Windows 8 Promises Faster Boot Up Times

    September 9, 2011

People often test how robust their computer is by seeing how long it takes to boot it up from an off postion. Now, it’s true the software being booted into has a huge impact on upload speeds, so that needs to be taken into account as well. In fact, you could have a quad core Intel with 10 gigs of RAM, and if your operating system is bloated, via either user negligence or poor design, the boot process could take much longer than such a machine should allow.

It’s this OS bloat that Microsoft is looking to avoid with its upcoming Windows 8 operating system. In fact, the latest post at the Building Windows 8 blog has to do with improving the overall boot up speed as we transition from Windows 7 to the 8 environment. Using the boot process to measure your computer’s power is a concept understood by Microsoft as well:

This is understandable—boot times represent an effective proxy for overall system performance and we all know the boot experience is an incredibly important thing for us to get right for customers.

Because of that, improving the boot speed was one of Microsoft’s primary goals with Windows 8. In fact, Windows acknowledged three major points in relation to booting up in with future Windows 8 boxes:

  • Effectively zero watt power draw when off
  • A fresh session after boot
  • Very fast times between pressing the power button and being able to use the PC.
  • In order to do improve the boot times, the Windows 8 developers developed a slick little option that should improve these boot up times in a noticeable manner:

    Now here’s the key difference for Windows 8: as in Windows 7, we close the user sessions, but instead of closing the kernel session, we hibernate it. Compared to a full hibernate, which includes a lot of memory pages in use by apps, session 0 hibernation data is much smaller, which takes substantially less time to write to disk… Using this technique with boot gives us a significant advantage for boot times, since reading the hiberfile in and reinitializing drivers is much faster on most systems (30-70% faster on most systems we’ve tested).

    To quantify their findings, the entry also included a measurement chart that shows the difference in boot speeds with regards to Windows 7 and 8. The chart leads this post, and as you can see, in each condition these tests were performed under, Windows 8 outdid its predecessor, and the new hibernation system is largely credited with the speed improvements:

    It’s faster because resuming the hibernated system session is comparatively less work than doing a full system initialization, but it’s also faster because we added a new multi-phase resume capability, which is able to use all of the cores in a multi-core system in parallel, to split the work of reading from the hiberfile and decompressing the contents.

    Microsoft has also embedded a video showing these new boot times in action. It’s awfully impressive:

    Granted, once you start installing various third-party software suites, and therefore, changing the machine’s registry, boot times will be affected. Most cases, the affect will be a slow down, but in this case, the slower boot up process has nothing to do with Microsoft’s Windows 8 setup. Instead, this becomes a user issue, and if uninstalling it doesn’t correct it, you may want to consider a reinstall, which puts the computer back in its original, fast-boot up state.