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Microsoft to Expand Hibernation for Fast Windows Startups

By - Source: USPTO | B 23 comments

Microsoft has filed a patent that is extending the use of a hibernation mode of a Windows PC to enable faster startup times.

The company apparently intends to use hibernation as the standard shutdown method and only fully power down a computer when it is absolutely required, for example due to a configuration change of the OS.

In a patent application filed with the USPTO, Microsoft says that a general startup would only require a partial startup sequence by copying a hibernation file that is created during a shutdown from non-volatile memory, such as an SSD or HDD, to the volatile memory, such as DRAM, of a computer to enable startup times that are comparable to the wakeup times today. Specifically, the patent application explains a startup that covers:

"conditional processing that may include determining whether a hibernation file exists. If so, a further check may be made on whether it is possible that the target state of the computing device could have changed between the time when the hibernation file was created and the time at which the startup command was received. If events that could have caused a change in state are detected, the computing device may perform a full startup sequence."

The idea is that information can be copied from a hibernation file faster much faster than the software would need to load and configure "tens of thousands" of components at startup.

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  • 5 Hide
    rangas , June 25, 2012 4:13 PM
    sounds good to me
  • 9 Hide
    bourgeoisdude , June 25, 2012 4:13 PM
    Isn't this what they're already doing for Windows RT? I'm pretty sure I read about it on one of the building Windows 8 articles.
  • -9 Hide
    dextermat , June 25, 2012 4:20 PM
    If it works correctly = wow FTW
    If It fails miserably, just another MS fail!
  • Display all 23 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    djscribbles , June 25, 2012 4:21 PM
    Last I heard, they were simply hibernating the kernel session while the user session is rebooted. (which I'm assuming is the core of this filing, despite the pretty ambiguous info in this article)

    It's a pretty cool idea as long as it's robust enough to reboot the kernel when HW changes occur.
  • 2 Hide
    waethorn , June 25, 2012 4:23 PM
    bourgeoisdudeIsn't this what they're already doing for Windows RT? I'm pretty sure I read about it on one of the building Windows 8 articles.


    Not Windows RT. Windows RT actually doesn't use Hibernate because ARM processors can almost completely shutdown even when the OS is not in a shutdown state. ARM processors can even maintain sound and network streams and shut down all other processing, while the OS is in a "standby" state. Power management on ARM is different from x86.

    On x86 processors, Windows 8 already does the hybrid hibernate feature explained in the article. There have been previous software packages from motherboard makers that do this in Windows 7 as well (Asrock Instant Boot, for instance). Now it's patented.
  • 2 Hide
    Osmin , June 25, 2012 4:23 PM
    I always like to hear about core OS improvements from MS, since we are usually waiting several years before we actually see it in a shipped product.
  • 1 Hide
    waethorn , June 25, 2012 4:29 PM
    BTW: This is how Windows 8 is able to boot in as little as 5 seconds on a UEFI + SSD equipped PC. If you do a full, cold shutdown (you can disable hybrid hibernate), it takes longer than that to boot. Also, any system state change (like Windows Updates) will cause the hibernate file to be "stale" so that will prompt a cold reboot. If you want a system to be ready, faster, then do your updates and let the OS handle power management after a restart. Either hybrid hibernate or standby will make the system available faster when you need it, rather than letting updates install when you shut down.
  • 5 Hide
    waethorn , June 25, 2012 4:30 PM
    OsminI always like to hear about core OS improvements from MS, since we are usually waiting several years before we actually see it in a shipped product.


    You won't have to wait (long) for this functionality, since it's already in Windows 8, including the pre-release versions.
  • 0 Hide
    cmartin011 , June 25, 2012 4:41 PM
    only if it can do it on the vast amount of hardware out there. if they can bring it on!
  • 4 Hide
    joebob2000 , June 25, 2012 5:00 PM
    I have a regular hard drive, and hibernation takes exactly as long as an actual bootup does. This makes sense since the process that needs to take place is really the same, there is very little work to do during bootup and the CPU can easily bust through that while the hard drive is busy chugging along. Hopefully this improvement is a better way to segment the tasks and put the needed data into SSD storage.
  • 6 Hide
    wiyosaya , June 25, 2012 5:09 PM
    As long as I can choose a cold reboot when I need to, as well as one happening on, say, updates when necessary as the article states, I'll be happy. There is still badly behaved software out there. Programmers still overlook memory leaks, for instance, and over the extended periods of uptime that this article suggests will prevail, even a small memory leak can accumulate to the point where the OS will become sluggish. IMHO, the ability of users to cold-reboot on their own is something that is a necessity.
  • 1 Hide
    waethorn , June 25, 2012 5:12 PM
    cmartin011only if it can do it on the vast amount of hardware out there. if they can bring it on!


