5 Tips to Fix Slow Boot Times in Windows 10


Microsoft has celebrated the first birthday of Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update (AU), available now for anyone running Windows 10. The update brings many new features, including new powers for Cortana and streamlining the experience across the board.

However, it’s not all perfect. There have been tons of issues caused by the Anniversary Update, with new problems popping up all the time. While we’ve discussed fixes for many of them, one of the most prevalent problems seems to be that Windows takes forever to boot after the AU.

Let’s take a look at a variety of fixes that might clear up this issue for you. If you don’t have the AU yet, you can get it now, but be sure to back up first in case something goes wrong.

Please note that while we are covering common solutions to this issue, this is not an exhaustive list of fixes. If you try all of these and still experience slow booting, you might have a bigger problem. In addition, you should review the general guide to speeding up Windows 10 for more generic tips.

1. Disable Fast Boot

Far and away, the most problematic setting when it comes to boot time in Windows 10 is the Fast Boot option. Enabled by default, this option is supposed to reduce startup time by pre-loading some boot information before your PC shuts off. While the name sounds promising, it’s been causing issues for a lot of people, and is the first thing you should disable when you have boot problems.

Open the Start Menu and type Power Options to get to the Power menu, then click Choose what the power buttons do in the left panel. You’ll need to provide administrator permission to change the settings on this page, so click the text at the top of the screen that reads Change settings that are currently unavailable.

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Now, untick Turn on fast startup (recommended) and Save Changes to disable this setting. Note that restarting your computer isn’t affected by this feature.

If you don’t see the Fast Boot option, you don’t have hibernation enabled and thus it won’t show up. To enable hibernation, open an administrator Command Prompt by right-clicking on the Start button and choosing Command Prompt (Admin). Type the following command to turn it on:

powercfg /hibernate on

2. Adjust Virtual Memory Settings

Virtual Memory is a feature Windows uses to dedicate a part of your hard drive as pretend RAM. Of course, the more RAM you have the more tasks your system can handle at once, so if Windows is close to maxing out RAM usage, it dips into the virtual memory storage.

Some users have reported the AU changing their Virtual Memory settings, causing boot issues. Let’s have a look at your Virtual Memory settings and see if they can be changed to fix the problem. Type Performance into the Start Menu and choose the Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.

Under the Advanced tab, you’ll see the size of the paging file (another name for virtual memory); click Change to edit it. What’s important here is at the bottom of the screen — you’ll see a Recommended amount of memory and a Currently Allocated number. Users having issues have reported that their current allocation is way over the recommended number.

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If yours is as well, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives to make changes, then choose Custom Size and set Initial Size and Maximum Size to the recommended value below. Reboot, and your boot time should improve.

For more on RAM, check out all you need to know about memory management.

3. Turn Off the New Linux Terminal

The AU added a complete Linux BASH terminal to Windows 10, a first for Windows. It’s exciting for developers, but it might also the culprit of your boot issues. This feature isn’t turned on by default, so if you don’t know what BASH is, you probably don’t need to try this step as you would know if you turned it on.

To turn off the Linux shell, type features into the Start Menu to open the Turn Windows features on or off menu. Scroll down to Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta), uncheck it, and restart. If this fixes your issues, but you need the Linux terminal, you can download other tools to get the Linux command line on Windows.

4. Update Graphics Drivers

Windows 10 has been known to mess with drivers, and the AU isn’t an exception, unfortunately. Some users have reported that updating their graphics card drivers fixes boot issues, so let’s give it a look.

Open the Device Manager by right-clicking on the Start button and clicking Device Manager. Navigate to Display Devices to see which graphics card you’re using. You’ll then need to navigate to the vendor’s website (or your laptop manufacturer’s website, if you’re using integrated graphics on a laptop) to check for driver updates. If there’s an update, go ahead and install it.

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Hopefully, this will fix your issue. It might be worth checking for other driver updates in the Device Manager as well, but we haven’t seen anyone discuss other drivers as a cause of slow booting.

5. If All Else Fails, Perform a Fresh Install

If you’ve tried all the above solutions and still can’t speed up your boot time, it might be best to cut your losses and re-install a fresh copy of Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update. We’ve guided you through making install media on a flash drive or DVD; you’ll just need to back up your data before doing the install, since it will wipe out everything.

If you’re using a Microsoft account with Windows 10, you can easily migrate your settings after reinstalling.

Get Running Faster

Hopefully, applying one or all of these fixes works for you. It’s a pain that so many people have run into issues with the Anniversary Update, but hopefully once they’re corrected, they can go on to enjoy all the features in the new version.

Looking for more help fixing Windows 10? Check out common pre-Anniversary Update issues and how to fix them.

If you were experiencing slow boot times, which of these fixes worked for you? If these didn’t work, let us know what else you tried in the comments!