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Jeremy Jameson - Founder and Principal



Disabling Hibernation in Windows Vista (and Deleting Hiberfil.sys)

This post originally appeared on my MSDN blog:

Since I no longer work for Microsoft, I have copied it here in case that blog ever goes away.

As I described in my previous post, I found myself with a paltry 320 MB of free space on a 20 GB partition after installing Windows Vista and a handful of programs (which although I specified to install on a different partition, ended up "bloating" my system partition to an unmanageable point).

In order to free up some much needed space, I decided to disable hibernation, which would seem like a straightforward process. In fact, if memory serves, this was actually quite easy in Windows XP. However, in Vista, disabling hibernation and deleting the corresponding system file is a little tricky. Note that on my laptop with 4 GB of RAM, C:\hiberfil.sys consumes about 3.37 GB -- which I really need back, thank you very much.

My initial assumption was that the option to disable hibernation lies somewhere in the Power Options area of the Control Panel. However, after poking around in there for a few minutes and not finding it, I proceeded to perform a search in Control Panel for "hibernate" which displayed the following result:

Turn hibernation on or off

Perfect...this looks like precisely the option I was looking for. Unfortunately, when I clicked this link, it just took me back to the Power Options area that I had already thoroughly explored. Figuring I had simply missed the obvious, I proceeded to set the following options under advanced power settings:


Hibernate after

On battery: Never

Plugged in: Never

Note that setting the value to 0 minutes is the same as saying "never hibernate." Okay, so now I should be able to delete the massive hiberfil.sys file, right?


Okay, so I guess Vista still has a lock on the file since I haven't rebooted since I "disabled" hibernation. Fine, I'll reboot my laptop. Now, I should finally be able to delete hiberfil.sys, right?

Still wrong.

Come on reasonable...what's it going to take to delete that file?

It turns out that the way you delete hiberfil.sys is by using the Disk Cleanup utility.

To delete hiberfil.sys in Windows Vista:

  1. Start Disk Cleanup.
  2. On the Disk Cleanup Options window, click Files from all users on this computer.
  3. On the Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection window, click select the system drive where Windows Vista is installed, and then click OK.
  4. Wait for the utility to scan the drive and then in the Disk Cleanup window, click the checkbox next to Hibernation File Cleaner, clear all of the other checkboxes, and then click OK. When prompted to confirm the operation, click Delete Files.

After performing these steps, the free space on my Windows Vista partition (C:) increased from 320 MB to 3.66 GB. Woohoo!

That should get me going for a while -- or at least until I decide to install a few more programs on E: ;-)


  1. # re: Disabling Hibernation in Windows Vista (and Deleting Hiberfil.sys)

    February 17, 2008 1:18 PM

    It would be nice if, upon setting hibernation to 0, you were prompted if you wanted to delete the hibernation file or if the system would just delete it automatically for you.

    Oh, if you use the disk cleaning utility to delete the hibernation file, you may be in for a nice little surprise when you try to re-enable hibernation.  I blogged about that here:

    Ignoring all that, however, I sitll think Vista rocks!


  2. # MSDN Blog Postings » Disabling Hibernation in Windows Vista (and Deleting Hiberfil.sys)

    February 17, 2008 9:41 AM
  3. # Hibernate On Vista

    May 18, 2008 7:53 PM

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