Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hybrid Shutdown Feature in Windows 8 - For Better or Worse

To overcome from slow startup problems in Windows OS, hybrid shutdown is introduced with Windows 8 (also comes with Windows 8.1) along with various other crucial features like OneDrive Integration, bit locker, tiles interface etc. Hybrid shutdown is slightly different from hibernation and sleep mode we use previously in Windows XP or Windows 7, so don’t get confused with it.

What happens when you perform hybrid shutdown?
Whenever the user shutdown their Windows 8 PC, hybrid shutdown will immediately close user session and save the current state of kernel including drivers and running programs into a single hiberfil.sys file and then hardware session to ultimately shut down the PC. On the next restart, hardware will initialize so fast like never before (due to UEFI system in Windows 8 instead of BIOS system) and the operating system reads the content of the hiberfil.sys file to read kernel and user session and then restore the system exactly in the state you’ve left while hibernation. The whole process occurs so fast, as less as 8 seconds and makes the system ready to let user perform their desired operation. 

What are the benefits?
Hybrid shutdown will provide seamless opportunities for users who always dreamed for super-fast computers. It can provide extremely fast shut down and start for PCs with average configuration as well as frequent loading of heavy applications that nearly took almost double time on its predecessor like XP or Windows 7.

If you are using SSD (solid state drive), can make your PC even faster.

Dark side of the hybrid shutdown
Clearly, everything has its own dark side and so as hybrid shutdown which sometime leaves users in deep trouble. Windows 8 PC may give freezing or random restarts while using it, just because of hybrid shutdown feature. Resuming from hibernation sometime throws multiple difficulties and as results, the system might stuck or completely freezes. This is because the size of the hiberfil.sys file which may contain huge information about multiple applications running or have large amount of data stored when the system went into hibernation. 

Any ongoing file that changes haven’t been saved fully or somehow you forget to save, might lost permanently. Moreover, such problems sometime leads to permanent system inaccessibility and prevent user to access the stored data. Such situations can be addressed well only by using powerful Windows file recovery software that scans the problem media using powerful algorithm and make them ready for recovery as soon as the scanning process completed.

Each time you choose to turn off the computer, Windows 8 initializes hybrid shutdown by default unless and until you haven’t chosen to manually disable it. So if you are facing some difficulties with your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 PC such as freezing or automatic restarts, consider disabling hybrid shutdown feature and see if the system may start behaving as it normally does.

Below is the detailed steps on how you can disable hybrid shutdown:

  1. On your Windows 8 or 8.1 computer, press ‘Window’ button + ‘Q’ to open the search text box. Type Power and hit enter. You’ll get multiple search items related to power options.
  2. Click on Settings, located below the App option and then click on Change What the Power Buttons do option from the right side of the screen. In case, you’re using Windows 8.1 computer, this option will be automatically listed at the bottom, just below the search text box. See the image below for reference.

  3. Power options window will open. Scroll down at the bottom and locate the option Turn on fast startup (recommended) under Shutdown settings option. 

    Please note that if the option to deselect Turn on fast startup (recommend) isn’t clickable or has been grayed out, then click on Change settings that are currently unavailable option located under Power button setting button.
  4. Uncheck or deselect the option and press save changes.
  5. Restart your computer.

Most probably, it’ll fix all your freezing or automatic shutdown problems in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 computer.

What if you want occasional complete (real) shutdown as you do in previous version of Windows?
In case you just want complete system shutdown and restart your system with everything fresh including the brand new kernel session, simply click on restart. It’ll turn off all the user, kernel and hardware session before restart and helps you in case you are facing some problems every time you choose to fast shutdown your computer.

Alternatively, there is another way to achieve a complete shutdown and a real cold boot the next time your start your computer by performing the command mentioned below:

Shutdown /s /t 0

Hope this article seems helpful and become handy just in case if you’re wondering for solutions of Windows 8 freezing or automatic restart problem which occurs because of hybrid shutdown.