Like me, you may have been operating on the previously very good advice that regularly turning your computer off properly would be sufficient for updates and the general health of your computer. Unfortunately Windows 10 has a feature called Fast Startup which is going to require that we change our behaviour again (or disable it).
Fast Startup has been implemented on and off since the bad old days of Windows 8. It was reinstated again in one of the 2019 updates so unless you’ve turned it off since it’s probably a feature of your computer right now. In a nutshell, it means that even when you turn your computer off correctly (ie start menu, power, shut down) it is not entirely shut down as you might expect. It’s actually still in one of many hibernation states. The reasoning is that this allows start up to happen substantially faster than it would from a genuine, complete shut down, and I can understand Microsoft’s reasoning; slow start up is probably one of the top consumer concerns about computers. So of course this means that all the good things you thought you were getting by shutting down properly are not happening: the opportunity to properly close down all files (including background files), to rest hardware, and to carry out updates.
There are three ways to solve this problem
- Carry out regular restarts: while the shut down function does not really mean a full shut down anymore, the restart function (perhaps ironically) does. We would recommend doing this at least weekly
- Turn your computer off at the wall or unplug it. If you’re going to do this it’s very important to wait until the shut down is complete first
- Disable Fast Startup (see below)
How to Disable Fast Startup
- In the search bar in your task bar type ‘control panel’ and click on it to open
- Select Power Options
- On the left, click on ‘Choose what the power buttons do’
- In the Shutdown settings section, uncheck the ‘Turn on fast startup (recommended)’
- If that section is light gray and you can’t change anything there you’ll have to go up the top and click on the blue ‘Change setting that are currently unavailable’, then you’ll be able to carry out the above step
- Save changes
Now you might find that your computer starting up more slowly is too annoying and decide to change this back; remember you can always just carry out regular restarts to achieve the same thing.
If Your Computer is Mis-behaving Now
…then carrying out a restart is a good first step. We always used to tell people to try turning it off and on again but now our advice is to carry out a restart. For example, we had a client who could no longer access Outlook – a restart fixed the problem.