Some thought should be given to which NightWatchman power-down action is most suitable for your organization. This is largely a matter of personal preference, depending on the impact on the user and the type of hardware and software used. The following are the pros and cons for each of these events.

Power-down actionProsCons
Hibernate
  • Is able to work on an idle timer
  • Less intrusive to the end user
  • Relatively quick to go into sleep (writing to disk) and resume (slower because disk is read into memory)
  • Applications and open files are kept open but stored to disk and therefore immune to power failures
  • Machines can wake themselves on a timer
  • Will lose any open connections
  • Some third-party applications may lose data or fail on resumption when remote connections are used
  • Some hardware refuses either to sleep or wake up again afterwards
  • With Windows XP in conjunction with older hardware there generally are more issues
  • Over time the OS memory footprint will grow and the machine will become slower
Standby
  • Is able to work on an idle timer
  • Less intrusive to the end user
  • Quick to go into sleep and resume, depending on the computer
  • Applications and open files are kept open
  • Machines can wake themselves on a timer
  • Will lose any open connections
  • Some third-party applications may lose data or fail on resumption when remote connections are used
  • Open files will not be saved if the machine runs out of power during sleep - specifically for Windows XP desktop computers as Windows Vista uses hybrid sleep and laptops will wake to hibernate the machine when battery power is low
  • Some hardware refuses either to sleep or wake up again afterwards
  • There are generally more issues going into standby when using Windows XP in conjunction with older hardware
  • Over time the OS memory footprint will grow and the machine will become slower
PowerOff
  • Computer is always in a known state. It will either be on or off
  • Always running a fresh memory structure on startup
  • Will refresh connections on startup
  • Ensures that open documents are saved on shutdown
  • Helps in the scenario where patching requires a restart of the OS
  • This option leaves the computer in the safest state with regards to power supply issues
  • Requires that Wake On LAN is configured and working to enable out of hours patching
  • Takes the longest time of the three modes to be in a running state
  • A script is needed for every application that may be running on the machine at the point of shutdown
  • Shutdowns can only set for a specific time, they cannot be triggered by an idle timer

The complete set of NightWatchman switches is detailed in NightWatchman command-line switches.