How to Really Shut Down Windows?

How to Really Shut Down Windows?

You may need to shut down your Windows 10 or 11 PC. But thanks to a feature dubbed "Fast Startup," you may not be shutting it down completely. This way results in a fresh OS reload the next time you turn it on. 

How to Really Shut Down Windows?

Follow these suggestions to make sure your computer truly goes down.

  • Fast Startup: Stealth Hibernation

  • Disable Fast Startup Mode

  • Restarting Works Too

Fast Startup: Stealth Hibernation

In most cases, you won't need to shut down your computer. Sleep mode can put your computer into a low-power state that you can resume when you need to use it again. 

However, there are times when you wish to shut down your computer so that Windows 10 or Windows 11 reloads when you restart it. 

Many PCs that support hibernation mode shut down to a similar state. This state saves the state of the operating system (in RAM) to a file called hiberfil.sys. This feature allows Windows to load rapidly when you restart your computer.

Disable Fast Startup Mode

First, you should be aware that all PCs do not support the Fast Startup option. As a result, your computer may be shutting down completely. If your PC takes longer to restart than to conduct a cold boot, you may have a conventional "slow startup." (As you'll see below, restarting avoids Fast Startup.) In the steps ahead, you'll see another way to tell. 

To disable Fast Startup in Windows, go to the Start menu, type "control panel," and click the Control Panel icon.


Click "Hardware and Sound" when the Control Panel appears. 


Click "Change what the power buttons do" under "Power Options." 


All pictures belong to How to Geek.

First, click the "Change settings that are inaccessible" link to the "Define power buttons and turn on the password protection" page. 

Then look at the bottom of the page for the "Shutdown Settings" section. Remove the checkmark next to "Turn on fast startup (recommended)" if it appears. 

Then shut the Control Panel and click "Save Changes." 

Your Windows PC will go down without any hibernation the next time you shut it down. You'll receive a clean boot with a full reload of Windows the next time you start it up.

Restarting Works Too

If you need a clean Windows boot, you may use the "Restart" feature included in Windows instead. If you have a Fast Startup set, restarting this manner will disable it. 

To restart your computer, go to the Start menu and choose the power icon. Select "Restart" from the option that appears.

Your PC will restart entirely with a fresh installation of Windows. This restart should resolve any temporary issues you've been dealing with. Best of luck!


These are a few tips to help you know how to really shut down Windows. If your Windows is installed on a fast SSD, Fast Startup makes no impact, and a complete shutdown is required.

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Jessica Vieira
Jessica Vieira
Jessica Vieira is ProductReviews's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology.