Shutting Down Windows Doesn’t Reset your Pc:

Say what, you mean to tell me that shutting down your computer won’t reset it and fix problems that are making your PC or Laptop run weird.

If you’re like me and have been around computers for a long time you learned in the early days that by shutting down your computer it would reset it. We did this to take care of any system problems that were making our computers act wackily.

In the old ways of Windows when you would power down your unit Windows would shut everything down (memory, drivers for your devices, etc.) and discard the running System. So when you start your unit back up it would start from scratch.

Well not anymore, that is if you’re running Windows 8 and later. Back when Windows made their big change from Windows 7 (this was a great Operating System at that time) to the not so great Windows 8 they added their  “Fast Boot”, also known as “Hybrid Boot or Hybrid Shutdown”. And now it’s called the “Windows 10 Fast Startup”.

What the Fastboot Does:

Fast Startup combines the traditional hibernation mode with the old shutdown process. Now what will happen when you shut down your unit is Windows 10 will save the Windows Kernel to your disk (just like it would do when you put your unit into Hibernation). And at the same time, it will discard all of your open files and programs, just like it did before.

Now when you start your system back up, it will load the Kernel files that it saved on your disk and then the rest of the system files. Thus giving you a faster Boot.

OK, what is the Kernel, well it is a low-level core program resides at the heart of your Operating System and has full control over your drivers, among other things.

Upon boot up, it will be the first file that gets loaded with all your drivers that are used to interact with all of your devices.

This allows your system to startup faster because it will not have to reload all of the drives from scratch, which is one of the time-consuming parts of the Bootup process.

This is where the Problem Occurs:

So what if there were any corrupted drivers in the Kernel data that may have been affecting your System, and causing it to function weirdly? Well, as you can see Windows has saved the problem in the Kernel and it then loaded it back in on bootup, so your problem will still be there.

So if your system is running badly you will want to use the “Reset” instead of the “Shut down”. Windows will now perform a complete shutdown and discard the state of the Kernel giving you a fresh startup of the whole Operating System.

Can you do a complete power Shutdown?

Yes, if want to Power down your system and have it reset everything like we did in the old days, all you have to do is hold down the “Shift key” while clicking on the “Shut down” option.

There are other ways to do this like using the “Command Prompt” and entering  “shutdown /s /f /t 0”, but why bother with all the extra steps when you can simply use the shift key while shutting down your unit.

The only benefit of using the command prompt method is that it will force all open programs to close, as whereas using the shift key method if you have any open programs you will be asked to shut them down.

Can you Permanently stop the Fast Startup?

Yes, if that is something you would like to do because maybe you have some older hardware that doesn’t respond so well to the Fast Startup and you are always stuck with choosing the “Restart” method.

To accomplish this you will need to go into your “Control Panel” >  “Power Options” > “Choose What the Power Button Does”. Then click on the “Change settings that are currently unavailable” and under “Shutdown settings” uncheck “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”, don’t forget to “Save” the new settings.

Should you ever decide to enable it again just follow the same steps above and recheck the “Turn on Fast Startup” box.

As I don’t have any problems with the Fast Startup I plan on leaving it enabled because is nice to have my PC start up faster after shutting it down when I’m not using it for a few days.

And I can always use the “Shift key” > “Shutdown” method if I need to have a complete shutdown of my PC and Laptop.

My final thoughts:

For a while now I had been wondering why restarting my computer took longer to boot back up than when I used the shutdown method. After all, I am from the old school of shutting down a system to fix bugs. I starting using that method more often than the restart one anytime there was an update that required my system to be restarted.

And I do this just because at times I’m in too big a hurry to get nowhere fast!  ? So this is where this article can to be, out of my curiosity as to why the shutting down method was faster that restarting.

Are you surprised as I was, or are you of the new school and already knew this?

I would love to hear your thoughts or question on this, so please let me know in the comment section below.


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About Author

Hello, my name is Kim and I am the owner of this site. I have been working with computers since they first became available to the public.I have built several computers over the years and enjoy helping others with their everyday computing. Should you have any questions about using your computer, or any other device, please leave me a note below in the comment section and I will be more than happy to help you out. Come back often for more tips and solutions to your every day computing.


  1. Tara

    Hi Kim, great article, I have been in IT most of my life and we are working on rolling out Windows 10 – yet I was not aware that fast boot was such a change to the running of the Operating System. My new computer has some major issues with Chrome – I don’t add extensions – but I also haven’t done my usual cleanup to remove whatever the OEM added to the system — such as mcafee web advisor. I will test doing a full shutdown – I regularly use the command line so I’ll add that one to my list. I also like shutdown /l if you need to log out rather than shutdown.

    1. Kim (Post author)

      So good to see you, Tara, In the past, I would always shut down my computer at least once a week just to clear out the cobwebs, but a lot of times the cobwebs where still there, not anymore since I came across an article related to this in my daily browsing for whats new with computers.
      Glad you found this useful,

  2. Cynthia

    I did not know this at all. I have Windows 10 on my desktop and I still have a Windows Vista Laptop. If I uncheck fast startup, then it resets is that correct?

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Cynthia, yes if you uncheck the fast startup it will allow your desktop to shut down completely when you use the “Shutdown” instead of the “Restart”
      Thank you for stopping by,

  3. John

    I started shutting down my laptops every day, I thought that I was starting over each day. Now I know why things do not go away, great tip for getting the most out of your computer when using the new Windows.
    Now I need to go follow your steps to get a fresh start daily. I am going to sign up to your mailing list, as your tips have helped make my online work easier.

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hey John,
      Same thing here, I would shut down my PCs thinking that it would help clean things out, and then I came across an article about the Fast Boot feature of windows.
      Happy to hear this has helped, and looking forward to your sign up for my newsletter.


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