March 24, 2023

  • If your laptop goes to sleep while gaming, there may be a problem with your battery or CPU.
  • When gaming, your laptop’s CPU can overheat, forcing it to shut down.
  • You should also make sure that your laptop is not set to sleep automatically after a set amount of time.

When you close the lid of a laptop or leave it for long enough, it usually goes into “hibernation” mode. You can’t use your computer when it’s hibernating, but it saves power.

Your laptop should never start hibernating while you’re using it, especially when you’re gaming. But if it does, there are usually several possible reasons — although not all of them are easy to fix.

Here are six common reasons why a laptop unexpectedly sleeps, and how to fix it.

Your power options are not set correctly

Windows gives you many ways to customize how much power your laptop uses and how long it takes for the screen to turn off. Both of these factors could be the reason why your laptop keeps hibernating.

in Windows 10

First, right-click the battery icon in the lower right corner of the screen and select Power Options. This will open a menu allowing you to select the current power plan for your laptop. The exact plan your laptop offers will vary depending on the make and model you use.

If you’re going to be gaming, you should make sure to use the most powerful power plan. This will consume more battery power but allow your system to run more efficiently.

But whatever plan you choose, go ahead and click Change plan settings options next to it. In the menu that opens, you can change how long the laptop needs to sleep.

Change plan settings menu in Windows 10.

Change the time limit so your computer doesn’t go to sleep.

Microsoft; William Antonelli/Insider

Usually, these time limits shouldn’t be a problem when you’re gaming — again, your computer should never sleep while you’re using it — but it’s a good idea to extend the time limits just to be on the safe side.

Next, go back to the Power Options menu and click Choose what the power button does In the upper left corner. This lets you choose exactly what happens if you press the laptop’s power button, sleep button (if any), and close the lid. Make sure none of them are set to hibernate.

You should also click on options at the top Change settings that are currently unavailablethen uncheck hibernate options. This will ensure that your laptop does not hibernate.

This "Define the power button" Menu in Windows 10.

Disable the Hibernate option.

Microsoft; William Antonelli/Insider

If you want to go even fartheryou can disable hibernation completely at the system level by opening the Command Prompt application and typingpowercfg.exe /hibernate off. “

in Windows 11

Windows 11 has fewer power options than Windows 10, but there are still some settings to customize.

First, right-click the battery icon in the lower right corner of the screen and select Power and sleep settings.

In the menu that opens, use the drop-down menu next to power modeand select best performance options. This will ensure your computer runs as well as possible.

Next, click screen and sleep options. Change the time limit so your laptop doesn’t go to sleep prematurely.

Laptop battery is too old

Whether your laptop is $100 or $1000, no laptop battery will last forever. Over time, your battery will gradually lose its ability to hold a charge. That means charging takes longer and the laptop dies faster.

If it’s too worn out, your battery may even drain faster than it charges — especially if you’re running programs that stress your system a lot, like most modern video games. So even if your laptop is plugged in, it will eventually reach critical battery power and go to sleep.

There isn’t much you can do to fix this problem other than completely replacing the battery. Depending on the type of laptop you have, this might not even be an option; not all laptops offer replaceable parts. Please contact your laptop manufacturer for complete details.

This isn’t a long-term solution and carries some risks, but you can extend battery life by turning off critical battery thresholds.

Usually, your laptop will hibernate before the battery is completely drained so that you don’t lose any data. Turning these thresholds off removes this security, so the computer stays on until it’s completely dead. This will give you more playtime, but you risk losing unsaved progress when your computer shuts down.

To do this, search on your PC Edit a power plan. In the menu that opens, click Change advanced power settings.

inside advanced settings menu, expand Battery option at the very bottom, then expand critical battery level options.Set the two percentages to 0%.

The Advanced Settings battery menu in Windows 10.

Zeroing the percentage will keep your computer running until the battery runs out.

Microsoft; William Antonelli/Insider

Your CPU is too hot

This is one of the most likely culprits, especially if your laptop is older or its fan is blocked.

When you play video games on your laptop, the CPU (and GPU) starts to heat up. That’s why your computer has an internal fan: to help expel hot air and help keep internal components cool.

But laptop fans aren’t very powerful and can easily clog the vents. This means that your laptop’s CPU will be hotter than your average PC’s CPU when gaming.

If your CPU overheats, it forces your computer to hibernate to protect itself from damage.

The only way to stop this — aside from playing less resource-intensive games — is to keep your computer as cool as possible.

Elevate the laptop to expose the bottom when gaming. This is where most vents are located, and they require open space to work. Consider buying a laptop stand without the bottom, or including an extra fan.

If possible, take the occasional moment to open the lower half of the laptop and remove any dust or grime from it. These can heat up internal components and can block fans and vents. You may need to take the laptop to a repair shop to do this.

The same repair shop may also replace the CPU’s thermal paste, which is a thick gel that helps the CPU cool down. It usually dries up after a few years, making it easier for the CPU to reach dangerous temperatures.

Even if your CPU temperature isn’t an issue, it’s always worth installing a program to help you measure your computer’s heat.

your driver is not working

Many of your computer’s most important processes are controlled by drivers. These are software that tell certain programs or hardware components how to behave.

Like all software, drivers sometimes need to be updated. If your drivers run for too long without an update – or if some get updates while others are still out of date – you may run into problems. One of the problems could be that your laptop unexpectedly hibernates when you try to play a game.

If hibernation only triggers when you’re gaming, there’s a problem with your display driver (the driver that controls your graphics card).

Different drivers are updated in different ways, but you can manage most of them through your PC’s Device Manager. If your PC has an NVIDIA graphics card, you may also need a separate application.

Device Manager in Windows 10 with the Update Driver option highlighted.

Update your drivers for best performance.

Microsoft; William Antonelli/Insider

If all else fails, reinstalling Windows is an easy (but usually not very quick) way to clear corrupted data.

There is a problem with the game you are playing

It’s unlikely, but there’s a chance that the game you’re trying to play is malfunctioning so much that it has to do with your computer’s power settings. This can sometimes happen after you have installed defective mods or conflicting mods.

Does the random hibernate only trigger when you’re playing a specific game? If so, the game may be to blame. Either try changing its settings in some way to avoid the hibernation crash, or uninstall the game and walk away.

you may have a virus

If we had written this 15 years ago, this would have been one of the most likely scenarios. These days, with better built-in antivirus software than ever, that’s rare.

But computer viruses are still a threat and can still wreak havoc on your system. Let it spread, and it’s not hard for a virus to randomly put your computer to sleep.

Every computer comes with Microsoft Defender preinstalled. Make sure it’s turned on and you’re running virus scans regularly. Despite being free, Defender is one of the best antivirus programs out there, so it should be able to catch and remove any viruses hiding in your system.

Windows Security menu in Windows 10.

If you think you have a virus, run a scan.

Microsoft; William Antonelli/Insider

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