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Why a shutdown in Windows 8 / 10 is not a restart.

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+warwagon    11,946

Ever since the dawn of the personal computer when a computer would act funny or miss-behave people would just turn the computer off (Sometimes for minutes or hours, when in fact the amount of time you leave it off makes no difference unless the issue is heat related) and turn it back on.

 

Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft wanted to make “Windows” Boot faster when you press the power button to turn it on (The time between pressing the power button and arriving at the desktop). To accomplish this they created “Fast startup”.

 

Fast startup is a shutdown + Hibernation Hybrid. First, let’s talk about what hibernation is and how it works.

 

Hibernation allows you to turn the computer completely off (even unplug it if you wish) and when you turn it back on, you are right back where you left off including all the applications you had open.

 

How does all this voodoo work? For hibernation to work, windows looks at how much Ram (memory) you have in your computer.

 

It then creates a file on your hard drive called HIBERFIL.SYS. Back in the days of Windows 2000 and Windows ME, this file was the exact same size as the amount of ram your computer has so if you had 2GB of ram you would of had a 2GB hiberfil.sys file. In Windows 7 they set the file size to 75% and in Windows 8 the file size is smaller yet, due to not hibernating user data during shutdown.

 

When you tell your computer to hibernate, it takes the contents of your ram and dumps it into the HIBERFIL.SYS file. Then the computer shuts off.

 

When you turn the computer back on, the reverse happens. It takes the contents of HIBERFIL.SYS and puts it back into ram and your computer is now booted. One reason this is faster is because typical spinning hard drives are much faster at large singles files than thousands of small files.

 

Now that you know how hibernation works, let’s take a look at how fast startup works. Fast startup works by not hibernating the entire system but just the core functions, such as the kernel (the lowest level of the system), system drivers (software which tells your devices how to operate) and a few others.
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When you turn your computer off in Windows 8 and Windows 10, it first closes all your applications, then it logs off and dumps the system files listed above into the HIBERFIL.SYS file and your machine shuts off.

 

When you turn the machine back on, it will start faster because half of the boot process is transferred directly back into ram, in the exact state it was in before the shutdown, problems and all.

 

This is also why when you select restart instead of shut down it feels like your system takes longer to startup. When you select restart nothing is hibernated and the system has to start everything from scratch.

 

Hopefully, you can see now why turning your computer off and back on in Windows 8 and Windows 10 is pretty worthless for solving any sort of problems and why it’s much better to select restart.

 

The issue I have with Fast Startup is that they told the average user NONE of this. How is the average person supposed to know that turning the computer off and back on won't solve their problem? After all, the process looks the same and it worked just fine in Windows 3.1, Windows 95, 98,ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7.

 

One customer was running Windows 8 and was having problems accessing their email. They were trying to open their email program but nothing was happening. I asked them if they restarted their computer and they told me yes, they turned the computer off 3 times and it still won't work. So I walked them through selecting "Restart" instead of "Shutdown" and after the "restart," their email opened up first try.

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+goretsky    905

Hello,

 

I have upgraded all of my computers to SSDs for at least their boot drives over the years, and find that booting from a powered down state to the logon screen to be fast enough that I disable the hibernation and suspend features of the operating system. 

 

One small bonus to this is that I gain the space back previously used by the HIBERFIL.SYS file on the boot drive (which can be considerable on workstations with 64-96GB of RAM), but the major reason I do this is to avoid incompatibilities with the computer's device drivers that sometimes do not handle the transitions between the different power/suspend states very well.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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dipsylalapo    1,368

Huh not something that I knew :)

 

Personally, being the family "IT guy", if someone has an issue, I always suggest a restart.  More than likely, the issue that they're having is something they want to try again ad see if it's been resolved so I haven't come across that "feature". 

 

Personally, given how little power is used during hibernation, most of the machines that I use frequently aren't ever shut down, they're either restarted or hibernated. 

 

MS should remove the other options from the power menu and keep just restart or hibernate. 

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Squirrelington    35
3 minutes ago, dipsylalapo said:

Huh not something that I knew :)

 

Personally, being the family "IT guy", if someone has an issue, I always suggest a restart.  More than likely, the issue that they're having is something they want to try again ad see if it's been resolved so I haven't come across that "feature". 

 

Personally, given how little power is used during hibernation, most of the machines that I use frequently aren't ever shut down, they're either restarted or hibernated. 

 

MS should remove the other options from the power menu and keep just restart or hibernate. 

