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Microsoft Aims Windows 7 to Boot in 15 Seconds

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 26 comments

We can all relate to one common ground no matter which operating system we are running on our personal computers these days, and that is the amount of time that it takes to boot it up. Some of us tech savvy individuals regularly see blazing fast boot times on our personal computers, however the average consumer is not so lucky.

Prefab systems out of the box regularly see longer boot times out of the box, and this is something that Microsoft appears to be concerned with. Microsoft takes the user experience seriously, and being able to walk to your kitchen and at least start a pot coffee while waiting for your desktop to arrive on the screen is not a good user experience.

Although not specifically a projected boot time of 15 seconds, Microsoft has said the following:

“« “For Windows 7, a top goal is to significantly increase the number of systems that experience very good boot times. In the lab, a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds.

Boot time is meant to reflect when a machine is ready and responsive for the user. It includes logging in to the system and getting to a usable desktop. It is not a perfect metric, but one that does capture the vast majority of issues. On Windows 7 and Vista systems, the metric is captured automatically and stored in the system event log.” »”

Of course at this point we have no idea what their specs are for a ‘very good system’, however it does look as though they have set some sort of internal bar for development when it comes to boot times. This is a good development bar when compared to what end users currently get with Windows XP and Vista however.

Although there are not any target boot times mentioned for either operating system by Microsoft, they both vary in start-up times greatly. Two main factors in boot time are hardware and software. More specifically, what the end user has in the way of drivers and system services over and above the defaults.

I have seen Windows Vista boot in 28 seconds, and I have seen it boot in 280 seconds. The same goes for Windows XP as well. I have a Windows XP system at home that goes from power button to desktop in 9 seconds, but I also had a notebook that went from power button to desktop in 62 seconds. I keep my systems relatively clean and in some instances, tweaked a little.

Nonetheless, Windows 7 leaves a lot to the imagination at this point and a lot of hopes and dreams, both from the consume side and from the developer side. I would assume more details are to follow in the coming months.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 3, 2008 8:04 PM
    i have a system that goes to power button to windows in like 40 seconds... on a SSD as well...

    35 seconds of that is the motherboard post and stuff and the other 5 is the windows loading screen
  • 3 Hide
    Niva , September 3, 2008 8:34 PM
    That last comment is right on the money. I wish laptops sold with a windows CD, not an image CD which includes a bunch of other crap on it.
  • 3 Hide
    V3ctor , September 3, 2008 8:34 PM
    D_KuhnThe single biggest problem with "Consumer" PC boot times is all the crapware that gets preloaded onto them. I bought a cheap Gateway system from Best Buy about 3 months ago for a little project at work. Normally I immediately reimage any new machine to get rid of all that crap but in this case I did a quick experiment. I booted the machine and measured the time it took to get to various stages of startup... here's the results:CRAPWARE Vista Home Start-up:MS Logo - 0:18Cursor - 0:38Login Screen - 1:04Desktop - 1:28 secWelcome Dialog - 2:20Sidebar - 3:50Time to the last startup app popup - 4:20Shut-down47 secTHEN I reformatted the drive and with a clean Vista image:Clean Vista Business install:MS Logo - 0:14Cursor - 0:29Login - 0:45Desktop - 0:59Welcome Screen - 1:00Sidebar - 1:07Everything loaded - 1:07Shutdown - 14 secSo a cheapo $500 laptop boots 4x faster without all the crap that Gateway spooges all over Vista before you ever see it... no wonder most folks buying a new system think Vista is garbage.

    Same here... bought a notebook from Toshiba and it took 1:30 just to be erady (desktop). Now it does it in 49sec as i push the power button... all the pc's are full of crap, blame on the vendors...
  • 3 Hide
    one-shot , September 3, 2008 8:36 PM
    I am going to agree that OEMs put way to much BLOATware on a pc. My first laptop was a Gateway..I'd hate to admit. I've since then learned my lesson. I just installed Vista 64 last week and it boots just as fast as my XP Pro did. I can't really tell a difference so far in loading times.
  • 3 Hide
    grieve , September 3, 2008 8:39 PM
    D_Kuhn --> Nailed it! Thats why we build our own machines.
  • 0 Hide
    nemo888 , September 3, 2008 8:43 PM
    ,...and Microsoft always delivers on their new OS features. This is just marketing masquerading as journalism.

    Instead of just regurgitating MS press releases why not do some research and print a real story?
  • 2 Hide
    kittle , September 3, 2008 9:06 PM
    Ditto on the OEM bloatware. Although the corporate world here isnt a whole lot better. Most people where I work dont shut their PCs down at nite because it takes so long for them to start back up.

    I remember getting some compaq laptops (yes that was a while ago) to setup for a company i worked for. It took 1.5 HOURS to start the first time. But after spending a week with some disk imaging software i could unpack a new laptop, and hand to the end user fully configured and ready to go in 15min.
  • 0 Hide
    neodude007 , September 3, 2008 9:47 PM
    I hope they also plan on making RAID0 the standard in every desktop by the time WIndows 7 comes...HA. There are so many other issues involved in boot times its not even funny. My PC can install XP in 5 mins, and it takes like 2 mins to boot it....
  • -1 Hide
    invisik , September 3, 2008 10:25 PM
    well the crap they put in the computer i believe reduce cost.
  • 0 Hide
    nitrous9200 , September 3, 2008 10:39 PM
    I had a woman come into our shop last week with a cheapo Compaq laptop that had a Celeron M, 512MB RAM and Vista Home Basic. She hated Vista so her son installed XP and then (for some strange reason) installed OS X Leopard. When I got it, I reinstalled Vista and added 512MB RAM. It flew! It was as fast as some of my desktop machines. So yes, blame it on the manufacturers for loading crap on to their computers and giving Vista a bad rap. Is it really worth a few dollars in cost savings which might make your potential customer look to another brand? I wouldn't think so.
  • 3 Hide
    Luscious , September 3, 2008 11:32 PM
    I guess there's also a difference between using a 4200rpm 1.8" notebook drive and a 10krpm desktop raptor. New drive, full drive, SSD drive, totally fragmented drive - 15 seconds can mean anything without more specific details.

