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How to disable Windows 10 fast startup (and why you'd want to)

How to disable Windows 10 fast startup (and why you might want to)
How to disable Windows 10 fast startup (and why you might want to)

Fast startup is a feature first implemented in Windows 8 and carried over to Windows 10 that provides a faster boot time when starting up your PC. It's a handy feature and one that most people use without even knowing, but there are others who disable it immediately when they get their hands on a new PC.

Let's take a look at exactly how fast startup works, why you might want to enable or disable it, and how to do so.

What is fast startup?

Intel Motherboard

Windows PCs typically operate in a number of Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) power states. An S0 power state, for example, is when your PC is running and ready to respond to your input. There are a number of sleep states, including S1, S2, and S3, and there's also a hybrid sleep state where hibernation is used in tandem with a sleep state.

Hibernation is considered an S4 power state. While hibernating, your PC will seem like it's completely off, but there will be a saved hibernation file ready to be used to boot back to where you were during your last user session. Some power is usually still routed to peripherals so that you can, say, tap your keyboard and have the PC boot.

An S5 power state (soft off) is when your PC is shut down and rebooted completely. There's no hibernation file and no saved user session. There is also a G3 power state, which is when your PC consumes absolutely no power and is completely turned off.

With fast startup enabled, choosing to shut down your PC might look like you're completely shutting things down, but in reality, your PC is entering a mix between a shutdown and hibernation. A hibernation file is indeed used, although it is smaller than usual. Why? You're logged off before the file is created, meaning your session is not recorded. The speed boost comes from the Windows kernel being saved on your hard drive and loaded when booting.

Is your PC truly shutting down?

While fast startup is a pretty harmless tool that can deliver a considerable startup speed boost, especially to PCs using hard-disk drives (HDD), some people prefer to have their PC truly shut down when they click the "Shut down" button on their PC.

Power options in the Windows 10 Start button

In a post on the PC Master Race subreddit, a user pointed out that fast startup was re-enabled in a Windows 10 update following the release of the Fall Creators Update. Following the April 2018 Windows 10 update, Fast Startup was again re-enabled on my own PC, and it seems to have kicked in again following the May 2019 Update.

If you're among the group of people who disable fast startup on their Windows 10 PC, you might want to recheck the settings to see if it's still off.

Why disable fast startup?

Leaving fast startup enabled shouldn't harm anything on your PC — it's a feature built into Windows — but there are a few reasons why you might want to nevertheless disable it.

One of the major reasons is if you're using Wake-on-LAN, which will likely have problems when your PC is shut down with fast startup enabled. Others would like to save the hard drive space that is usually taken up with the hibernation file, and Linux users will likely see complications with dual boot and virtualization. Furthermore, some users have even reported that power buttons on their keyboard will not work and fans in their PCs will continue spinning. These problems are by no means across the board, but they can prove to be frustrating. Finally, Windows 10 updates might not install properly if you have fast startup enabled.

Left: after shutting down with fast startup enabled. Right: after shutting down with fast startup disabled.

Your reason for disabling fast startup might simply have to do with wanting to see your PC truly shut down when you choose to shut down, especially when working with a speedy solid-state drive (SSD), or to have the processor (CPU) uptime reset after booting.

How to enable and disable fast startup on Windows 10

If you'd like to see how your PC performs without fast startup enabled, you can disable it in just a few steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click Search.

Right-click the Start button. Click Search.
  1. Type Control Panel and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  2. Click Power Options.

Type Control Panel. Click Power Options.
  1. Click Choose what the power buttons do.
  2. Click Change settings that are currently unavailable.

Click Choose what the power buttons do. Click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
  1. Click Turn on fast startup (recommended) so that the checkmark disappears.
  2. Click Save changes.

Click Turn on fast startup. Click Save changes.