What about cases where you'd want a full shutdown (storm, machine move, hardware maint.)?

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AndyMutz    57
On 9/4/2018 at 7:48 PM, warwagon said:

It then creates a file on your hard drive called HIBERFIL.SYS. This file is the exact same size as the amount of ram your computer has.

this is wrong.

on all my systems, where I leave hibernation enabled, the hiberfil.sys file is always much smaller than the amout of RAM in the system.

 

 -andy-

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dipsylalapo    1,368
4 minutes ago, Squirrelington said:

What about cases where you'd want a full shutdown (storm, machine move, hardware maint.)?

Fair points! I stand corrected!

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+warwagon    11,946
14 minutes ago, Squirrelington said:

What about cases where you'd want a full shutdown (storm, machine move, hardware maint.)?

Hibernation is a full shut down. Sleep would not be, but Hibernation is. With Hibernation the computer is OFF!

13 minutes ago, AndyMutz said:

this is wrong.

on all my systems, where I leave hibernation enabled, the hiberfil.sys file is always much smaller than the amout of RAM in the system.

 

 -andy-

I'll edit it. The size probably changes as to how much ram you are are using. After looking it up it appears that in windows 2000 the file was the entire size, but I guess it expands and contracts with other versions of windows.

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dipsylalapo    1,368
1 minute ago, warwagon said:

Hibernation is a full shut down. Sleep would not be, but Hibernation is. With Hibernation the computer is OFF!

So you could in theory disconnect from the power and move the machine etc. 

 

How would a machine deal with a hardware upgrade in hibernation?

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+warwagon    11,946
Just now, dipsylalapo said:

So you could in theory disconnect from the power and move the machine etc. 

 

How would a machine deal with a hardware upgrade in hibernation?

Yes, you can disconnect the power and move the computer. I'm curious, did you read the part where I explained how hibernation worked? lol

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cork1958    1,420

Always hated hibernation as most every machine I've ever owned, or worked on, had issues when resuming. One of the first things I always used to do was disable that crap! I'll either use sleep or turn the computer off when done. Have never left computers on, even over night! I'm on a different one or 2 every day anyway.

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dipsylalapo    1,368
13 minutes ago, warwagon said:

Yes, you can disconnect the power and move the computer. I'm curious, did you read the part where I explained how hibernation worked? lol

Just re-iterating what you said :rofl: 

 

What about hardware upgrades?

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+warwagon    11,946
1 minute ago, dipsylalapo said:

Just re-iterating what you said :rofl: 

 

What about hardware upgrades?

My guess would be yes. Because most people wouldn't know they are in a hybrid state and would always turn the computer off to upgrade their hardware.

 

That being said, if you want to clone a Windows 8 or 10 hard drive with true image, it will bomb out almost instantly if you just turn the computer off, pull the drive in and clone on another machine. If you are pulling the drive, either turn hibernation off, or restart and when the computer starts to come back on turn it off and then pull the drive.

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slamfire92    1,638

I disable the Fast startup feature. Causes problems in situations like if you want to mount an HDD inside Linux for data recovery.

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theefool    6

I personally shut all that stuff off.  Having a M.2 boot device, my computer boots up fast enough for me.  

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+warwagon    11,946

Was doing remote support with someone who was having issues with their usb printer printing. It would print but it would take a few mins. Looked at the system boot time and it was 8/16/2018. I asked him when the last time he restarted it was (which obviously was 8/16/2018) he said "I just turned it on today" So I had to explain to him the difference between a shutdown and restart.

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Eternal Tempest    669
On 9/6/2018 at 8:26 AM, Squirrelington said:

What about cases where you'd want a full shutdown (storm, machine move, hardware maint.)?

Win 10 - I had a game where it crashed and the sound was "stuck". Powered down, powered back up, stuck sound came back.
It wasn't until I did a "restart" no longer hearing the stuck sound.

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+goretsky    905

Hello,

 

On Windows 10 (and perhaps earlier), you can adjust the size of the hibernation file so it is a percentage of RAM (as low as 40%).  For more information open an elevated Command Prompt (filename: CMD.EXE) and type in "POWERCFG /HIBERNATE ?" (without the quotes) and press Enter to see all of the options and their associated values.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

 

On 9/6/2018 at 5:27 AM, AndyMutz said:

this is wrong.

on all my systems, where I leave hibernation enabled, the hiberfil.sys file is always much smaller than the amout of RAM in the system.

 

 -andy-

 

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