What is hiberfil.sys and how do I delete it?

Categories: Howto, Windows

Did you also notice a giant (apparently) useless hiberfil.sys sitting in your C:\?! So did I. Well, it is nothing but “a placeholder if we choose to hibernate the system.” The geeky information here is if the user chooses to hibernate instead of sleep or shutdown then the entire RAM (at that point in time) is written out to the hard drive before power-down. And, hiberfil.sys is what holds the entire memory on the hard disk. Fascinating, yeah?! 😉

Well I decided I don’t need hibernation. I normally put my laptop for a sleep and never hibernate. So why waste nearly 6GB of precious hard disk space?! But then can I delete this file? No & Yes.

  • No. We should _not_ delete this file manually. Nothing might happen but something can happen.
  • Yes. We can remove the file by instructing the OS to do so. A much neater approach.

Disable Hibernate

Disable the hibernate mode will automatically delete the hiberfil.sys. I got a Windows 7 box and so will show how to do so in that. This can be done very quickly & easily from the command line. Open an administrator mode command prompt by right-
clicking the command prompt icon in the start menu and then choosing ‘Run as Administrator’. Then run the following command
on the prompt:

powercfg command line
powercfg command line

Gotcha! 🙂

Here is visual verification! A before:

Start Menu Before
Start Menu Before

…. and an after:

Start Menu After
Start Menu After

Voila! 🙂



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