, Lotus, WebSphere, J2EE, IT Processes, and other IT technologies

Does Windows XP hibernate take too long?

Posted by Vivek Agarwal on September 24, 2008

I recently ran into a problem with “hibernate” on my Windows XP Dell Latitude D830 starting to take 5+ minutes. My laptop used to take roughly 20-25 seconds to complete the hibernation process, but recently it started to take way longer. I did not realize it initially because I would kick off hibernation, close the laptop, and put it away in my laptop bag. Then one day I found that my laptop was incredibly hot and the next time I actually observed the hibernation process take place painfully slowly and I knew I had a problem.

Yes, this problem was on the same D830 laptop that I have been experiencing freeze issues on. I had been fiddling around with various changes on my laptop in the hope of resolving my freeze issues and I figured that one of my changes must have caused this hibernation slowdown. I had done several things including installing Windows XP SP3, updating drivers, and disabling various programs, but none of them seemed like the root cause of the issue other than SP3 which seemed like a remote possibility. Then, I recalled that I had also disabled “write caching” on hard drive in the hope of fixing my freeze issue. Well – turning that back on fixed my hibernation slowdown – I am back to being able to hibernate in 20-25 seconds. Now, why this behavior happens is not something I have bothered to research, but I am happy to be past this as I use hibernation extensively. Of course, am hoping that “write caching” does not re-excite my freeze issue or else I will no choice but to live with a slow hibernate process.

Cutting out all my babble – if your Windows XP hibernation process is taking too long, a possible reason is that write caching is turned off for your hard disk – turn it on and you should be good!

16 Responses to “Does Windows XP hibernate take too long?”

  1. Chintan Sejpal said

    Thanks a lot.. It helped me at real time..

  2. Bernd said

    YES! It works!
    I was looking for a solution for that problem for weeks. I was searching the internet for German keywords, now I had the idea to try it in English.
    Thank Google I found your site, thank you I found the solution.
    Thank you very much.
    Best regards

    For those who first like me have to think about where to change the settings for “write caching” (“Schreibcache” in German): It’s in the properties (Eigenschaften) of the respective hard disk drive > hardware > properties (Eigenschaften) > guidelines (Richtlinien)

  3. Mike in NC said

    Thanks, that fixed it for me!

  4. Kunal said

    But what if the write caching is already enabled?

    I have the same issue with my desktop. Hibernate was super fast until a week ago. But has been ultra slow since then. I checked hard drive settings and found write caching is already turned on. Anything else I can try?


    • Rich said

      me too, the caching is turned on and it still takes over 30 minutes to hibernate….what else can I look at?

  5. Prasanth said

    Thanks. I was wondering what happened to my machine and forgot turning off this option. Now hibernate works fast as before.

  6. mugen said

    Could you please tell me how to enable write caching? Searching for it is showing up lots of technical stuff.

    • Vivek Agarwal said

      * Select your c: logical drive (or drive where your hibernate file is saved) in Windows Explorer
      * Right-click on it and select properties
      * Switch to hardware tab
      * Select your hard drive
      * Click on properties
      * Switch to Policies tab
      * Check “Enable write caching on disk”

  7. monty said

    What other possible solutions are there to this problem? I’ve tried the write cache thing but it didn’t correct it.

  8. Jose L. Carrasquillo said

    ooh man thanks!!!
    I solved the problem just like you said.

    Jose L. Carrasquillo

  9. Robin U said

    The “enable write caching” solution is bogus. You should modify your response so that others reading your answer don’t waste their time.

    The REAL reason is that XP now uses the drive via PIO instead of DMA. That bit of info is enough to lead people in the right direction, rather than send them chasing their tails.

    • Jessie Geronimo said

      The PIO/DMA setting is just one reason, and it is less common than disabled write cache. The “enable write cache” solution will probably help more people than resetting the DMA.

      Another solution is to disable your page file, reboot and then re-enable the page file. Sometimes a corrupt page file will cause this problem.

  10. trev said

    Thank you very much! Been searching a while for a solution. My old hibernation time was nearly 20 minutes, enabled write cache and it is now back down to 20 seconds! (has always been on DMA setting).

  11. ddi said

    Thank you for the tip! I never really use the regular shutdown anymore. It’s kind of pointless when I can save my work status for the same amount of time. But suddenly it became really slow. When I read your article I remembered that just hours ago I unchecked the “write caching” option. Checking it again solved the problem.

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