Windows 10 Shut down vs Restart

A common request we make of end users is for them to restart their computers. "Why?!" they may ask?, "I shut down every night!"

Simply, in Windows 10 a Shut down is different from a Restart.

Windows 10 includes a feature called Fast Startup. You can read tech technical engineering notes from Microsoft about Fast Startup here

When we boil down the technical information, here is the difference between a Shut down and a Restart:

Shut Down

This is like a hibernation. When you click Shut down, the system state is written to a file called a hibernation file. When you power the computer back on, rather than Windows load the operating system, drivers, devices and services, which all takes time, instead the previous system state is read back into memory and you get to a logon screen faster.

You can override the default shut down behaviour by holding down the SHIFT key when you click Shut down in the power menu. This will tell Windows 10 not to save the system state and to perform a complete system shutdown ready for a clean boot next time the system is powered on.


A restart does not commit this system state to a file, instead the system is fully closed down when you click Restart, and when the system boots again, the entire process to get the operating system running has to be run from scratch. This means startup takes longer, but you get a cleaner system once that has completed.

Benefits of a restart

  1. Resources that are lost due to leaky or poorly written apps are recovered
  2. Updates that require a full system close down and restart are installed successfully

You can read more in these 2 articles:

How to Shut Down a Windows 10 computer

How to Restart a Windows 10 computer

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