What is hiberfil.sys and how to delete in Windows 7 free up hard drive space

As from our last post, why your hard drive is always shrinking even though you did not do anything, we talked about using the freeware TreeSize to view where you have the largest chunk of data on your hard drive. If you look deep enough you will found out that there are two files called pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys that occupy over few GB of hard drive space. If you are the kind person that does not use Hibernate then this article is for you.

When you turn off your computer using hibernate, the operating system needs to store all your current running program states onto hard disk so that programs can resume where they left off when you power up your PC again. To achieve this, the OS need to save all the information into a file called hiberfil.sys. Windows OS (7, vista, XP) usually stores this as a hidden file under your C directory or your main OS partition.

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So if you never use hibernate, than its time for you to get your hard drive space back.

[Note: Hibernate mode is not sleep mode. When hibernating your computer completely shuts down, however, under sleep mode your PC is not completely shut down; it still consumes a small amount of power.]

The best way to delete hiberfil.sys or disable hibernate:

  • Go to Start menu, type “cmd” open up command prompt
  • Type “powercfg.exe -h off” [make sure you are an Administrator]
  • Type “exit”

RESTART YOUR PC and you are all set

After restart you should be able to see more free space on your hard drive.

Jonathan Hu

Programming by day, Web Development, Canucks & Movies for spare time!
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂

Last updated: 11/21/2014

Posted in: Featured , How to , Tips & Tricks
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[…] terms of hibernation Windows 8 is no different than Windows 7 or any previous predecessors. Upon installing Windows 8, by default, Windows will allocate an […]

Chuck Renner
Thanks. I didn’t know about powercfg.exe. In older versions of Windows, I did this by turning on/off hibernation in the power control panel applet. Windows 7 doesn’t have that option. I didn’t want to permanently delete hiberfil.sys, but I did want to force the system to re-create it (so I also did powercfg -h on). I had upgraded my PC to 16 GB RAM, but my hiberfil.sys was still only 12 GB. Whenever my PC hibernated, it froze. When I turned hibernation back on, the new hiberfil.sys was only 12 GB again. I’ll cross my fingers.

[…] explained it before what is hiberfil.sys on Windows 7 computers and how to permanently delete it to free up some hard drive spaces. […]


it doesn’t appear that option when i right click, and I am the administrator


Same problem. Looks like no one has an answer for it here.


Works fine with win 7 64bit: Go to Start and in the search bar type CMD but DONT PRESS ENTER. Right click on the CMD icon instead and choose ‘Run as administrator’. Type in the command and it should work. I got back 9 Gigs in under 10 seconds! Great!!


I was also unable to change the setting using the instructions in the article. Your tip worked excellent. I got 12GB back.


Click Start Menu, type “cmd” in the search box, hold down the Shift key and right-click cmd command. And choose Run as administrator from the context menu.

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