What Is Windows 10 Fast Startup And How to Disable It

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In this Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to disable Fast Startup, explain what it does, and discuss why you might want to disable it.



Fast startup was introduced in Windows 8 as a way to improve boot times. It works by putting your PC into a state that’s a mix of shutdown and hibernation instead of completely shutting down the PC. This is sometimes referred to as ‘hybrid shutdown’. If fast startup is enabled, Windows logs off any active user sessions and saves the kernel session to disk when shutting down. This allows Windows to boot faster compared to when performing a full system initialization. For more detailed technical information about fast startup and the performance benefits, see Microsoft’s website here.

Different phases between cold boot and fast startup (Image Credit: Microsoft)
Different Phases Between Cold Boot and Fast Startup (Image Credit: Microsoft)

In most cases, fast startup doesn’t cause any problems. But there are a couple of situations where you might consider disabling it. The first is enterprises where Wake-on-LAN is used to service computers. Wake-on-LAN doesn’t work if fast startup is enabled. The second reason to disable fast startup is that Group Policy and preference settings that are targeted during shutdown and startup aren’t applied when users shut down and start up their PCs. Settings are only applied during a reboot.

If you want to disable fast startup in your organization, you’ll need to change the HiberbootEnabled registry value to 0. There’s no Group Policy setting for disabling fast startup. I recommend using Group Policy preferences to configure the registry. For more information on fast startup and Group Policy, see Supporting Windows 8 Fast Startup with Group Policy on Microsoft’s website.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power\HiberbootEnabled

If you don’t want to disable fast startup but perform occasional ‘complete’ shutdowns, you can use the shutdown command or the PowerShell Stop-Computer cmdlet:

shutdown /s 

Stop-Computer -ComputerName DESKTOP1 -Force -Credential remoteuser

Another way to override the local fast startup setting is to click Shut down in the Start menu while holding down SHIFT. Restarting a PC also has the same effect as performing a complete shutdown.

I don’t usually recommend modifying default system settings, but fast startup can be disabled in the control panel.

  • Type control panel into the search box on the taskbar and then click Control Panel in the search results.
  • In the search box in the top right of the control panel, type power and then click Change what the power buttons do under Power Options.
  • Click Change settings that are currently unavailable and the give consent to continue or enter an administrator username and password as prompted.
  • Under Shutdown settings, uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended) and click Save changes.
  • Close the control panel.
Disable fast startup in Windows 10 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)
Disable Fast Startup in Windows 10 (Image Credit: Russell Smith)

Be aware the Windows updates sometimes reset your PC’s power options. So, if you want fast startup to be permanently disabled, you may need to periodically check the configuration.

And there’s one more scenario where you might want to disable fast startup. I have a music server running Windows 10 on an isolated network. It is never restarted and receives updates only periodically. But it is shutdown every day. This can lead to a situation where applications begin to misbehave because the system is never completely shut down. A reboot solves the problem. But disabling fast startup means that I never have to worry about problems with applications.

In this Ask the Admin, I explained what fast startup does in Windows 10 and described several methods for disabling it.

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