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I use a laptop with 2*120 GB 7200 RPM drives running windows vista home premium with sp2. Does using Hiberanation decrease the life of the hard disk? I usually have visual studio, sql server, 10 tabs in Firefox open.

I am not concerned about having the wireless/wired connections restored when i start the machine from hibernation

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Hibernation will decrease the MTBF for your hard drive just like shutting down your PC would. The drive spins down to save power and spins back up to recover from hibernation. In all likelihood, this loss in MTBF will not be noticeable over the life of your laptop.

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+1 - Hibernation is just a fancy of saying "Write an image of memory and other state information to the hard drive and power down". The next power-on and boot picks up that state information and returns the machine to the state pre-hibernation (ideally). –  Evan Anderson Jun 24 '09 at 21:18

Not really, this will not affect MTBF but will affect start/stop cycles. The value for a desktop drive is typically between 30,000 and 50,000 cycles (and remember that this is not an average, but a minimum). Notebook drives, which are more commonly spun up and down a great deal to save battery power, usually have even higher numbers. IBM drives that use its head load/unload technology are often given a specification for minimum load/unload cycles instead of start/stop cycles. This is basically the same concept, except that the numbers are typically much higher. Some IBM notebook drives are spec'ed for 300,000 load/unload cycles.

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Good answer. Notebook drives spin down and spin up all the time in an effort at power managment while you are using the computer –  Brian Reiter Jun 25 '09 at 2:06

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