Windows 8 news continues to trickle from the Building Windows 8 blog at a steady clip: today, Gabe Aul detailed changes to the Windows 8 boot process that promise to drastically reduce startup times.

The team wanted to come up with a startup method that would deliver the benefits of a cold boot (a "fresh session" at startup, no power usage when off) while reducing the amount of time that it takes to load the operating system from disk to RAM. 

To accomplish this, Microsoft has combined aspects of a traditional Windows shutdown with system hibernation, which saves the contents of your RAM to disk and then restores it to RAM at next boot. While a Windows shutdown currently closes all user programs (the "user session") and then all system services and processes (the "kernel session") completely before powering off, Windows 8 closes the user session and saves the rest of your RAM's content to disk. The kernel session can then be restored to RAM quickly at next boot - this is more speedy than traditional hibernation both because there's less data to restore to RAM from the disk (just the kernel session, as opposed to the kernel session and the user session), and because restoring hibernation files is a fully multithreaded process in Windows 8. If the feature works as well as it does in the Microsoft demo video, it is indeed quite impressive.

Microsoft notes that drivers are still initialized during this startup process, which means that driver and system updates should no longer require a "full" reboot of the system (something Microsoft has been promising since the Longhorn days). However, for those of you more comfortable with a traditional "full" shutdown, there are command line options to toggle the new feature on and off ("powercfg /hibernate off" which has the unfortunate side-effect of completely disabling hibernation), and also to initiate one-time full shutdowns ("shutdown /s /full").

According to Microsoft, these improvements should benefit users with SSDs and HDDs alike, and will be especially noticeable when paired with systems supporting UEFI, the BIOS replacement that is slowly being adopted by most major PC manufacturers and motherboard makers. For full details, as always, you can check out the very detailed post on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

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  • Touche - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    Indeed, my 24/7 machines and the ones I power on once a day when I start work truly benefit from fast boot times. I can just feel everything is snappier, videos encode quicker, Photoshop is lightning fast, even file copying is 12-18% faster.

    Boot time FTW!
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    That is complete BS and you should know it being on this site. I hope that was sarcasm when you posted it.

    A faster boot time does not equal a faster computer in general. You can attest to that by getting a SSD drive. "Yah i'm in windows faster!!!..oh wait i have a 4 year old computer".
    Reply
  • Touche - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    C'mon :) Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    Ok, instead of being sarcastic how about looking at this example that I prepared:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-business-class-...

    I go for the fastest possible boot will trying to trim the fat/bloat from a machine and especially I try to get 0% cpu time so when the machine DOES want to do something... it'll be faster and prepared to do so.

    So... a faster booting WIndows 7 machine does equate to a faster machine overall. Thanks.
    Reply
  • Touche - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    OMG! You're mixing apples and oranges, badly. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    Ok, instead of being sarcastic how about looking at this example that I prepared:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-business-class-...

    I go for the fastest possible boot will trying to trim the fat/bloat from a machine and especially I try to get 0% cpu time so when the machine DOES want to do something... it'll be faster and prepared to do so.

    So... a faster booting WIndows 7 machine does equate to a faster machine overall. Thanks.
    Reply
  • seamonkey79 - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    No, a clean and lean machine happens to include faster boot times in with the faster at other stuff too. Doesn't equate to a faster machine.

    My laptop takes about 45 seconds to boot up, down from around 75 when I finally upgraded the hard drive to a 7200rpm. Once into Windows, everything else runs pretty much exactly the same. My videos encode at the same rates, etc. About the only other thing to decrease were the load times on some games, and again the hard drive performance did that.

    The computer is the same speed it was before, only it takes 30 fewer seconds to get me to where it's the same speed it was before. It's not 'snappier' or 'faster' it just boots quicker.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    This.

    I reboot about once a month, after Microsoft released the OS updates, and just put the computer in sleep all other times I'm away from it.

    While I do enjoy the convenience functions shown off for Windows 8, as well as the presentation of them, I've yet to hear anything even moderately innovative - let alone groundbreaking.

    Perhaps my standards are too high but I'm just reading 'meh' still.
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    So a full blown OS that will work on desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, and a load of other new mobile touch devices, as well as supporting ARM CPU's and having a totally new interface for touch is nothing ground breaking? WTF.

    Theres NOTHING else like it. Win 7 barely offered anything over Vista but this is totally different. No other full blown OS offers all this stuff. What other version of Windows has had anywhere near as many changes? Then you've got Hyper-V which pretty much makes Win 8 the most backwards compatible version of Windows ever. And now we have stupidly fast boot times.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    Not in my book, no.

    From what we know today it's the same thing under the hood anyway. At least all I've seen are minor convenience functionality (nice) and UI tweaks (not always good).

    In comparison with other Windows versions it might be enough to get excited but I personally rate modern desktop OSs darn low on the scale of innovation, performance and functionality.

    Of course my benchmark for a good desktop OS remains the now 20 years old AmigaOS 3.x. A high standard, certainly.
    Reply

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