What is Windows 10's fast startup?

And will it make my computer start up faster? Yes. Yes, it will.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Windows 10 is pretty new, but that doesn't mean we're not already looking for ways to speed it up. One built-in feature that can help us accomplish this is "fast startup," which combines the hibernation and shutdown properties to give you a slightly speedier boot-up experience.

Fast startup is sort of like shutdown light -- when fast startup is enabled, Windows will save some of your computer's system files to a hibernation file upon shutdown (or rather, "shutdown"). Then, when you turn your computer back on, Windows will use these saved files to boot up quicker -- basically, booting from hibernate instead of from scratch.

For obvious reasons, fast startup only works if you have hibernate enabled (learn how to enable/disable hibernate here). Also, fast startup only affects shutdowns, not restarts.

Here's how to turn it on (or off):

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

1. Open the Settings menu by clicking the Start button and clicking Settings. In the Settings menu, go to System > Power & sleep and click Additional power settings.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

2. The Power Options window will open. On the left side of the screen, click Choose what the power buttons do.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

3. At the bottom of the window, you should see a section called Shutdown settings. In this section, you'll see an option labeled Turn on fast startup (recommended). To turn on fast startup, check the box next to this option.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you cannot check or uncheck the box next to this setting (if the option is grayed out), scroll up and click Change settings that are currently unavailable. You may be prompted to confirm your choice by a User Account Control (UAC) pop-up window -- click Yes. You should now be able to adjust this setting.

4. Click Save changes to save your changes and exit out of the Power Options window. To see how your changes have affected your startup time, shut down your computer (completely -- restart is not affected by fast startup) and boot it up.

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