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How to enable and troubleshoot fast startup in Windows 10

The fast startup feature on Windows desktops can add value, but IT must understand when it should and shouldn't enable this feature and how to troubleshoot common issues.

The Windows fast startup feature is designed to decrease the amount of time it takes users to boot the Windows OS.

Fast startup in Windows 10 systems is especially effective for PCs that are equipped with hard disk drive storage, but also works on machines with solid-state drives.

How does Windows 10 fast startup work?

IT can enable fast startup in Windows 10 desktops with a hybrid sleep state, which has similarities to traditional desktop hibernation. Normal hibernation writes OS state data and user session data to a file just prior to putting the PC into a minimal power state.

Typically, a user can boot the desktop by simply pressing a key on the keyboard. This causes the PC to enter a normal power state and to boot by loading the hibernation file.

Like hibernation, hybrid sleep uses a hibernation file. However, this file is significantly smaller than a normal hibernation file because it does not include any session data. Instead, the file contains state data for the Windows kernel. When a user boots the desktop, it loads the hibernation file, allowing the OS to start up more quickly than it normally would.

How to enable and disable fast startup in Windows 10 systems

To turn the fast startup feature on or off, IT pros should enter the Control command at the Windows Run prompt. This will cause the Windows desktop to open its Control Panel. Next, they should click on System and Security, followed by Power Options. Next, admins should click on Choose What the Power Buttons do. Fast startup is usually enabled by default, as shown in Figure 1.

Enable fast startup on Windows
IT can enable fast startup with the 'Turn on fast startup' checkbox.

Although the fast startup feature is normally beneficial from a UX perspective, there may be situations when IT needs to disable it. For example, if a desktop is running low on disk storage, then IT may need to disable fast startup to prevent storage issues. IT may also need to disable fast startup if its organization has problems with wake-on-LAN or runs a dual boot setup.

IT pros should note that in Figure 1 the "Turn on fast startup" checkbox is grayed out, which prevents users from disabling the feature. If admins need to disable fast startup, they should click on "Change settings that are currently unavailable." Doing so will prevent the checkbox from being grayed out so users can enable or disable fast startup.

Common issues with fast startup in Windows 10

Several problems can occur due to the fast startup feature. One common problem is that the Windows desktop will not shut down and display the lock screen instead. The fix for this problem is to open the Registry Editor and go to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl. Next, admins should go to the DumpFilters setting and remove everything except for the dumpfve.sys file. IT should keep in mind that editing the registry directly can be dangerous because it bypasses the normal safeguards, so it's a good idea to back up desktops before making any registry modifications to them.

To turn the fast startup feature on or off, IT pros should enter the Control command at the Windows Run prompt.

Another common problem with fast startup in Windows 10 is that it may cause Windows updates to fail. The simple fix for this problem is to restart the OS, which forces the desktop to perform a full shutdown.

One last common issue that can sometimes occur with fast startup is that the desktop hangs while rebooting. Although admins can sometimes correct the problem by disabling fast startup, there are often other methods to address the issue. For example, admins can try unplugging any unnecessary USB hardware. IT pros should also apply any available firmware updates for the desktop, and if that doesn't work, open the Task Manager and disable any unwanted startup items.

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