A few weeks ago, I installed AVG PC TuneUp on my Windows 8 laptop. It recommended that I disable hibernation - this would increase performance. From that point, start-up and shut-down became excruciatingly slow, considering for the speed of my laptop (a 4th-gen i7 with 6GB RAM).

Unfortunately, it took me a while to correlate the slow speed and the fact that I disabled hibernation.

After re-enabling it manually (I had uninstalled TuneUp, and was not willing to re-install it), start-up and shut-down resumed to normal speeds - 8 seconds to start up, and 5-10 seconds to shut down.

My questions: Does the Windows start-up and shut-down procedure have some sort of reliance on the hibernation file? If so, does anyone know what it is? Any other information about this would be appreciated as well.

A little background to the speed and/or performance changes:

These are the symptoms that I experienced:

  1. Start-up would take up to ten times longer than usual,
  2. The login screen would take forever to load up (after boot screen, a black screen, and then the lock screen),
  3. After entering my PIN, it would take up to 20 seconds for Welcome to be displayed (sometimes the lock screen would pull down after entering my PIN and it thought it was idle),
  4. The loading up of the desktop would take quite some time, and the System process would use 100% disk and 40-50% CPU activity for about 2 minutes,
  5. Shut-downs occurred in a different manner: normally, Windows would show Shutting Down for about a second, and then the screen would turn off, but the power light would remain on for another 6 seconds and then turn off (indicating full system shut-down). With hibernation disabled, however, it would display Shutting Down for around 10 seconds, and then both the screen and the power light would turn off at the same time (indicating full system shut-down).
  • 1
    Here's an article that describes the changes in Windows 8 boot. It explains the reliance on hibernation – Tymric Jul 12 '15 at 11:20
  • It became excruciatingly slow, considering for the speed of my laptop (a 4th-gen i7 with 6GB RAM). On which type of drive is the OS installed ? HDD or SSD ? If first one, then this is the bottleneck. – tigrou Jul 12 '15 at 15:28
  • Sure, my choice of the word excruciatingly was maybe a tad over-board. One just becomes used to something and when it changes, the world essentially comes to a grinding halt. Thanks for the pointer though - have been planning on an SSD anyway. – Mike Rockétt Jul 12 '15 at 15:52

Windows 8 has "Hybrid Shutdown" enabled by default. In this mode, Windows doesn't shut down after logging you out, but enters hibernation. (Except when rebooting.)

Disabling hibernation forces Windows to revert to fully shutting down and booting up.

  • 1
    This is once again a good example of why one should never use these "tune-up" softwares. They usually only hurt performance. – Sami Kuhmonen Jul 12 '15 at 15:53
  • @SamiKuhmonen - Indeed. They were essentially for older machines that needed it. Truthfully, I only really used TuneUp for customisation (specific system settings, in particular). – Mike Rockétt Jul 12 '15 at 15:55
  • Shouldn't this have a noticeable effect on battery life? (Also I'm assuming hibernation ≠ sleep mode) – Arc676 Jul 13 '15 at 9:02
  • @Arc676 What do you mean? After hibernating, the system doesn’t consume power (to preserve any state), just like with a regular shutdown. – Daniel B Jul 13 '15 at 9:31
  • Then how is hibernating any different from shutting down? – Arc676 Jul 13 '15 at 9:49

In the late 1970's there was the Intertec Superbrain, a Z80 based CP/M offering. One the features was "Phantom Boot ROM". It did not have to run through a full boot, as a "saved" state existed. It was an "instant on" machine.

Similarly, on z/OS mainframes, CICS transaction server instances can be "warm started" or "cold started". A warm start begins from a saved point of consistency.

And the mainframe itself can be booted from a later save point in its own boot process. (IPL rather than IML).

Ubuntu (et al.) has "ureadahead". As well as hibernation.

Any scheme that saves a state for which considerable work has to be expended to reach (work that exceeds the work required to save and restore) has a net benefit to start-up performance.

The only savings you will get from not using Windows hibernation are :

  1. Shutdown time.
  2. Storage.
  3. Power, if you are running so short a good hibernate is not guaranteed.
  4. Effort required to check and repair integrity when hibernation fails.

Remember that Windows Vista would take 5 minutes to boot in the extreme ?

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