Microsoft fans rejoiced when it appeared Windows 8 would boot faster than any other version of the operating system. At first, this seemed like an amazing step forward for Windows, but as the OS was released to the masses, it became apparent that the hybrid boot wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. More and more reports have come out that computers hang during the hybrid boot and shutdown process. Understanding how hybrid boot and shutdown works, along with how to disable both, can combat any issues you have with this feature in Windows 8.
What is hybrid boot and shutdown?
Hybrid boot and shutdown are processes that speed up the normal startup and shutdown time in Windows. Normally, when you do either, your computer goes through a complicated process before it actually boots up or shuts down.
The normal boot usually looks like this:
Pre-boot -> System Initialization -> User Session Initialization
The hybrid boot looks like this:
Pre-boot -> Hiberfile read -> Driver Initialization -> User Session Initialization
System Initialization is what takes the longest time for a computer. This is where drivers, services and basic sessions are loaded into memory before your User Session is loaded. Windows 8 hybrid boot takes the concept of hibernating your computer to boot your system. When you hibernate, your system takes a snapshot of the System Initialization for that session to use when it wakes up. This creates a hiberfil with that session data saved which Windows 8 then uses to wake up from that hibernation.
When you shutdown in Windows 8, you are taking advantage of hybrid shutdown, too. This makes shutting down Windows 8 just as quick as booting it up. When you shutdown, your computer saves that session to the hiberfil involved in the boot. The next time you boot Windows 8, your computer pulls that session data from the hiberfil to hybrid boot.
How to disable hybrid boot in Windows 8
If you experience issues you think are caused by hybrid boot, you can disable it in Windows 8. Your computer will then boot slower like Windows has always booted before the release of Windows 8.
1. Search for “power settings” from the Start screen.
2. Click on “Change what the power buttons do.”
3. Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
4. If prompted, enter the Administrator password to change the User Account Controls.
5. Under Shutdown settings, uncheck the box next to “Turn on fast startup (recommended.)”
6. Click “Save changes,” then restart.
You will see how much slower Windows 8 boots now with hybrid boot turned off.
How to perform a full shutdown in Windows 8
By default, Windows 8 will always do a hybrid shutdown. There are no settings to change to shutting down normally, so we have to create a shortcut to do it ourselves.
1. Right-click your desktop.
2. Click “New.”
3. Click “Shortcut.”
4. For “Type the location of the item,” input this:
shutdown -F -T ## -C "Your message here"
“##” can be any number between 0 and 315360000
You can fill in anything you want to say in the area “Your message here” can be anything you want to say
5. Name the shortcut anything you like.
Click “Finish” to create the shortcut.
6. Right-click the shortcut on your Windows 8 desktop, then click “Properties.”
7. Click “Change Icon….”
A pop-up will appear to warn you that the shortcut you created has no default icons; click “OK” to continue.
8. Select whatever icon you want to represent your shutdown shortcut.
Click “OK” to choose the icon.
9. Click “Apply,” then “OK” to shut the properties for your shortcut.
10. Right-click the shortcut once more.
11. Click “Pin to Start.”
12. Head to your Start screen and click the shutdown tile.
You can now do a normal Windows shutdown whenever you need to by clicking that tile.
Not all Windows users will need to turn off hybrid boot and shutdown. If you are experiencing issues during restarts where Windows 8 lags, you may need to perform a normal shutdown and boot to correct it, and this will allow you to.