    It doesn't require any special hardware. It's just Hibernate, but Windows does it differently.

    joebob2000I have a regular hard drive, and hibernation takes exactly as long as an actual bootup does. This makes sense since the process that needs to take place is really the same, there is very little work to do during bootup and the CPU can easily bust through that while the hard drive is busy chugging along. Hopefully this improvement is a better way to segment the tasks and put the needed data into SSD storage.


    No, that doesn't make sense at all. If you are dumping memory contents to a hibernation file, it should be much faster to write that then to load all of the individual files from each place on the drive and process them. If your hibernate is that slow, you should consider running defrag. A typical bootup of Windows 7 still takes at least 30 seconds or more on a conventional hard drive. Dumping a hibernate file to disk should take less than 10 seconds even for a system with up to 4GB of RAM. Your hibernate file will never be more than the actual amount of physical RAM that you have installed.
  • 1 Hide
    cmartin011 , June 25, 2012 5:20 PM
    so there making a single unpacked zip file that like surprise! its loaded. kinda like have truck packed and ready to go. then having to go pick all the cases and load the truck and then your are ready. gonna have to be ready for hardware changes. even unsigned driver software could screw this up.
  • -5 Hide
    jhansonxi , June 25, 2012 6:22 PM
    For all the technical verbosity of the patent description, it's actually a rather trivial process. Trivial = not innovative = not patentable
  • -3 Hide
    opmopadop , June 25, 2012 7:18 PM
    waethornA typical bootup of Windows 7 still takes at least 30 seconds or more on a conventional hard drive. Dumping a hibernate file to disk should take less than 10 seconds even for a system with up to 4GB of RAM.

    High-end mechanical hard drives are around 80MB/s, so using that speed to read 4GB (assuming you had 4GB of programs loaded) is still 50 seconds to resume from hibernate.

    Even if you have a more reasonable RAM usage of 1GB on a more standard 40MB/s hard drive, you are looking at around just under half a minute to resume.

    If you are using a SSD (500MB/s) the time to resume will be quicker with hibernate.
  • 2 Hide
    waethorn , June 25, 2012 9:34 PM
    opmopadopHigh-end mechanical hard drives are around 80MB/s, so using that speed to read 4GB (assuming you had 4GB of programs loaded) is still 50 seconds to resume from hibernate.Even if you have a more reasonable RAM usage of 1GB on a more standard 40MB/s hard drive, you are looking at around just under half a minute to resume.If you are using a SSD (500MB/s) the time to resume will be quicker with hibernate.


    Your figures are way off for hard drives, unless you're talking about 5400RPM laptop drives...
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , June 25, 2012 9:41 PM
    To be fair, Windows boot times on a PC aren't that high once you get past POST, the problem is the antiquated POST. Cold booting for me into a working Windows 7 takes 35 seconds, 25 of those are some sort of pre-Victorian BIOS. Please just all move to UEFI and have done with it, your crappy BIOS is making my good PC look crap.
  • 2 Hide
    Pherule , June 25, 2012 9:53 PM
    Everyone seems to think this is good news. Hello? It is not good news, it is bad news. First poster said "sounds good to me" and got thumbs up - just shows.

    Microsoft already has this capability, that's not what the article is about.
    The article is about filing a PATENT so that ONLY Microsoft can use this technology.
    That is a bad thing, not a good thing.

    More patent trolling by large companies. It seems like it's getting worse.
  • -1 Hide
    alcalde , June 26, 2012 12:25 AM
    PheruleEveryone seems to think this is good news. Hello? It is not good news, it is bad news. First poster said "sounds good to me" and got thumbs up - just shows.Microsoft already has this capability, that's not what the article is about.The article is about filing a PATENT so that ONLY Microsoft can use this technology.That is a bad thing, not a good thing.More patent trolling by large companies. It seems like it's getting worse.


    You're correct, and I'm not clear how this process differs from normal hibernation used now by everybody else.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 26, 2012 12:36 AM
    Not that I want to cast doubts on the technical prowess of the Patent Office... (its hard to type with your fingers crossed)... but Pherule is on the money. This "technology" already exists and is in use, not just by Microsoft, but also by one of their rivals - Apple (if you've ever read the details of the OSX Hybrid Suspend system you'll see the point). So in reality this "technology" is certainly NOT original, so it should NOT be granted a patent based on the published guidelines of the patent approval process. But then, it wouldn't be the first time the size of the company applying for a patent seemed to dim the vision of the review board in the patent office.
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