Last week Microsoft began rolling developer updates on the next-generation Windows through the Engineering Windows 7 blog. For better or worse, the first topic they decided to touch on was boot time, a particular feature of previous and current iterations of Windows that has been heavily criticized for only getting worse despite of the incrementally faster hardware running on PCs today, not to mention the reiterated empty promises of instantaneous boot times.

Now it seems Microsoft has become more serious than ever on improving startup experience, dedicating a full team to improve times for booting, resuming from sleep, and resuming from hibernation. The blog post details some of the under the hood tasks needed on boot and some of the challenges that have prevented Vista (for example) from cutting down significantly on boot and resume times.

The ultimate challenge goes along these lines: "In the lab, a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds." But is that fast enough?

Should that figure account for applications running at startup as well? Could third party developers be aligned for improving the overall Windows experience? Will Windows 7 sleep mode finally work as well as intended despite of the variability of system configurations? And last but not least, is boot time still relevant at all?