How to make a Windows 10 PC boot quicker with fast startup

Windows 10 enable fast startup
Windows 10 enable fast startup (Image credit: Windows Central)

On Windows 10, you can enable "fast startup" to speed up the boot time, allowing the device to start and load the desktop more quickly than when using the traditional startup process.

The feature is not new. It has been available since Windows 8.x, and it's a mode (part of the hibernate feature) that combines the hibernation and shutdown processes to accomplish faster boot times. Windows 10 should come with fast startup enabled by default, but if your computer is taking a long time to boot, you may need to turn on the feature to speed up the process.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to enable (or disable) fast startup on your computer. If the option is missing, we also outline the steps to make it available in the power settings.

What is fast startup on Windows 10?

The best way to understand how the feature works is to step back and briefly explain hibernation. When using hibernation, Windows 10 saves the data in memory to the "hiberfil.sys" file onto the hard drive, allowing you to resume the previous session even after power loss. Fast startup works similarly, but with one difference. Instead of saving the entire session onto the hard drive, the user gets logged off before the state is saved into the hibernation file, requiring less storage space and allowing quicker resume. You can speed up the boot process with a great solid-state drive, or by trying fast startup.

How to enable fast startup on Windows 10

To enable Windows 10 fast startup, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Power & sleep.
  3. Under the "Related settings" section, click the Additional power settings option in the right pane.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Choose what the power button does option from the left navigation pane.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Change settings that are currently unavailable option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Shutdown settings" section, check the Turn on fast startup option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Save changes button.

Once you complete the steps, the next time you start the device, you should notice faster boot times.

How to disable fast startup on Windows 10

Although fast startup is a nifty feature to make Windows 10 boot a lot faster, it's important to note that fast is not always a good thing depending on your system configuration, and sometimes you may want to keep it turned off.

For example, fast startup could be the root of boot issues. It's also not recommended to enable the feature on systems with limited hard drive space since it may not work correctly. Also, if you create a data partition on a dual-boot setup running Windows 10, data that you try to save using another version of Windows or Linux won't commit to the storage. This setup could also cause data loss as fast startup will try to protect your primary system's file structure from being changed.

To disable fast startup on your computer, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Power & sleep.
  3. Under the "Related settings" section, click the Additional power settings option in the right pane.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Choose what the power button does option from the left navigation pane.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Change settings that are currently unavailable option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Shutdown settings" section, clear the Turn on fast startup option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Save changes button.

After you complete the steps, when using the "Shut down" option, the computer will power off without saving the current state, causing the boot time to take longer but preventing issues in specific scenarios.

How to fix missing fast startup on Windows 10

To make the fast startup option available in the Control Panel settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt.
  3. Right-click the top result and select the Run as administrator option.
  4. Type the following command to enable hibernation, which makes fast startup available in Control Panel and press Enter:powercfg /hibernate on

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete the steps, the fast startup should now be available in the "Shutdown settings."

If the option is still not available in Control Panel, then the device may not include support for the feature since only devices with support for the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) state of "S4" can use fast startup. You can confirm the available power states available on your computer with these instructions.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

1 Comment
  • "Fast Startup" is fine for a well-functioning system, but if you are having lots of issues with Windows Update or your system crashing, you should turn off "Fast Startup" to help in troubleshooting.
    Sometimes, the "Hiberfil.sys" file (which is a hidden/system file) can become corrupted, and cause all kinds of issues.
    Turn off "Fast Startup" (and Hibernation/Sleep) by running the "powercfg.exe /Hibernate off" command and then reboot.
    This deletes the Hiberfil.sys file and disables Fast Startup and Hibernation/Sleep functions.
    Fix whatever is wrong, then you enable it again (after defragging or if you have a SSD, running TRIM) by running the "powercfg.exe /Hibernate on" command.
    This is especially useful on very full and/or fragmented HDs.