Microsoft demos fast boot times in Windows 8

By on September 9, 2011, 1:00 PM

If you think your highly-optimized Windows 7 machine running multiple SSDs in RAID0 boots fast, think again. Microsoft has published a new write-up and video on their Building Windows 8 blog that is sure to put today’s fastest booting systems to shame.

Most people associate a fast-booting OS with a high-performance machine, and this is often an accurate assumption. But even the fastest machines I’ve worked with still take 25-30 seconds to boot into Windows. This is fast by today’s standards, but not good enough for Microsoft’s next-gen OS.

There are alternatives to a full system shutdown such as hibernation and sleep/resume but according to Microsoft, 57 percent of desktop users and 45 percent of notebook users prefer to shut their systems down rather than putting them to sleep. Reasons for a full shutdown include zero power draw and a fresh start when the user comes back for their next session.

Microsoft has been working hard on Window 8’s boot process in order to accomplish three main goals: zero watt power draw when off, a fresh session after boot and very fast times between pressing the power button and being able to use the computer.

In a traditional shutdown, the operating system closes all of the user sessions. In the kernel session, services and devices are closed to prepare for a complete shutdown. This means that during the next boot, the system will have to perform a full initialization.

In Windows 8, user sessions are still closed but the kernel session is put into hibernation. Hibernation is described as effectively saving the system state and memory contents to a file on disk and reading it back when the system is resumed. Microsoft says this method results in 30 to 70 percent faster boot times on systems they have tested.

As you can imagine, using a solid state drive will significantly reduce kernel hibernation write and read times. Furthermore, Microsoft also added a new multi-phase resume capability which uses all of the cores in a multi-core system in parallel to quickly restore the kernel.




User Comments: 31

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SKYSTAR SKYSTAR said:

good to know that

bakape said:

OK this might be the decisive reason to switch to 8.

Do note that they did not boot the user session, but that is still a pretty quick leap to the welcome screen.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

this is interesting, i'm sure it stores the kernel on an HDD, however - this all then rides on the quality of your hdd, slow HDD = slower boot times, i'd like to see the specs of the laptop she's using! I'm sure she's got a SSD in there.

Not looking at spending another $150 on my windows 8 "os" though i'll stick with linux for now. i've got like <10 second boot times anyway.

Cota Cota said:

"Most people associate a fast-booting OS with a high-performance machine, and this is often an accurate assumption"

Dont ever post this again.

Power users have a lot of software installed, wich requires services or the self programs to be run on startup so this term is really incorrect since most of the startup time its the HDD's and bios fault and not the whole PC'f fault.

For example i put my Asus Rampage II Extreme, i7 @4.2GHz, 9GB Ram at 1.3GHz and a HDD Sata 2:

It takes at least 2 mins to fully start all the services and programs i need (and when i said need i really mean it, other non essential apps are executed by a selfmade app after the PC is fully started)

Now for a "polished-crap" example lets put a mini laptop that i just fixed:

Atom N455, 1GBDDR3 and Sata 2 HDD

It only has 7 Home P, Nod32, Office 2010 and the usual software (Messenger and such..); it takes no more than 23 seconds to start.

So yeah that Atom AA battery calculator is way better than my desktop.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Would it not be better time spent to AVOID the need for reboot? :giggling:

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So now, the question of the day... Since they seem to have redefined what a "boot" is, how long does an actual FULL power cycle boot take?

This new method is great, don't get me wrong, and it reminds me a bit of smartphone booting. You "turn off the phone" but it really just does a form of hibernation, so that when you start it back up, it's a short jump to full operation. However, if you hibernate your kernel, it doesn't fix the crap that might have gotten in there and messed up your system, so a full reset may be needed. And anyone who has had to do a battery pull reset on a Blackberry knows that the actual initial boot process is looooooooooooong. Have to wonder what a comparable situation is for Win8?

Guest said:

We have seen some drastic improvements over the years from Microsoft for faster booting. Windows 7 is far better than Windows XP in booting and shut down time. Hoping Windows 8 to be far more superior. Still there will be some dependencies.

