Windows 10 Fast Startup

Is your Windows 10 computer starting as quickly as it can?

TurbotortoiseThere is a feature in Windows 10 called “Fast Startup”. What this means is that parts of Windows itself and its connection to peripherals and their drivers are not all loaded again from scratch each time that you start your computer from a previous shutdown. Instead, when you issue the “shutdown” command your programs and data files are all closed in the normal way, but the state of Windows is saved in a “hibernation file”. When you subsequently start up your computer it is much quicker to reload the contents of the hibernation file than to re-open drivers, re-establish connections to peripherals etc.

RoadRunnerA complication to understanding this is that Windows 10 may also automatically re-open some programs that were still open at the time that the previous shutdown had been started. I’ve just shutdown and re-started my own computer and both Chrome and Outlook automatically re-opened (but not some other programs that had previously been open). This is not part of “fast startup”. Instead, it’s a different recent development in Windows (that I find irritating as it doesn’t re-open all programs. All or nothing would be much better).

Back to fast startup… re-opening a hibernation file is all very well but what if the reason you shut the machine down was because you wanted to reload a driver (say, because your printer was playing up). Choosing “shutdown” and subsequently re-starting the machine won’t solve the problem as the problem may be written into the hibernation file that is re-opened when you start again. In that case, instead of choosing to “shutdown” the computer and then switching it back on, choose to “restart” it. This will empty the contents of the memory and reload everything from scratch. Alternatively, depress the shift key while clicking on Shutdown. This will instruct Windows to ignore the hibernaton file when it reopens.

Fast startup is usually enabled by default, but there is a possibility that your computer is not taking advantage of it due to “hibernation” having been disabled.

To check if Fast Startup is available and enabled:

  • Click on the Start button
  • Type in “Power Options” (without the quotes)
  • Click on “Power Options” when it appears in the list to the left of the Start Menu window
  • Click on “Choose what the power buttons do”
  • Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable”
  • Look at the section entitled “Shutdown settings”. If you do not see “Turn on fast startup (recommended)” then you need to enable hibernation (see below)
  • If you do see “Turn on fast startup (recommended)” then place or remove a tick in the box next to it to enable or disable it
  • Click on “Save Changes” and close the Power Options window

To enable Hibernation:

  • Right-click on the start button
  • Left-click on “Command Prompt (admin)”
  • Type in “powercfg /hibernate on” (without the quotes)
  • Hit the “enter” key
  • Type “exit” (without the quotes) and then the enter key
  • Go back to Power Options (see above) and place a tick in “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”
Turn on Fast Startup
If you don’t see “Turn on fast startup” in Shutdown Settings then you need to enable hibernation