Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

In a previous article describing how to create shutdown shortcuts in Windows 11, we briefly touched on the Fast Startup feature, which allows your Windows 11 PC to boot faster by using a hybrid hibernation file stored on your system hard drive. On many new Windows 11 computers, access to the checkbox that turns Fast Startup on is unavailable.

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However, with a specific command entered from the Windows 11 command line, we can grant ourselves access to that checkbox and toggle Fast Startup on or off at will. The key to gaining control of this feature is a PC that can use the full Windows 11 hibernation feature, which is not always active by default.

How to take control of Fast Startup in Windows 11

To understand what problem we are addressing, open the Windows 11 Control Panel and select the Power Options item from the list of settings, then click Choose What The Power Buttons Do.

Take note that on many newer and more powerful systems, it may not be necessary to activate the hibernate feature at the command prompt because the feature is active by default. On that possibility, you may want to try disabling the Fast Startup option now, before performing the steps shown in this technique.

As you can see in Figure A, our example laptop computer, purchased new in 2021 and pre-installed with Windows 11, is running with Fast Startup on and active. However, what should we do when the checkbox cannot be changed from this screen?

Figure A

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

We created the shutdown shortcut in the previous article to circumvent this feature as needed, but what if we want to turn it off more permanently?

Also notice in Figure A that the Hibernate feature is off and that it cannot be changed from this screen. We will have to activate the Hibernate feature at the command prompt to gain access to all these features.

Start by typing “command prompt” in the Windows 11 desktop search tool and then selecting the Run As Administrator item from the list of results, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

At the prompt, type this command:

powercfg -h on

As you can see in Figure C, there is no confirmation or other response from the system.

Figure C

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

Close the command prompt screen and return to the Windows 11 Control Panel and select the Power Options item from the list of settings, then click the Choose What The Power Buttons Do.

Click the Change Settings That Are Currently Unavailable link, as shown in Figure D, and you will now be able to change all of those previously grayed out settings.

Figure D

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

Be sure to save your changes before exiting the Windows 11 Control Panel.

Should you disable Fast Startup in Windows 11?

Under normal circumstances, the Fast Startup option works as intended and does not cause any major problems. Turning the feature off is also not harmful, but it does noticeably increase the time it takes to boot your Windows 11 PC.

For high performance computer use, it can be beneficial to occasionally perform a clean boot to clear corrupted memory, files and drivers from the system. Perhaps a periodic complete shutdown is all you need to have the best of both worlds.