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I have Windows 8 Pro installed on a laptop and i use it for hours at a time, like in 8 - 10 hour periods before shutting down or restarting. I'm as usual impressed with the incredible startup speed which is 4 times my Windows 7 startup speed before upgrading. However, on several occasions i have noticed that the uptime displayed by the task manager in Windows 8 does not correspond with the exact time i started it. For example, i powered on the laptop for about 2 hours since my last use and the uptime was well over 11 hours (I am sure i hit the shutdown button and its functionality is set to shutdown the pc).

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Checking the duration of my internet connectivity proved i was right, it was nearly 2 hours.

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So i am asking, does Windows 8 really shutdown? Or does it go into some form of hibernation to enable it to start faster?

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marked as duplicate by Karan, Scott, CharlieRB, oKtosiTe, Mokubai Mar 19 '13 at 19:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Nice job cross-referencing it with the WiFi connection time. – Joel B Mar 19 '13 at 17:40
When you say "the shutdown button", you do mean to button on your screen, right? Not the physical button on your computer? – oKtosiTe Mar 19 '13 at 19:50
@oKtosiTe both actually, i also mention that i observed said behavior on several occasions using both methods. What is wrong with the physical button? It shuts down the same way as clicking shutdown, it only does so abruptly when held. – user178744 Mar 19 '13 at 19:54
@oKtosiTe oh, in this case both had been configured to shutdown. – user178744 Mar 19 '13 at 20:04
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Windows 8 is based on a hybrid startup/shutdown process. It doesn't actually turn off the same way as on the previous Windows version(s). Windows 8 shutdown "saves" running services and drivers loaded to something like a hiberfile and resumes it on the next "fast startup". This is well explained on this site:

The reason for this speedy behavior is in the way Windows 8 shuts down. The new shutdown is similar to hibernation found in the current and older version of Windows, except it does save and re-open all your apps upon startup. Instead of saving everything, Windows 8 saves just the OS kernel in a file on the hard drive and then uses it to while booting up, speeding the whole processing considerably. Windows 8 also makes full use of multi-core processors to load the hibernation file. Also, since it does not save your applications, the hibernation file is also much smaller than usual.

By having these "previous services and drivers saved" on the hybrid startup, Windows 8 doesn't need to step over all the system initialization processes, starting services and drivers, it just "resumes" it:

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If you run shutdown /f /s /t 0 for example, it will actually shut down. I tend to do this because I'm lazy, and was actually causing my PC to take longer than it needed to the next time it booted. It turns out that you can add /hybrid to shutdown.exe to cause it to shutdown the "normal" way as described above. Much better. – Mark Allen Mar 19 '13 at 17:53

The default for Windows 8 is Hybrid Shutdown which logs off and then hibernates the Operating System. Restart will do a traditional boot.

This is controlled by the 'Turn on fast start-up' setting in Power Options.

There are many questions about this on Superuser.

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Check in the Power Settings - perhaps you have some form of hybrid mode set?

You could also try removing the battery and power cord after shutdown and see if that changes things.

As far as I am aware, a shutdown really is just that. Certainly on my laptops I can easily tell the difference between a reboot after a shutdown, hibernate and sleep.

Thanks to @Virtlink for correcting me. He is right, Windows 8 does not, by default, shut down in the way that us old codgers are used to. Here are some links to further information:

The bottom line is that the normal "shutdown" option doesn't fully shutdown in the traditional sense because Microsoft are trying to get to the point where you never need to do such an old-fashioned thing.

It seems that, if you do a restart, things get properly reset or if you turn off "Fast Restart". See the links for details.

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You are not correct. Windows 8 by default does not shut down in such way that it has shut down drivers and services. Instead it stores them in a hybernation file. You can see this when there are updates to be installed: on previous Windows versions you could shut down and later start up your computer and updates would get installed. In Windows 8, because drivers and services are not really shut down, they cannot be updated. You have to explicitly Update and restart to get updates to be installed. – Virtlink Mar 19 '13 at 17:34
Thanks @Virtlink, you are absolutely correct. I'll update my answer with some links. – Julian Knight Mar 20 '13 at 16:30