Regarding Windows 10 Shutdown Usage

Up until the release of Microsoft’s Windows 10, we’ve all rightfully understood that when we clicked on the Start button followed by Shut Down, the computer closed all open applications and files, disregards saving the running state and fully powers off. You could count on everything being closed out and the computer being completely off.

On the other hand, if you wish to save any aspect of where you’re at when you next work with this computer, you’d likely choose Sleep, which will preserve which applications were open and at what state, documents and their state, and the operating system, drivers, and other support services and their state, then proceed to a sleep state prepared for a quick screen recovery to get you back up and working where you left off.

If so, you’re correct!

However things have changed with Windows 10 and very few are aware of it. And where this is significant is to the technicians in their diagnostic processes where they’re experiencing an oddity and they want to fully shut the computer down to rid the computer of all operational applications, services, drivers, etc. and get a fresh start. Guess what, they’re not!

When the standard Shutdown process is selected in Windows 10 (Click on the Start Image in the bottom left corner, then the Power icon, then Shut Down), Windows will actually close all your applications and opened files, but will hibernate the kernel, saving its state so it can boot faster the next time you power it up. In this hibernation state the computer could be maintaining some of the issues that the technician was assuming would be closed and cleared as part of the shutdown process. You have Windows 10’s “Fast Startup” feature which is set by default to thank for this. This feature started back at the introduction of Windows 8 and has also been called “Fast Boot”, Hybrid Boot” and “Hybrid Shutdown”

To resolve many operational issues, and a just good standard process to maintain, is either configure your Windows 10 computer to automatically fully shutdown when you select shutdown or to change your habits by using a few alternate ways of restarting or shutting down the computer to assure everything is closed and cleared.

Configuring the computer to fully power down itself:

  • To disable Fast Startup, head to Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options > Choose What the Power Button Does. Click the “Change settings that are currently unavailable” link at the top of the window, uncheck the “Turn On Fast Startup (Recommended)” option under Shutdown Settings, and then click the “Save Changes” button.

Alternate ways of shutting down/restarting that fully clear resources:

  • Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard while you click the “Shut Down” option in Windows. This works whether you’re clicking the option in the Start menu, on the sign-in screen, or on the screen that appears after you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  • Click the “Restart” option in the menu instead of the “Shut Down” option. Windows restarts your computer, but it performs a full shut down first and discards the state of the kernel while doing so. Go figure huh! That’s the very reason we all chose shutdown versus restart in the Windows 7 and prior days!
  • And finally, for the command line junkies out there like myself, open a Powershell session and type the command shutdown /s /f /t 0 to perform the computer shut down. If your curious about the parameters, the /s means “shut down”, the /f means force all applications to close without warning, and the /t 0 means wait 0 seconds before performing the action (without the /t parameter it will wait 30 seconds by default).

Hope this helps somebody out there!

Take care,

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