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back to article Windows 8 to boot in 8 seconds

Microsoft is touting very fast boot times for Windows 8, thanks to the clever trick of writing the kernel state to disk at shutdown. Rather than write the whole contents of memory to Windows' hibernation file, Windows 8 just writes enough to be able to put the state of driver, services and such back into memory, ready to run, at …

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Bronze badge
Joke

8 Seconds, eh??

Other things work in 8 seconds as well, but one usually calls that "premature"!

Maybe Steve Ballmer can elaborate on this as well!

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FAIL

Didn't Microsoft promise this for Vista and Windows 7 too?

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but I think I remember reading something on this very channel, that someone held a patent for such trickery. Perhaps El-Reg can enlighten us.

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Go

Blame the driver writers

They've been optimizing boot performance for years - as with many of Windows' deficiencies it's primarily the result of poorly optimised drivers:

http://jvert.wordpress.com/2007/02/20/fast-resume-6-years-later/

By hibernating the kernel Windows 8 should be able to sidestep this problem with slow-loading drivers - quite a neat solution.

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Anonymous Coward

Believe it when I see it

Most impressive but is this with a i7 with a solid state drive and fresh install?? What will it be like when its had apps installed and the build is over 6 months old, what then?

Believe it when I see it

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JC_

Read the Article

Yes, the laptop in the demo video has an i7 chip and an SSD. It'll probably be just as fast after six months though, going by the 2 year old SSD in my Win7 desktop, which hasn't slowed down at all.

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Silver badge

Beg to differ

Win 7 hibernate on my laptop with raid 0 ssd's is actually slower than a cold boot.

Plus ms still fail to make hibernate 100% reliable.

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Meh

Then it's irritating marketing rather than a really good technical effort.

I don't consider the time of booting to be how long it takes the kernel to reinstate itself, but the total time between power on and usable desktop (excluding the time it takes me to enter my user name and password).

Considering that it seems to be the post-kernel boot process that's the real killer, that's where the effort needs to be applied.

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Glad to see Windows catching up

Of course there's been Linux Distros booting up in similar times for years.

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Pint

I was waiting

"for the Linux has been doign this for year comment."

surprised it took 5 comments to be honest....

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Coat

Title goes here

Thats nothing, my ZX81 used to boot up even faster than Linux...

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o rly?

You know a zx81 used tape. IIRC Boot times were horribly slow....

Why is it so terrible to point out that other OS's boot times?? Surely the only reason they've bothered to improve boot time is because of competing OS's?

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(pls ignore terrible grammar, it's been a long lunch)

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Yes, really.

Pretty much any 8-bit (save for a few Research Machines Z80-based beasts that actually DID boot from disk or network) had a usable, working operating system up within about a second of hitting the power switch.

Whether you chose to load an *application* from tape or disk at that point is irrelevant. The OS was ready, and had booted. That's the point - not application loading times, or the speed of attached storage.

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Silver badge

zx81 os

the os on the zx81 was on a rom not a tape. You switch the zx81 on and the os loads pretty much instantly. Of course if you wanted to use it to do something other than code in basic you had to load from a tape, but the os (such as it was) was built in.

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Unhappy

fair point

you got to the point where you had a command line from which you could write a 2 line goto loop fairly quickly. And strictly speaking that is the point and yes you're both correct.

However, the example I was trying to make (badly) is that modern, rival Os's often boot up to a usable state quicker than MS products and if that wasn't the case then MS wouldn't be striving to make their boot time quicker...

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Silver badge
Pirate

Re: ZX81

Pah! My BBC Micro was quicker! Switch on, Boop-Beep! and there you were!

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Unhappy

Re: ZX81

I remember ordering a ZX81 when I was a young ignorant programmer (and now of course, I'm an old ignorant programmer) but the delivery time was going to be phenomenal, which cancelled out the OS loading time, on average. And I too got a BBC Micro, which in those days was easy to learn inside out.

Then I sold it, and I so regretted selling it (the BBC).

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Stop

@ Graham Marsden

Actually the ZX81 would be quicker, 'cos it didn't do any of that poncey showboating "Boop-Beep" shit before displaying the command line (it didn't have sound y'see).

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Windows

I see....

"Windows 8 will retain the - optional - ability to perform a full cold boot, loading and initialising the drivers and services from storage."

What's the odds that Windows Update will require a cold boot after every time it runs?

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High

I'd say very high, given Windows updates most likely contain kernel updates.