    Some machines work great out of the box (laptops), then after I load all my apps and am ready to actually do things it slows down to a crawl. I remember working with one XP laptop that took 4 minutes to boot because some driver/service conflict at startup froze the damn thing for almost 2 minutes. I never could figure out exactly what it was.

    I've seen rogue software wreak havoc with the registry to the point where it would require a reinstall or backup-restore to fix the problem.

    Microsoft has yet to revolutionize the windows registry, give users tools to easily diagnose and repair problems with it or keep it running at top speed. Just eliminating the registry altogether would solve A TON of problems.

    But hey, 15 seconds still beats having to take a dump after you hit the power button...
  • 0 Hide
    nekatreven , September 3, 2008 11:38 PM
    NeoDude007I hope they also plan on making RAID0 the standard in every desktop by the time WIndows 7 comes...HA. There are so many other issues involved in boot times its not even funny. My PC can install XP in 5 mins, and it takes like 2 mins to boot it....


    That would be good for performance but it could be a nightmare without adding a raid1 or even just a third single disk to go along with it.

    Most people who put two drives in a raid0 and call it good will learn that lesson real quick...even though some may make it a while before it tanks.

    The problem is that you have to contend with more or less doubling the probability of losing power in the middle of a write cycle, and double the probability of a total drive failure (or even a partial failure). Not to mention that in almost all systems the raid is integrated, software based, and added on as cheaply as possible. I know people on some of the cheaper mobos who get bent over by their raid controller at least every six months and have to re-image from their backup drive.

    The high end hardware controllers and enterprise drives will fare better, but its still unwise to run a system on a lone raid0 without really good, current backups.
  • 1 Hide
    aevm , September 4, 2008 1:05 AM
    D_Kuhn, I tried to vote you up twice but the forum app won't let me :) 
    You nailed it. Microsoft is getting criticized but they're not always the problem.

    Windows 7 should have a "decrapifier" application built-in. This way
    end-users will be happier, Microsoft protects its reputation, HP and Dell and the rest would still install the junk and be paid for it (but less, I'm guessing). Is this a win-win or what?
  • 1 Hide
    jaragon13 , September 4, 2008 2:11 AM
    aevmD_Kuhn, I tried to vote you up twice but the forum app won't let me You nailed it. Microsoft is getting criticized but they're not always the problem. Windows 7 should have a "decrapifier" application built-in. This way end-users will be happier, Microsoft protects its reputation, HP and Dell and the rest would still install the junk and be paid for it (but less, I'm guessing). Is this a win-win or what?

    Yes.

    I remember using a prebuilt eMachines(now for casual use website server) and it took about 3 minutes to load up...it takes about 40 seconds to load up now,on XP SP3...And that's with 1.5 gigs of RAM and a 3.2 Ghz Celeron (based on pentium,3.2Ghz aswell,is NOT as fast as you think it is for a single core ;) )
  • 4 Hide
    stridervm , September 4, 2008 4:27 AM
    Hmm? My 486 PC can load MS-DOS in less than 5 seconds. Why won't they use MS-DOS? ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    DXRick , September 4, 2008 5:34 AM
    What I have wondered is why you cannot tell Windows to not re-detect the hardware and look for new hardware each time you boot. The plug and play feature takes time.

    For my old P4 3.0 system running XP Pro, I have to wait for the various startup programs to run after it boots to the desktop (I wait for their icons to appear in the task bar). These include Norton IS (the worst offender that seems more like crapware at times than a necessary protection program). If they could do away with the need for anti-virus and internet security software, all of our PCs would be faster.
  • 0 Hide
    kitsilencer , September 4, 2008 7:16 AM
    DXrick These include Norton IS (the worst offender that seems more like crapware at times than a necessary protection program). If they could do away with the need for anti-virus and internet security software, all of our PCs would be faster.


    Totally with you there. Antiviruses hog startup time like a beeyotch. Thank Dog there's not too many security issues with Linux. That's why I switched to a dual boot XP/Ubuntu setup. I use XP for games, and Ubuntu for everything else.
  • -1 Hide
    ceteras , September 4, 2008 8:07 AM
    boot time 15 seconds?
    it will be achieved by the "hardware requirements" part of the new OS.
    that's the only way for MS.
  • 0 Hide
    eccentric909 , September 4, 2008 3:43 PM
    D_Kuhn, are you talking about the Vista OEM for System Builders?

    Because I use that for my PC, and the 3 others I built in the house. I use the same disc, but seperate keys. I also had one of the PCs die completely thanks to lightning, yet was able to install Vista again using the same key on a different new PC I built.

    But, there are so many OEM versions, it makes my head spin. >
  • 0 Hide
    IH8U , September 4, 2008 4:39 PM
    Personally I just wish they do away with 32 bit OS'es all together. Vista 64 is a great OS, but all manufacturers submit are drivers/programs for only 32 bit OS'es. (I boot to Login in about 40 Seconds, most of that is I have the mem check enabled, 8GB of RAM takes a while) Great boot speeds, terrible implementation (very little 64 bit support) by any company. As a side note, good luck finding a registry fix tool for 64 bit.
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