Q&A Monday: hiberfil.sys and deleting it


While doing some spring cleaning on my computer, I’ve come across a file in C: drive called hiberfil.sys file.  When I try to delete the file it wont let me, how do I get rid of hiberfil.sys?

Craig Ridgeway
Kenosha, WI


The first thing we need to discuss, is what exactly is that file?  hiberfil.sys is one of the power management options offered in Windows called Hibernate mode.  In hibernate mode, your computer writes all it’s memory data to a file on the hard drive and shuts off the computer.  That’s where our hiberfil.sys file comes in, it’s that file and currently golds the current memory state.  Since it’s a system created file you can’t delete the file directly.

So you need to ask yourself before continuing, do I want the ability to hibernate my computer?   If you never need it, or never use it then you can continue along, but if you do, then you’ll need to live with the file…which is fine, because you now know what it is and what it does.

Disable Hibernate (and delete the file) [ Windows Vista or 7]

You ready?  Ok, open a command prompt as administrator and type:

powercfg -h off

That’s it! The file should be down.

Disable Hibernate (and delete the file) [ Windows XP]

Head to Control Panel –> Power Options, and then go to the Hibernate tab.  Uncheck the box, reboot your PC, and then you can delete the hiberfil.sys file.

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