First understand the difference between Standby Mode and Hibernate. Standby does not cause the computer to shut down but it does shut down the hard disks, the monitor, and locks the computer. Hibernate allows shutdown after saving memory contents to the hard disk. You can configure your computer to your liking by accessing the power options properties. To navigate there click start, control panel, appearance and themes, display, screensaver tab, and then the power button. You can choose hibernate or standby, define what shuts down and what doesn't, set timers, etc. It's easy, so give it a try.
Recently, I began having problems when I chose to go into standby. Hard drive just shut off. After several tech discussions with Dell, the computer now just shuts down on its own when I leave it unattended for any length of time. Dell asked me to uninstall/reinstall Windows XP. I am trying to avoid this because it is a lot of work to back up all of my files. Does anyone have any suggestions that I could try prior to doing uninstall/reinstall? Thanks.