Microsoft focusing on faster boot times: is 15-seconds possible?

WindowslogoI can’t yet tell if decreasing boot time is definitely on the plate for Windows 7, but it’s definitely on the minds of Microsoft. There’s a very lengthy but informative post over at the Engineering Windows 7 blog that covers this topic in great detail. It’s chock full of actual boot time data sent from Windows PCs via the Microsoft Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program. That’s the service that users opt in to by choice on PCs and it’s actually something I’ve always participated in, regardless of the PC I’m using. I’d all for offering up useful telemetry in hopes of a better future product.

It’s very interesting to see what the impact of a fresh, clean install of Windows is on boot times. I personally tend to do fresh installs as soon as I get a device, just to make sure I start with a clean slate. (Note: I haven’t done that on the MSI Wind as I’m trying to get some general testing done first) When the Microsoft folks did that in the test lab on an off-the-shelf system, the boot time dropped from around 45 seconds to around 23 seconds, or nearly a 50% faster boot. Some additional optimizations chopped off another two seconds, but most mainstream consumers won’t be bothered to disable services or mod the BIOS settings. I can’t tell if the example system was a desktop or a notebook, but either should yield the same general results.

The best indicator of Microsoft’s effort on this front lies in this quote:

"As an example Windows 7 effort, we are working very hard on systemservices. We aim to dramatically reduce them in number, as well asreduce their CPU, disk and memory demands. Our perspective on this issimple; if a service is not absolutely required, it shouldn’t bestarting and a trigger should exist to handle rare conditions so thatthe service operates only then."

That’s great news for many folks. I’m pretty religious about using sleep and resume rather than boot and shut-down, but I’m sure the booters out there will be happy to hear this. In fact, Mary Jo Foley alludes to Microsoft trying to get boot times down to 15-seconds as that’s what the company considers a "very good boot time". I’d agree… hey, even me as a "sleeper and resumer" has to boot up at least once.

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