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Should You Disable Fast Startup in Windows 10?

Should You Disable Fast Startup in Windows 10?

You might not realize that when you go to shut down your Windows computer it doesn't actually completely shut it down the way you expect. In fact, Windows has a feature that's on by default called Fast Startup which is kind of like in between a hibernation type shutdown and a traditional type shutdown. 
Now I'm getting ahead of myself and all of the things I just talked about will be made clear.

But to go back to the question in the title should you disable this Fast Startup feature?
And obviously, if the answer was as simple as Yes or no the article would be over already. It's clearly not that simple but we will try to explain it.

Different types of shutdowns in Windows

So to first understand the context behind this Let's go over quickly the different types of shutdowns available in Windows. You're probably familiar with the names of all these but you might not have known exactly the differences between them. That's what we're gonna talk about.

Sleep mode

You can kind of think of this basically like the computer being put on pause where power is cut to everything unnecessary. All unnecessary components like the screen probably the hard drive and the processor stops in its tracks but may still be in an extremely low power state. And everything going on in the computer the processes are going to be stored in the RAM and the RAM is going to be continuously provided with minimal power because when the RAM loses power it loses all its data unlike a hard drive that keeps its data even when it's powered off. And because all the data is still kept in the Ram as usual it's very fast to resume from sleep mode.

However, because the Ram has to be continued continuously powered it does use up a little bit of energy. So it means if you are in sleep mode the battery still could run die. And if the battery on a laptop for example or if there's a power outage on a desktop and power is lost either way to the computer while in sleep mode, then any unsaved data is going to be lost because that was stored in the RAM. And when again when the RAM loses power it's gone. What If You Delete the Windows Registry?

Hibernation mode

This is when, unlike the sleep mode where everything is just kept in the RAM. RAM is copied to the hard drive and then everything is shut down completely. So all the components are shut down. There's no power to the RAM or anything but it's stored on the hard drive then what happens is when you turn the computer back on, all the RAM data was stored on the hard drive is copied back onto the RAM. And then the computer basically continues where it left off as if you never shut the computer down. Everything is still running as it was.

Any unsaved data is still there and the advantage of this over sleep mode is because the Ram is not storing the data. It's on the hard drive. Even if the computer completely runs out of battery power or the computer loses power completely from the wall then it's not going to lose any data because the computer is already off. It doesn't rely on any electricity to store it. It's state.

The downside of this though is that it does take a little bit longer to boot up from higher nation mode because that data has to be copied from the hard drive onto the RAM. And hard drives are significantly slower than RAM. But if you are doing this with an SSD that's of course can be a lot faster than a hard drive but everything you do with an SSD is going to be faster than the hard drive. What destroys your Computer?

The next type of shutdown is hybrid sleep which is actually the default sleep mode in Windows 10.

You might not have even known this but this is how it works. It's basically a combination of Hibernation and sleep mode here but when you go to sleep it doesn't actually just store things to the RAM. It both stores everything in RAM, keeping it at low power, but also stores RAM data on the hard drive. So just in case, the laptop runs out of batteries or the computer loses power from the wall outlet then that data. Yes, it's gone from the RAM but it's still on the hard drive. So the computer boots up again and realize Oh my God the RAM data is gone. It still has it from the hard drive.

So this is kind of like the best of both worlds where if everything's fine on boot up it's Super instant. But if the data would have been lost it's not anymore. So it might take a little bit longer to actually shut down the computer and go into sleep mode because it has to write that data but you wouldn't even notice it on boot up because if the data is there then it's just going to wipe that temporary data in the background while you're using it. No harm no foul.

Now even though I did mention this is enabled by default on most computers with Windows on my computer at least when I check the available power options it's not because apparently when I have Hyper-v enabled which is a Windows virtualization feature it does not work with this. So you might want to check whether or not you can enable this.

And then finally before we get to the fast startup we have the traditional regular shutdown of course and this is just when you shut down Windows all the applications are closed users are logged off the kernel is shut down is like the core of the operating system. All power is cut to components. Everything's just shut down when you boot up. Everything's loaded fresh from scratch so it's all renewed. Should you Really Clean your Registry?

