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Xbox Firmware Update Makes Booting Faster

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

A firmware update for Microsoft's Xbox Series X console promises to make the incredibly fast system even speedier. Microsoft's Xbox Insider ring is now distributing a new firmware release that has managed to cut boot times by five seconds. For users that power up their consoles at least once a day, that means around 30 extra gaming minutes per year — time which you can then waste browsing the Xbox Games Pass library.

The firmware update does use a bit of a cheat, though: it reduces the duration of the power-on Xbox logo, which used to take nine seconds, to five seconds. One would wonder if this reduced boot time is only due to a shortened intro, however, considering all the work Microsoft has been pouring on Direct Storage — referring to Microsoft's technology built to allow both consoles and the PC to take full advantage of the latest SSD's blazing-fast speeds (You can see our list of the fastest SSDs if you want the best).

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Interestingly, even the original Xbox One has seen improved boot times with the new firmware update, according to Jake Rosenberg, senior product manager lead at Xbox.

The speedup applies to cold boot, or what Microsoft terms "Power Saver" mode, effectively turns the console off. Where it last took 20 seconds, it should now only take 15 seconds from this state until your profile is loaded towards the console's home screen.

Unfortunately, the firmware is only being distributed to Xbox Insiders, which take part in Microsoft's Beta program to receive firmware and software updates ahead of time. Microsoft allows anyone to apply to be an Insider, so you could do it yourself and benefit from faster boot times today. Do however keep in mind that these updates aren't finalized and may not have all the bugs ironed out.

Francisco Pires
Freelance News Writer

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • adamboy64
    This is good news for Xbox owners.
    Though I can't say I'm a big fan of the trend of 'powering down' a console actually putting it into standby instead.

    At least on the Xbox Series, they provide plenty of options, so you can disable this setting and have 'turn off' actually turn off your console.
    On the Switch you can't, and turning the system off is hilariously and needlessly complicated.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    Im not gonna lie, epic games is the only thing keeping me from joining xbox and buying a game pass
    Reply
  • Mandark
    If it boots faster than it already did that’s just incredible because it’s ultra super fast right now
    Reply
  • edzieba
    I would expect that Microsoft would be using a similar cold-boot speedup mechanism to Windows 10 onwards: at shutdown, after the system shuts down it then restarts, performs most of the boot process, then hibernates. At next 'cold' boot the system then only needs to POST and resume from hibernation unless there has been any major system changes (at which point it performs a full boot sequence). With the XBSX/S not having a replaceable internal drive, the assumption can be made that hardware state is invariable so POST checking can be taken as implicit hardware state confirmation.
    Reply
  • wifiburger
    edzieba said:
    I would expect that Microsoft would be using a similar cold-boot speedup mechanism to Windows 10 onwards: at shutdown, after the system shuts down it then restarts, performs most of the boot process, then hibernates. At next 'cold' boot the system then only needs to POST and resume from hibernation unless there has been any major system changes (at which point it performs a full boot sequence). With the XBSX/S not having a replaceable internal drive, the assumption can be made that hardware state is invariable so POST checking can be taken as implicit hardware state confirmation.
    That's one garbage feature.... that hybrid power off/power on to speed up boot. On my work tablet, every week I have to hold the power button to force a real turn off in Windows 10.

    after 4 to 5 hybrid off/on windows 10 just leaves process execs hanging in limbo or prevents the same process from starting important services. And those execs/services are important since they verified before connecting to work resources.
    Reply
  • edzieba
    wifiburger said:
    That's one garbage feature.... that hybrid power off/power on to speed up boot. On my work tablet, every week I have to hold the power button to force a real turn off in Windows 10.

    after 4 to 5 hybrid off/on windows 10 just leaves process execs hanging in limbo or prevents the same process from starting important services. And those execs/services are important since they verified before connecting to work resources.
    That sounds like a "software made an assumption about system behaviour that ceased to be valid a decade ago (Hybrid Boot debuted with Windows 8)" issue rather than a Windows issue.
    Reply