If you want to re-enable fast startup at any point, simply repeat the steps so a checkmark appears next to Turn on fast startup.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

36 Comments
  • If dual booting is the only reason then if you use boot into Other OS option in advanced boot options at startup, Windows will actually do a complete reboot without creating the hibernation file.
  • Actually i don't have an issue with dual-booting on my computer and i have fast startup turned on,All I need to do is press the F9 key quickly at startup and that reveals a boot menu,From there i can select which operating system i want to use,or even boot from my recovery USB flash drive that I created if i need to reinstall the operating system,or use Gparted Live to fix errors on my hard drive
  • That's too bad. I used hibernation a lot to continue where I left, and it was just like the laptop was completely shut down, the only way to boot was pressing the powerbutton, so no accidental power on and a very hot laptop in my bag. If I then booted into Linux, it would not reboot, but instead, Linux would only be able to mount the Windows partition as read only, to prevent issues with. If I then booted back into Windows, it would just resume.
  • I disable fast boot because if I have problems booting into Windows, I fix files by accessing them through Linux. I can't do that if fast boot is enabled.
  • When you guys give these help articles can you also include the registry and/or the group policy (local and ADDS) configuration. Some of us are IT professionals in enterprise environments that would like to use these features and settings in their environment.
  • Don't ask that here, this is a noobie site, they wouldn't give a registry setting, or GP Policy setting, or how to set it up to be deployed that way, because that's too sophisticated for the people who would be eading these articles....don't you know that?   But, there is this great thing called google....yu can use that and voila' - https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1772529-gpo-for-turning-off-fast-startup  
  • There are many articles and how to guides detailing group policy editor and registry tweeks, maybe if you used the search button you would have found a few :).
  • Never heard of this, never had any problem with my many different machines, at all.
  • So, there are no real benefits to using fast startup when my main drive is an SSD?
  • Pretty much.
  • A few seconds. Depending on drivers, maybe more. But no where near the gain as older HDD.
  • so what does it do with the hibernation file if u disable it? i mean, i know and seen others disable it in another way.
  • Is Fast Start Up the reason my previously used apps are automatically re-opened upon reboot? It's super annoying when I want a clean slate.
  • No. It's a dumb feature they decided to add to the Fall Creator's Update.
  • Optional or forced?
  • Optional but on by default since it benefits most users. What I don't like is that the setting that controls it is not obvious or really noted, and it's tied to another setting (so they are either both off or both on). To disable, go into the Settings, then Accounts, then Sign-in options. Toggle off the Privacy option that says "Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device after and update or restart". Another side effect of this setting being on is that whenever you reboot, the account that initiated the reboot will automatically have logged in session after a reboot. So for example, in my family we have 4 user accounts on the main desktop - Lets call them U1, U2, U3, & U4. If I am user U3 and initiate a reboot, when the system comes back online U3 automatically gets their profile logged in (you don't see this, it just happens in the background and you still have a logon screen you must authenticate through). So Imagine U3 initiates a reboot, then leaves since they don't need to do anything more, then user U2 comes by and logs in, there will be 2 user profiles/sessions active - the U3 which auto logged in after the reboot and the manual U2 logon. You can see this using Task Manager and looking at the Users tab. It's not a huge deal but I when I first noticed this I thought I had some malware or remote infection on my system.
  • Very annoying when it remount a Truecrypt drive automatically because I didn't unmount it before shutdown because shutdown used to unmount it before. Since I disabled Fastboot (again because as mentioned FCU re-enabled it) my TrueCrypt drive are not remounted.
  • I wonder if this is why since the fall creators update my surface book drains battery and is warm in my bag again. I remember disabling this a while back.
  • Yup, this is exactly why......its also because Win10 also turns your computer back on to perform critical WU, unless you specfically tell it not too, its a great idiot feature,,,,hate that my laptop always has no battery because of it.
  • That is just a pile of s**t! Fast start-up is used when you click the shut down option In Windows. The kernel is hibernated and system is powered off. What you are probably talking about is "sleep".