Fast Startup

The title of this article which is basically in between a hibernation-type shutdown and a regular-type shutdown. And this is actually the default in Windows 10. You might not have known this but when you do a regular shutdown by default it's going to do this. Fast Startup shutdown. And unlike a regular hibernation where all data is stored on the hard drive and then load it back into the RAM. So it continues. As is with a fast startup shutdown all the regular data that you might expect is deleted. Like the users logged out.

Any running processes are shut down. Any unsafe data is gone. However, Windows does not actually shut down the kernel and the drivers so the most basic running process low-level processes are actually stored on the hard drive to continue.

So when you turn the computer back on the most basic operating system files and processes don't have to be reloaded from scratch. So you have the drivers get automatically Reloaded as is the operating system kind of boots back in but you still have to do things like logging back into the user, running the user-startup programs anything like that. But because the actual operating system-based files and processes and drivers don't have to be Reloaded then it's gonna be significantly faster to boot up from a cold boot even though it looks like it, it's not really that way.

So this especially is going to be a bigger difference on a hard drive which is gonna take a long time to load those files from scratch whereas it's just gonna be basically loaded already running on to the RAM it's gonna be a lot faster. Is Your Computer Really Safe?

Is there a downside to this Fast Startup feature?

And the answer is well there can be in some situations Yes. For example, if you don't know about this feature then if you go to shut down your computer because something is going wrong and you're like Oh well I'm just gonna turn the computer off and on again to fix it you go to do this shutdown and then you turn it back on. You think you just did a cold reboot where everything's Reloaded but that might not be the case. So if the problem is still occurring it might have actually been fixed by a cold shutdown.

But because everything for the base operating system wasn't actually shut down then the problem could persist. And this is also going to apply with drivers. So maybe your graphics card is acting up or something like that. There's an error in the drivers. Again you go to do a full shutdown you think you're doing a shutdown and it doesn't fix anything even though it should.

But there is another important thing to know and that is that the restart function is not affected by this fast startup. So if you go to the Start menu you click the Power button actually hit restart then it does actually dump all the files dump all the kernel processes and restarts everything from scratch. So just know that if you're going to be restarting your computer to fix something that's going wrong you're going to have to do an actual restart and then it'll do what you expect here.

If you do a cold shutdown it might not. And I think a lot of people might have this backwards. They think Oh a restart doesn't actually shut everything down. So I'm just gonna press the shutdown button and turn it back on. When really with this Fast Startup feature you should be doing the opposite.

So as long as you know this there's really not a reason to necessarily disable to Fast Startup feature unless you have some other reason. And one of these reasons for example could be if you're doing dual boot. Apparently, when you do the Fast Startup shutdown it basically locks the Windows drive in some way so that if you boot into another operating system it might not be able to access that drive well.

Or if you mess around with the partitions while in another operating system after doing a shutdown with the Fast startup and the kernels still loaded there and you mess with the partitions that could corrupt things. So it's been recommended. I've seen the recommendations where if you're dual-booting two different operating systems it's better to actually disable Fast Startup in Windows. How to Defend Your Online Privacy?

If you want to check if Fast Startup is enabled on your computer which it probably is by default.

1. With Windows 10, you can go to the control panel and then hit hardware and sound power options.

2. And then on the left-hand side click Choose what power buttons do then in this menu, it'll show you whether that box is checked or not for Fast Startup and then you click the UAC permissions thing if you want to change this option.

Now of course I wanted to see how this setting affected my boot time on my computer. So I did a test where I timed from the moment I press the power button into when the desktop for Windows first appeared and then time that. And the results were that when the Fast Startup was on it was about 40 seconds from the time I pressed the button to when the desktop appeared. And when the Fast Startup was off it was like 55 seconds. So it's a significant difference not massive.

I do have a Fast SSD and nvme m.2 SSD. If it was a hard drive it would probably be a much bigger difference though. And then just for curiosity I also timed how long it was from sleep. And with that, it was only about 10 seconds. So clearly from sleep, it is much faster. So really I think it's just important to know about this setting that exists and how it works. So the big thing of course is going to be when you go to turn your computer off and on again to fix something. Know that you're going to have to do the restart. That really should be the big takeaway from this article.

And if you for whatever reason don't want the computer to behave like this on shutdown now at least you know how to know if it is doing that and how you can disable it. So hopefully, this article was helpful to you and I'm looking forward to hearing from you down in the comments especially if you have any other tips you want to share with me.

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