[Read More - http://goo.gl/QzBdi]

pgbsamurai said:

Yes this will make the boot faster, but I see problems if there is not a way to do a full shutdown. Often times you reboot because you want your kernel to be completely reloaded. That is the reason a reboot will fix a lot of issues. Not to mention the fact that I still have yet to see sleep and hibernate modes consistently work correctly in any version of Windows. My faith in Microsoft in this regard is not high.

bakape said:

Would it not be better time spent to AVOID the need for reboot? :giggling:

Point taken.

Guest said:

@cota, I don't see how you can make that comparison. If you installed all of your start-up programs onto the laptop, it would take much longer than the PC to boot up, which is what he was saying.

Chazz said:

Vrmithrax said:

So now, the question of the day... Since they seem to have redefined what a "boot" is, how long does an actual FULL power cycle boot take?

This new method is great, don't get me wrong, and it reminds me a bit of smartphone booting. You "turn off the phone" but it really just does a form of hibernation, so that when you start it back up, it's a short jump to full operation. However, if you hibernate your kernel, it doesn't fix the crap that might have gotten in there and messed up your system, so a full reset may be needed. And anyone who has had to do a battery pull reset on a Blackberry knows that the actual initial boot process is looooooooooooong. Have to wonder what a comparable situation is for Win8?

I'd recommend reading the article, they actually talk about most of the comments that everyone is making. Cold boot times will be better than windows 7 but they don't specify by how much. It seems like a slight improvement.

As for the other posters, they said in the article that they were using a SSD for that video.

They also said there will be ways to initiate a cold boot manually and that whenever you hit the restart button your computer will cold boot. As well, if you turn off hibernation then your system will always cold boot.

Cota Cota said:

Guest said:

@cota, I don't see how you can make that comparison. If you installed all of your start-up programs onto the laptop, it would take much longer than the PC to boot up, which is what he was saying.

nvm i was drunk and misread it :P, but the idea stands

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Chazz said:

I'd recommend reading the article, they actually talk about most of the comments that everyone is making. Cold boot times will be better than windows 7 but they don't specify by how much. It seems like a slight improvement.

Now, see, I read the article, and the source blog linked, and not once in any of it did I see an actual reference to a Windows8 cold boot being faster than a Windows7 cold boot. Hence, my original post. I just read the article and linked blog again, even watched the video, and still no reference to Win8 cold booting faster than 7. So, either I'm completely missing that statement (which I will gladly own up to if you can show me where it is), or you've got information that isn't in that linked blog...

Either way, your info answers my question - I was picturing super fast smart booting, but ungodly slow cold booting. Nice to know that 8 will actually improve on 7's already improved cold boot times.

Guest said:

I love watching these little arguments over nothing.

Chazz said:

Vrmithrax said:

Now, see, I read the article, and the source blog linked, and not once in any of it did I see an actual reference to a Windows8 cold boot being faster than a Windows7 cold boot. Hence, my original post. I just read the article and linked blog again, even watched the video, and still no reference to Win8 cold booting faster than 7. So, either I'm completely missing that statement (which I will gladly own up to if you can show me where it is), or you've got information that isn't in that linked blog...

Either way, your info answers my question - I was picturing super fast smart booting, but ungodly slow cold booting. Nice to know that 8 will actually improve on 7's already improved cold boot times.

"Boot work is mostly owned by our Kernel Platform Group, but a number of teams came together in Windows 8 to make changes across the OS to support this new mode, plus other exciting boot changes that we'll talk about very soon..."

On top of them saying that they wanted to do more than just incremental updates to the boot process. I guess that particular one requires reading between the lines but it seems they have some other small changes in effect. I have experienced the blackberry cold boot and I'm sure it won't be anything like that. It takes eons.

Guest said:

Windows loads fast on an SSD? Mind is blown.

Gars Gars said:

we need to become light speed on F8 lol

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

So hibernate is obsolete now. Neat.

SammyJames said:

Cota said:

Power users have a lot of software installed

Not necessarily. That depends on what "power user" means. In my case, I'm considered a power user -- because I know my software well. But I only uses a few programs, and I never have them automatically start at login.

When I open Cubase, I have already checked for the latest OS updates, installed them first, and only then do I get to my software. Sometimes I do a full disk defragmentation or cleanup. At other times I may spend a few minutes ensuring that my various plug-ins are all up-to-date.