  • I ALWAYS hibernate my laptop, and as far as I can tell, it consumes absolutely no power in hibernation mode.
    Contrary to what was written in this article.
  • Just SHIFT+Shut down if you want to really shut down from times to times
  • I have noticed that apps eventually start to act odd if you go days with Fast Startup on. That prompted me to disable the feature, and I've been commenting on posts since the early days of Windows 10 that major updates always reset the setting and default back to turning it On. I disable Fast Boot, but I Hibernate my PC most of the time, though at least once a week I'm forced to do a Restart to refresh apps that eventually get bogged down (Carbonite mainly now), or the UI starts to act funny (like when you hover over Taskbar pinned icons and the highlight remains even after moving the cursor away).
  • I had issues with this when this option was turned on in Windows 10 Fall Creators update. On my Linux Mint OS (dual booted with Windows 10) the NTFS drives would not mount and would give an an error that "The NTFS partition is in an unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown
    Windows fully (no hibernation or fast restarting)......", so I had to turn off the fast restart option.
  • Hello, unfortunately, at the key moment I cannot follow the instructions because there is no "Turn on startup" nor "hibernate" option... There are only "Sleep" and "Lock" tickmarks. Is there an alternative way to acces this setting?
  • Any update? Did the fast startup option appear?
  • The same by me! Only sleep and lock available. I'll try the link of DSR11 and switch off "automatically start up after update" because I also understand that there is no use for it when having a fast SSD. I'm having a Samsung Evo 960 pro which read about 3200MB and write 1800MB I believe.
  • If what I am getting is a "fast" startup, then I would hate to see the alternative.
  • Lol!!! Someone needs a SSD.
  • I did a clean install of windows 10 and finished installing all drivers and software and now my pc takes 3 mins to wake up from sleep. It wakes up it just doesnt decide to turn the monitors on until then. Weird thing is the monitors blink and power up but no pic then go into standby until the pc spits out video signal I guess. Very weird as I just did clean install because I was getting random BSOD. I still got a BSOD but it was right after fallout 4 crashed on me. Memory leak I am guessing.
  • I turned fast start-up off on my nextbook tablet. Every time I wanted to use my tablet, it would be dead from being in a low power state.
  • A lot of people are blaming "Fast Start-Up" and "Sleep" or "Hibernation" for their battery issues, when it's not the OS at all.
    It's the crappy BIOS/UEFI and/or hardware in your laptop.
    Only a few systems we have tested at my company ACTUALLY support full "Sleep" mode properly, and it's he default for systems that detect a battery in them. Most will do "Hibernation" correctly however.
    Fast-Start can cause issues with pre-boot environments (PXE specifically) if it's not implemented correctly in the BIOS/UEFI, which in most cases it isn't.
    Cheap-ass implementations of the hardware can cause this too, and this is a big issue on the lower-cost laptops.
    If you don't want to use "Hibernation" you can easily disable it by opening a command prompt and running the "powercfg.exe /h off" (without the quotes) and then reboot it.
    You will find the hidden "hiberfil.sys" file is now gone (it is always the size of your installed memory) so you get some disk space back and when you shut it off it actually shuts off. Even systems with NO BATTERY like desktops have this file for some reason. Go figure Microsoft.
    Anyway, the most common cause of these issues remains;
    1) Lousy BIOS/UEFI implementation.
    2) Cheap hardware that doesn't really support it.
    3) A highly fragmented HDD that cannot support the "Hiberfil.sys" file properly anymore. (Defrag your HDdrives people. "Trim" on SSDs (that support it.))
  • I'm excited about the new start menu hopefully you'll be allowed to move the apps around. The other major thing that I would like to see is if I click on something that Cortana can type in what ever I'm sayin. That would be one of the coolest experiences ever.
  • I actually dont use fast boot on my new pc. I thought about it but yes I have a speedy m.2 that can load windows in seconds. how fast do I need it when my sd can hit 2000+ mbps read speeds. compared to my old hard drives that hit only 100 mpbs
  • I'd ask why not? If you can boot into Windows in like 5 sec, than fast boot might cut it down to 3-4. Besides for niche purposes I don't see any point in turning it off really
  • There's actually an issue specific to GP processing if you allow Fast Boot to be enabled on systems with SSD's. The Group Policy Management Module tries to load before the Network Drivers, and if you are running Roaming Profiles or Folder Re-Direction, then those policies can't be applied.