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What are the chances that they'll be able to install the updates during normal use and not part of the shutdown procedure?

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Silver badge

@mfraz

"What are the chances that they'll be able to install the updates during normal use and not part of the shutdown procedure?"

Quite high, given that most of the (Win 7) updates I see these days don't require a full reboot.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Standy by. Hot news coming im 3...2...1...0

Whoosh,

Hot off the presses this news,

MS gets a patent for compressing something and uncompressing it a bit later.

Hmmm much like what happens in a Linux boot then?

{I made it up but...}

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Trollface

Patent and innovation

Well, it took Apple a few years to hype "instant on", which the rest of the planet had called "sleep mode"

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Thumb Down

why bother?

With a decent SSD a full boot of windows 7 from the end-of-bios to the login prompt is not exactly a time consuming operation. The major issue is the crud which occurs after you log in (which is not helped here).

I think I'd rather have the full boot every time so that at least I know my current session is not contaminated with some undiagnosable lurgy inherited from a previous session.

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Ru
Boffin

This isn't about your desktop

Its about tablets, because manufacturers seem to feel that they're the future.

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Facepalm

Hurrah, PCs to finally come on par with macs. About time.

Though, it'll never work.

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FAIL

Scan any tech comments and you'll always find the Apple fanboi. My friend, who has a Mac, asked which games I play on my PC, my reply: All of them!

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Trollface

pcs on par with macs?

i wasn't aware apple had dragged the rest of us down to their level.

seriously though, I have a brand spanking new imac at work and it still takes 5 minutes to warm up enough to give me a useable desktop in the morning - which I'm managing to overlook only because it turns out you can change the system options to put the control key where it *should* be.

some people seem to think they are somehow 'better' but tbh all I see is 'different'.

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WTF?

Eeeek! And most of that was BIOS POST!

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Trollface

A question of time...

How long will it take before some Patent Troll cracks their knuckles and decides to sue Redmond for millions on the grounds that they "hold the patent" for a very similar boot technology..

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Anonymous Coward

but

would you trust a Windows kernel session to live longer than a week anyway?

One thing I love about having a Windows VM is that I can pause execution. It's the only way to keep the system usable and mitigate the need for relentless rebooting.

I suppose saving the session is a similar concept, but having the benefit of a robust host OS and only minor need for Windows applications means that a typical session of mine only lasts half an hour a week.

And it still manages to spend most of that time fragmenting the disk and then pissing around trying to defragment it.

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FAIL

Your doing something wrong...

... if you can't keep a WinTel box running more than a week.

My boxes get rebooted on the monthly patch schedule and that's it. Our 2008R2 Core servers (no GUI) haven't been rebooted for nearly 6 months as there's sod all to patch that's actually in use / a service restart won't fix.

Just decomissioned a box that is out of scope of our patch runs that on 2008.... hasn't been booted for 2 years

So yeah - I'd trust the NT Kernel session to live for way more than a week. My Win7 laptop only gets a look in every couple of months unless there's a patch that needs to be urgently applied.

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Bronze badge

Erm...

Correct me if I'm wrong but my XP laptop has been doing better than this for a LONG time. It's basically called hibernation or standby - this isn't improving BOOT times at all - it's hibernating. And hibernating with a MUCH faster disk that I'll ever put into a laptop to make it look fast. And all the problems and software-cooperation that comes with that, too (hope all your legacy drivers are perfect and now how to hibernate properly!).

Now my XP workstation can avoid BIOS boot, so long as I keep some very low battery power supplied, for 24 hours of more (it's called "bog standard standby"). Resume is pretty much instantaneous. All this is is an improvement on hibernation (where you write the standby memory to a disk instead). Granted that the BIOS would pop up but any half-decent BIOS can easily be written to do such a thing quickly - it's just the same as something like Coreboot speeding up the hard-disk into its fastest modes and THEN reading a file from disk and resuming from its state. It's not anything particularly clever, innovative, or new.

Computers have been doing this for literally DECADES and a one-off show on pre-chosen hardware is really nothing to crow about. In fact, in that case, 8 FECKING SECONDS?! That's ludicrously slow. You could have diddled the BIOS into being a "Windows 8 compatible" one and made it near-instantaneous with an SSD (which Windows is increasingly being designed towards so would barely raise an eyebrow).

Additionally - we have the age old problems with boot-time claims:

1) Nobody boots. Laptop users don't HAVE a boot time, only a suspend/resume time. Full boots are for when things go wrong.

