My laptop is stuck in sleep mode

Updated April 17, 2017

“Sleep” and “hibernation” are two different modes a laptop reverts to in order to save power if left idle for a period of time. In "sleep" mode all activity is suspended and any current work is placed in memory. The screen will either go black or begin playing a screensaver. A small amount of power is employed so as soon as the laptop senses activity, such as a key being pressed, it will immediately be ready for use. In “hibernation” mode, all active programs and documents are placed on the laptop’s hard disk and the power shuts down, turning the laptop off. Exiting "sleep" mode is usually simple and straightforward but occasionally an underlying problem may result in a laptop remaining stuck.

Low battery

Running your laptop solely on battery for a long period of time can result in a depletion of power. If the battery runs too low as it enters “sleep” mode, it may not have enough power to reactivate. Connect the power cord to your laptop, plug into an electricity socket and allow time for it to charge up before turning the power button back on.

Electrical charge residue

Excessive electrical charge can affect some components within a laptop and cause it to remain stuck in "sleep" mode. Detach the power cord and remove the plug from the electricity socket. Take out the laptop’s internal battery. Hold down the power button for about 30 seconds then leave the computer to cool down for a few minutes. This will release any excessive electrical charge that may have built up. Reinstall the battery, attaching the power cord to the laptop and plug back in to the electricity socket. Press the power button.

BIOS Setup

Failure to arouse from “sleep” mode can be due to a conflict within BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), the computer’s software controlling all hardware functionality. This can be fixed by updating to a newer version of the BIOS system. Methods will vary according to the manufacturer and make of the laptop, so consult your device's product manual for detailed instructions. Unless you are an advanced user, do not attempt this without correct advice, as any errors in the process could render your laptop unusable.

Motherboard failure

The motherboard is the internal circuit board that allows communication between all the different components within your laptop. If it ceases to function properly, this can affect any number of processes or tasks that a laptop can perform. A reputable PC repair shop can provide a diagnosis and will be able to replace the motherboard if it has failed.

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About the Author

A Londoner with extensive professional experience in TV, radio and film, Jane Seery started writing in 1999. She contributes to several websites, including VOD Professional and Inside Guide to London, where she specializes in topics such as technology, media, art and culture. Seery holds diplomas in art and design from the University of Wales and in TV production and direction from Fulham Film Studios.