Fast startup is a great feature for improving boot time, but sometimes this can cause problems for Linux dual boot users, or take up precious hard drive space on your machine.


Fast startup is one of the most commonly used features in Windows, designed to improve boot times when starting your PC. Most PCs have this enabled by default, and for the vast majority of users we’d recommend to keep this enabled for the best experience.

However, if you’re one of the users that finds you need to disable this feature (or wants to save some hard drive space), follow this guide to learn more about Fast Startup and how to disable this.

What is Fast Startup?

PCs can be turned off, restarted, and booted up again many times a day, and Microsoft claims that on average each of us boots their PC at least once a day. The good news is that with the Windows fast startup experience, the days of minutes long boot times are gone on Windows 10.

Fast startup is an attempt by Microsoft to speed up this process, by putting your PC into a mixed power state between Hibernation and full shut down. Whilst your PC may look like it’s completely powered off, Windows is actually saving the kernel state to your hard drive and loads this when booting.

Overall this can mean a significant boost to startup times, however this also means that your PC may not be “truly” powered off as you’d expect.

Should I disable fast startup?

Sounds great - why would I want to disable this? Whilst most users will want to keep this activated, there are a couple of situations where it might make sense to disable this.

  • Dual booting with Linux - whilst fast startup is great if you only have one operating system (OS) on the machine, if you want to dual boot with Linux then you might run into problems. Typically the Linux os-prober will not be able to identify Windows 8 or 10 with fast startup enabled, and this may also lock the hard drive (preventing Linux working correctly at all).

  • Devices not supporting hibernation - whilst infrequent, some PCs may run into hardware problems with supporting hibernation. This may appear as buttons on the keyboard not working, the power button being unresponsive, or in some cases being faced with a blank monitor screen until a full restart is carried out.

  • Interference with encrypted disk images - if you’re using something like TrueCrypt or other 3rd party encryption programs, some users have reported compatibility issues with fast startup. This is usually resolved by unmounting the encrypted drives, but if this doesn’t happen automatically you may run into problems.

  • Shutdown should shutdown - fundamentally, fast startup may be counterintuitive to what some users are expecting to happen. Although this speeds up your system, your PC does not truly power off with this mode enabled.

  • Save on hard drive space - although the HD space requirements aren’t massive, if you’d prefer that nothing extra is saved to the hard drive then disabling this is an option.

How to Disable/Enable Fast Startup

The good news is that disabling / enabling fast startup is pretty easy, and can be done in a few simple steps.

  1. Press Windows key + X and select Power Options from the menu that appears.

  1. Alternatively, click Start, and type “Power Options” into the search bar, and select Power & sleep settings. You will then need to select Additional power settings on the right hand side of the settings screen.

  2. You should now see the Power Options window. Select Choose what the power buttons do on the left hand side.

  1. Click on Change settings that are currently unavailable to enable advanced configuration
  2. Uncheck Turn on fast start-up (recommended)

  1. Click Save Changes and you’re good to go!

Disable/Enable Fast Startup via Group Policy Editor

If you’re an enterprise user, running either Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education editions, you may want to use the Group Policy Editor to make changes to your devices.

Unfortunately the Group Policy Editor cannot be used to completely disable fast startup, but using this method can be used to enforce the local group policy.

If Fast Startup options do not appear in your settings using the method above, use this method to re-enable your settings.

Local Group Policy Editor

  1. Click Start, and search for edit group policy in the Windows search bar.
  2. Press “Edit Group Policy” to load the Local Group Policy Editor.
  3. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Shutdown

  1. Right click on Require use of fast startup and select Edit

Editing this policy provides a couple of different options:

  • Enabled - Fast Startup will always be used if this setting is selected.
  • Disabled - Fast Startup is not enforced, and will use the local policy (aka control panel settings).
  • Not Configured - by default most machines will have this set to not configured. If this option is used, Fast Startup is not enforced and will use the local policy (aka control panel settings).

Setting this option to either Disabled or Not Configured will allow you to disable fast startup via control panel options.

Alternatively if you wish to enforce fast startup across the local group, set this policy to Enabled to ignore control panel options.

In conclusion…

We hope this tutorial has been useful. As always, if you run into any issues, feel free to create a new thread on our help forums for free expert technical support!

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