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).
Checking the duration of my internet connectivity proved i was right, it was nearly 2 hours.
So i am asking, does Windows 8 really shutdown? Or does it go into some form of hibernation to enable it to start faster?
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:
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.
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.