2) Those who do boot don't notice the time compared to anything else (e.g. application load time, etc.)

3) Those who do boot and take ages in BIOS (i.e. servers) do so for a reason - stability, testing and predictability (not to mention that they only full-boot once a year, if that).

So smartphones/laptops (hell, even my old Palm) already have it. 99% of servers wouldn't use it (not much point in a server being in hibernation - either it's on or not). The rest of the market don't really care about boot time anyway.

Don't get me wrong, the tech is wonderful. It was back when APM was first invented too, and even before that. But claiming that Windows 8 will be doing anything "special" as regards boot-time is ludicrous. If this is the first selling-point of Windows 8, that's a warning to people like me who have to decide whether or not to buy hundreds of units of it.

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JC_
FAIL

Read the article. MS have statistics for boot / sleep / hibernate usage and re-booting is still up there.

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Yes Hibernation has been around for a long time, but the problem these days is that as powerful computers get more and more memory in them that means more and more data that needs dumping to disk every time. Hiberating an 8GB computer takes quite a long time.

OK, so this isn't revolutionary, but to my mind it is smart evolution. If you can't fix all the problems in one hit, at least fix some of the little things that you can control.

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Z 1
Windows

Didn't they try to do this with XP? It races to the desktop, then thrashes the hard drive as it tries to load all the services for you...

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That was my first thought upon reading the main article: if one is going to claim "boot in X seconds", you have to define when "booting" is finished.

For instance, WinXP tries to give the impression that it "boots" quickly, by loading the desktop as soon as it can. However, you then have to wait a couple of minutes whilst all the remaining services load up, as the machine is just too slow to use until they've finished. (That's not a fanboi point: Mac OS X isn't much different in my subjective experience.)

Of course, a fast boot also depends on the specific services you're loading up. My Eee 701SD netbook (running Arch Linux) can boot to the login prompt in about ten seconds, but then I've tried to cut out the fatty bits (GNOME, KDE, etc.) and run Fluxbox, which helps speed things up.

So, maybe MS' claim is accurate, but I'd want to find out how the goalposts are spaced...

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Silver badge

ahh, the good old days.

When first powering my machine on in the morning, I knew it would be a good day if I could ctrl-alt-del and log into the domain before Windows NT, I think, had even loaded tcp/ip.

Of course, this beats the boot time on my universities DPS-8/47, which was 25 minutes

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Is that with or without anti-virus software loaded?

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Anonymous Coward

8 Seconds?

Yeah right. That'll be 8 seconds the first few weeks until it starts on the gentle, inexorable decline to "time for a reinstall" via "just time for a slice of toast" and "may as well make a pot of coffee".

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New/Old machine

Boot times of brand new, empty PCs were never the issue. The problem starts when you install a few things. A Windows PC takes longer to start every day, until users dread turing the thing on. Many non-expert users just assume their PC is slow becuase it is old. They buy a new one and are delighted how fast it boots. Some of them use a clean-up service with similar effect.

Windows' long boot time is largely down to the loading of an ever lengthening list of "zombie craplets", and the necessaity to have malware protection in the background. The OS isn't stable enough to undergo many hibernate/wake up sessions, it will always need rebooting now and again, so long boot up times will remain a feature even with this clever mod.

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Yep, the key to improving windows boot times, is to stop allowing applications to install loads of crap that runs at boot, especially without your explicit permission.

I really don't want my pc to take 20-30 seconds longer to boot, just so that office, or IE can be loaded then, and kept in memory and appear instantly when i click the icon. Not to mention the sheer volume of crud that iTunes installs that boots with windows.

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Anonymous Coward

My windows 7 machine boots in significantly less time already

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Mac

My MacBook Air boots up, logs in and opens all the Apps and docs I was last using in 8 seconds. How is this MS feature supposed to impress people exactly?

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Silver badge

In Lion?

If so wow! Ever since I installed 10.7 my MBA boot times have become incredibly protracted.

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Bronze badge

I think ....

..... you have confused booting a machine with unlocking your screensaver.

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Thumb Down

Tea time

I prefer the 'press power button, put kettle on, make tea, sit down to machine' approach.

None of this 'instant' malarkey -- won't somebody think of the workers?

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Happy

Indeed!

I've managed to get it down to a fine art: "press power button, boil kettle, while boiling, enter password, return to tearoom, set tea steeping, and the return to machine", which by this point is all ready to go.

Although speaking of instant, you should smell (or heaven forbid, taste) the coffee we're given. Yuck!

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