Can’t hibernate your laptop? Check running processes

Regular readers of my blog (what few there may be) will recall that some weeks ago, I had the (un)pleasant experience of a catastrophic hard drive failure. To help avert future disasters, I recently purchased an external 300GB USB/Firewire drive from Seagate. The product comes with BounceBack Express, a relatively simple backup solution that can backup files and folders to an external device. So far, the solution has worked well; I haven’t had the need to restore, and I have had peace of mind.

However, there has been one odd side effect from this new hardware/software installation: my laptop would no longer hibernate. I had the option to hibernate, but choosing it did nothing. Shutting down worked fine, as did restarting and going into standby mode.

Turns out the problem had nothing to do with BIOS settings or settings in the Power Options control panel. It had to do with BounceBack Express’s BounceBack Launcer application, which runs at login. This application tracks the last time you backed up your system and prompts you to back up your system every seven days (among other things). Once I shut down this application, my laptop went into hibernate mode without a problem.

The lesson of this? If your computer behaves strangely during any shutdown process (which includes going into hibernate or standby modes), be sure to take a close look at what applications and processes are running, particularly those running in the background. Try shutting things down in different combinations until you (hopefully) find the culprit.

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