Some people might find my way of doing things frustrating, or simply a waste of time. That may be true, but it is my way of doing things. And I've been using the same computer for over two years, without having it serviced once. Plus, I've managed to create at least one album's worth of music, some video editing, and some other music that I produced for a friend of mine.

That should tell anyone that I have enough of an idea of how to use my computer and my software properly. I may or may not be a "power user" -- but blanket statements like "Power users have [insert viewpoint here]" seem controversial at best.

SammyJames said:

Would it not be better time spent to AVOID the need for reboot? :giggling:

Possibly. But I prefer to shut my system down entirely at the end of the day. I come from a time when you shut EVERYTHING down in the recording studio before reopening it the next day. This was done to prevent shortouts, equipment failure, and "ghosts" and "goblins" from destroying the day's work.

I'm not alone, but these days it seems as though so many more of us are leaving their computers on all-the-time. I have few problems waking up in the morning, starting up, working for a bit, and then shutting things down. Yes, I know -- creativity and blah blah blah. But I've never lost a musical idea because I wasn't next to my computer. (Some might say that it's a darned good thing that I DID lose certain musical ideas... others have said that it didn't matter that I remembered ANY of my musical ideas... people can be really mean sometimes...)

But anyway. The point is that we ARE just having a discussion. I, for one, enjoy talking about the minutiae of boot times. Man, this is what I LOVE about TechSpot! It's like coming home all over again.

- S

linnyrick said:

I always hibernate and I use IE8 with windowa XP on a desltop. It is very fast to open IE.I do a cold start evey so often so as to remove any doubt about using hibernation.

I am new to Tech and I want to say hello to everyone!

linnyrick said:

One day I will learn how to spell or correct errors .

SammyJames said:

linnyrick said:

I always hibernate and I use IE8 with windowa XP on a desltop. It is very fast to open IE.I do a cold start evey so often so as to remove any doubt about using hibernation.

I am new to Tech and I want to say hello to everyone!

Hey -- welcome to TechSpot. I'm not new to tech per se, but I'm still pretty new around here on this site.

I am intrigued by what you wrote. I was talking to my dad earlier today about hibernation. I'm not sure of this, but I think that there IS a catch to all of this somewhere. I think that it depends upon what you use your system to do. My work requires a lot of memory and a lot of system resources, all directed toward one specific thing -- namely, producing music.

But I might give it a whirl to see how things go. And don't worry about spelling errors -- since we can't edit comments in stories like we can in the forums, I've gotten used to ocasinlally lveaing some tpoys in here...

- S

Guest said:

To Cota

WOW, that is a long time to boot. Too bad that you have to use Windows.

bakape said:

One day I will learn how to spell or correct errors .

Click on the "subscribe to thread" link at the bottom and you will be redirected to the forum thread.

grvalderrama said:

why, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy is such a big deal how long it takes to boot?? Come on, turn it on and get a glass of water, it would already boot at the time you sit back again!

Det Det said:

This isn't really a big deal. They didn't optimize the boot in any way. The only thing they did is they made hibernation to be used by default (and since I'm the only user on my PC I don't want it to hibernate just the kernel session).

Guest said:

@ sammyjames & linnyrick:

Typos are a no no on this site. Not to mention "Grammar". If you don't believe me, ask Captaincranky and his sidekicks.

p.s.: I think they work for edge.

mailpup mailpup said:

...since we can't edit comments in stories like we can in the forums...
Yes you can if you are registered (guests cannot). Enter from the forum side.

Guest said:

Five or six full seconds to boot? Ridiculously too long. This is a problem that should have been solved 6 versions of windows ago. And why do they keep releasing slower and slower of windows anyway? I use windows 2k and it loads way WAY faster than the win7 I removed from my new laptop. W2k is the only OS that eventually reached a normal product. The rest are broken junk.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Five or six full seconds to boot? Ridiculously too long. This is a problem that should have been solved 6 versions of windows ago. And why do they keep releasing slower and slower of windows anyway? I use windows 2k and it loads way WAY faster than the win7 I removed from my new laptop. W2k is the only OS that eventually reached a normal product. The rest are broken junk.

This really made my day lol you are kidding right

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