suspend to ram

Over the years I’ve encountered, and resolved many annoying software issues with Microsoft. This one surely counts as one of the more annoying ones.

The problem is that my previous PC had a beautiful suspend to ram feature, which basically means that whenever you put the machine in stand by mode the system turns of almost completely except for a bit of power to keep the memory going. The technical term for this is ACPI S3 mode. My new PC however, suspends using ACPI S1 mode which means it goes stand by with the harddisk still spinning and the fans still blowing, not my idea of stand by. Naturally this was something I wanted fixed really badly. So I enabled the feature in the bios, set all the power options in windows as they should be and …. no success.

My mistake was to assume that this is a hardware/bios problem. So I kept checking the asrock site for bios updates and browsed through their FAQ, double checked bios settings drivers, etc.. Since this isn’t a problem with their hardware, bios or drivers after all, no solution was found this way. Next stop was google, but I still had the asrock keyword as part of the query so nothing useful came out of that. Then I just gave up and for the past few months I’ve been shutting down the pc completely.

This morning I googled for “force s3 standby” and ended up on this site. I learned a things here:

  • My system supporst S3 just fine, I checked using this sleeper tool.
  • Users with completely different hardware are experiencing the exact same issue (and are equally frustrated).
  • There’s a registry hack you can do but it doesn’t do much good on its own.
  • There’s lots of useless advice on enabling/disabling wake up from standby options on usb devices (my mouse and keyboard are ps/2!).
  • There’s a tool called dumppo which supposedly does something useful.

Ok, the next google query concerned dumppo, which got me here. It appears that this is a Microsoft provided (but totally undocumented) utility that you can use to check and change the ACPI settings. Sure enough my “Min sleep state” was set to S1. The reason? I installed windows XP before I enabled suspend to ram in the bios. Doh! Apparently the ACPI settings are determined forever during setup and no functionality to fix this is included with the OS. After the installation you’re screwed no matter what you toggle in any control panel, bios or other screen. Windows XP just keeps insisting that S1 is the way to do standby.

Dumppo (download from microsoft) apparently is the only way out (short of reinstalling XP). A simple “dumppo.exe admin minsleep=s3” on the command line fixes the problem. Of course this wisdom is not officially documented anywhere on the Microsoft site. There must be millions of users out there that are unable to suspend to ram because of this. Basically all computers sold in the past few years are technically capable of suspend to ram. Many of them have the option disabled in the bios by default.

Anyway, problem solved :-). Just one of these issues ordinary users will never ever figure out. I must have solved hundreds of these issues over the years.

18 Replies to “suspend to ram”

  1. Please help!!

    I have tried everything, Suspend to RAM, dumppo, sleeper, etc but damn fans still would not turn off in stand-by.
    Very frustrating…..
    I am having this problem after replacing mobo with Asrock . The original Gigabyte MB could do S3 stand-by just fine. According to dumppo, XP was installed with S3 support.

    C:\….\Desktop>dumppo admin
    Admin policy overrides
    Min sleep state……: S3
    Max sleep state……: S3
    Min video timeout….: 0
    Max video timeout….: -1
    Min spindown timeout.: 0
    Max spindown timeout.: -1

    What else can i try???

    Thanks in advance!!

    P.S. I also hate sound produced by Asrock. :((

  2. Your new motherboard may not be STR/S3 compatible. It would make sense that Windows XP shows that you are S3 compatible however if you never reformatted, as to my understanding these are configured on XP install, not on reboot. Check your BIOS settings if you haven’t already, and look in your BIOS manual. Also it appears that you have hibernate disabled – if your motherboard supports it run “dumppo.exe admin maxsleep=s4″

  3. My asrock was not able to suspend to ram after I reseted bios. “dumppo.exe admin minsleep=s3” fixed it and STR is working again. Thank you!

  4. I have windows server 2008 installed, first few weeks the STR mode works just like it was expected without the need of introducing dumppo.exe or sleeper.exe , but after a single stupid MS update that I didn’t called for, many features was lost, STR mode is one of them.
    Instead of going STR after selecting hibernate buttom, it goes to STD(S4), which is crap for user having 4G+ of RAM (takes much longer time which no any better than shutdown ), I exculed hardware issue by booting from XP that works just fine.
    Now even dumppo cannot save this, sometimes MicroSoft just can’t get things done damn clean!!
    Just let a note here in case a solution cone up.

    E:\>dumppo cap
    power capabilties
    System power capabilties
    Power Button Present….: TRUE
    Sleep Button Present….: FALSE
    Lid Present………….: FALSE
    System states supported.: S4 S5 (in XP got S1 and S3 more…)
    Hiber file reserved…..: TRUE
    Thermal control………: FALSE

    E:\>dumppo admin
    Admin policy overrides
    Min sleep state……: S1
    Max sleep state……: S4 – hibernate (even I force it to S3, and it shows Max sleep state……: S3 but action is still S4 mode )
    Min video timeout….: 0
    Max video timeout….: -1
    Min spindown timeout.: 0
    Max spindown timeout.: -1

  5. The dumppo command line seems to work for me too. I have a Asrock 4coreDual Sata II mobo, and was enable to obtain a stable standby / sleep mode.

    The funny thing is this hack doesn’t allow the dektop to be locked ( consequently no need to enter a password after STR).

    Also, I am pretty sure ACPI was enabled in the BIOS when I installed Vista.

    I should do some more testing as it’s hard to believe this mobo is actually ACPI able, but it seems like this obscure MS dumppo tool does the trick.

    I owe you one, thanks Jilles !

  6. Nice to see my little Sunday morning rant a few years ago is still helping out people. Sorry to hear about some problems people still have.

    @Deleauvive ACPI is a very complex feature and notoriously difficult to implement (see e.g. linux kernel). There’s more to it than enable/disable in the Bios.

  7. My Dell Precision 490 was going into S3 until I made the mistake of changing the BIOS to S1 for sleep state and booting XP. After changing the BIOS back to S3, XP would not longer go into the S3 state. “dumppo.exe admin minsleep=s3” took care of the problem and it even survives across reboots. Apparently the capability to survive reboots is manufacturer dependent.

  8. Well, it seems from this website there are a lot of AsRock users that have had this problem. Everything was fine S3 worked great, until I updated BIOS after a memory upgrade. Then couldn’t get S3 to work. Installed old memory and old BIOS – ALL sorts of combinations to no avail.
    Ran dumppo and followed instructions. Everything is zen again.

    Thank you!

  9. Thanks!!!

    Solved my problem on Windows XP SP3 Pro after a mini upgrade of my Asus MB with an ASRock G41M-GS one.

    I was about to return the MB.

  10. I think I love you – I’ve been battering my head over this with 8 ASRock machines and XP for a week now. Suspend to RAM was devinately enabled during install.

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