What is hiberfil.sys File and How to Delete It?

If you read this article, then you probably wonder what is hiberfil.sys file and why on Earth it consumes so much space on my drive? What cringes users’ gears more is that there is no obvious way to delete hiberfil.sys file. Windows simply does not allow anybody to do that. This article has all you need to know about the hiberfil file and (spoiler) hibernation in Windows 10.

Hibernation File hiberfil.sys – What is That?

Modern Windows versions have several shutdown modes. First is to simply turn it off. You can also call it shutdown. That is how Windows properly turns off itself. Second is sleep mode and third is hibernate. When a PC goes to sleep it consumes much less power but remains depended on a power source because data remains stored within RAM and RAM can’t keep data unless there is a constant supply of power. Cut down juice and Windows will lose all unsaved data. Hibernation works a bit different. It writes all data from RAM to the drive (also known as ROM—energy-independent memory). All you left opened remains in that state even if you unplug your computer. There is an obvious downside. Windows creates that hiberfil.sys file. The more RAM, the bigger hiberfil.sys file will be there.

Windows stores hiberfil.sys file within the drive C. You won’t find it in there if you keep hibernation disabled or hidden files are not visible by default.

How to Delete Hibernation File?

You can’t simply hit Shift + Delete in order to get rid of that file. You need to turn off hibernation first and Windows will automatically delete hiberfil.sys file from the system drive. Do note that Windows 8.X and Windows 10 use that file in conjunction with Fast Startup feature thus you may need to disable it also.

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Here is how to properly delete hibernation file in Windows:

  1. Press Start and type in cmd. Select Run as Administrator. Select Yes on the UAC prompt or enter an Administrator password if your profile has no Administrator access level.
  2. All you need to do is enter powercfg -h off and press Enter. Done hibernation is off and hiberfil.sys file is gone. Note that Command Prompt won’t show any confirmation of successful command execution. Close Command Prompt and you are good to go. hiberfil sys

What is interesting that you should not always delete the hibernation file. If you want to keep using this feature but you are not satisfied with the amount of free space on a drive it takes, you can reduce hibernation file size. Again, all you need to do is enter one small command in the Command Prompt window.

Just like with a previous step, launch Command Prompt. Enter powercfg -h -type reduced. This command forces Windows to reduce the size of the hibernation file. After executing this command you will see the string with the new hibernation file size. hiberfil

For your information: there is no way you can move the hibernation file to a different drive. It is not possible because of how Windows works with the file system. You can delete it by disabling hibernation, reduce the size using a special command written above or simply deal with it and let it be there. Perhaps it is that time to get a bigger SSD or HDD. Luckily for all of us, nowadays these are cheap like never before.

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