Mobile devices- does boot time matter?


Time_2Every time I get a new mobile device to evaluate I start getting asked "how long is the boot time?" by a lot of folks.  It’s invariable, get a new device, get asked about boot time.  I have to admit I don’t understand the importance of that question so maybe I’m missing something.  In years past how long it took Windows to boot up a given device was important because it was something we had to do every day.  You want to use a machine you have to start it up.  These days with sleep and hibernate on Windows, both XP and Vista, there is no need to boot devices on a regular basis.  I rarely boot Windows on the various devices I use because I don’t need to.  I put the devices to sleep at night and simply wake them up in the morning.  When I am going to head out with a device I put it to sleep and throw it in my bag.  I’d say the only times I routinely boot Windows are when some software installation or Windows Update requires me to reboot to finalize that process.  Otherwise I never boot Windows so why so many people are interested in how long a given device takes to boot up surprises me.  Why does it matter to you?


Anton P. Nym

I use the sleep/hibernate function on my Q1 vanilla; I set the power switch from “power off” to “sleep”, and then the power management software takes it down to “hibernate” after 15(?) minutes in sleep. I do this because I’m a battery miser, and often when I power down it’s going to be off for 4-6 hours at a time. For that, the extra 30 seconds to come back from hibernation feels worthwhile for the extra minutes of up-time.

Plus, before I went to this scheme I got careless once and left the thing on sleep so long there wasn’t enough juice to wake it up and drop into hibernate so I could swap the battery. I had to yank the battery out while it was in sleep, which of course dumps the session. I *hate* rebooting while on battery power…

— Steve


@Anthonee – I think your issue might be related to the hardware that you’re using – I’m running vista home premium on my hp dv6000 and I haven’t encountered any issues as a result of repeat hibernation/wake cycles. I do tend to close all programs before I hibernate though, so that might be it, and vista came installed, so the drivers have probably been updated and tested beforehand. Just my 2c. 7sec boot from hibernation FTW! (sorry, too much coffee…feeling a bit giddy)


I think boot-times aren’t so important for me because I do have sleep and hibernate options, but I do appreciate it for the times when I have to reboot after installing new software.

Having said that, I think boot times are still handy to know, since it does give you an indication of the hardware performance of the device, and you can never have too much data when shopping for a new device IMHO.


I didn’t start using sleep til I got my Macbook. On my old XP-based tablet, I could only do a couple of sleep/hibernate cycles before the system would become unstable (wireless would stop working, Toshiba utilities would crash, etc). With my Mac I only shut it down perhaps once a month, and only reboot when Software Update makes me.

tpc Anthonee

I never use hibernate or sleep as Vista always goes into a spin.

When I first installed Vista I had a 12 minute wait till the machine was usable. (I have a Thinkpad T60p with 2.6 Core 2 Duo and 4Gb RAM). This doubled to 24 min if a reboot was required! I reduced the start up time with a clean install, now about 6-7 minutes.

Hibernate and sleep usually results in the need for a reboot anyway, so I don’t bother!


James your comment about remembering to turn off the power management features reminded me of a problem I’m having. Here’s the scenario:

I have an BT expresscard mogo mouse for my 2710p.

I mate it to my notebook and it works, until I put my computer to sleep. After that, I have to go through the whole procedure again of installing a new bluetooth device.

I have turned off the power management feature in the device manager.

Why won’t it reconnect after the notebook awakes?!

James Kendrick

Steve, why don’t you just use Google Browser Sync for Firefox? It’s much easier than what you describe and works flawlessly.


Boot ime is important to me. I have an everun UMPC which can also be used as an external USB2.0 HDD. On this drive i locate my Firefox portable. When i use the everun on the road i use this portable version of firefox. To keep browser sync when i am at home or in the office i connect the everun to the USB of the PC i will use and run the same portable firefox. To access it the everun needs to be shutdown not just in sleep mode. So daily i need to shutdown and reboot the everun several times.

Sam Rabeeh

I’m surprised nobody remembers that boot time has always been used as an informal evaluator of overall performance of any machine.


Anyone remember the article about Erny the attourney?

He said he wouldn’t use a tablet because he could picture his tablet crashing in the middle of a trial and having to reboot.

James Kendrick

For you sleepers, don’t forget to go into the Device Manager in Windows and turn off power management for all of those important devices like the fingerprint reader. This prevents them from failing to wake up because the power management never shuts them down. These devices don’t take much power anyway.


Another sleeper here with my Fujitsu U1010, wakes up almost instantly, and the main problem I have with it is that the fingerprint reader sometimes decides not to wake up with the rest of the system and I have to login with the keyboard


I also always put my tablets in sleep mode. I have done this ever since I had my Fuji T4020, Q1P, and now my U810. The only reason I like to know the boot time is Just to know how long it takes for those times that require it. On my Macbook Pro I Just have it Auto shutdown at 11:00 P.M. and turn back on at 8:00 A.M. automatically. That way I can keep all files synced with my U810.

John in Norway

I was a bear in a previous life and the only time I had trouble hibernating was when the winter was especially warm.

As for sleeping, well my other half snores so loud that …

Oh, sorry, are you talking about computers? I agree with you JK, I only switch them off when necessary. If I have to restart them I just go and make a cup of tea.


My 1GB/1.2GHz sub-notebook requires over three minutes to fully wake up from sleep mode. In addition, Vista can become twitchy after waking up — hardware buttons stop working properly, fingerprint scanner software hangs up the processor, etc. As a result, I usually idle the computer in low power state instead of putting it to sleep.

Tasks such as checking calendar availability or recording contact information require instant-on capability. I want my mobile computer to wake up as quickly and dependably as a mobile phone. There is significant opportunity for improvement.


The boot time is really needless information to me. I put all my machines to sleep and they all wake up in a matter of seconds. I cant imagine the point of a mobile pc like if i had to wait more than 10 seconds to be able to see my desktop on the fly.

Kevin C. Tofel

Sleep saves your current computing environment into RAM memory which requires a very small power draw. While it will use your battery in this state, the advantage is: it goes into sleep in a few seconds typically and wakes up quickly as well.

Hibernate saves the current computing state to the hard drive, which takes longer to do. It also takes longer to resume…a minute or two in some cases. The benefit over sleep: it uses no battery juice.


For us tech challenged guys… Just what are the meaningful differences between Sleep and Hibernate? eg… When would you use one vs. the other? How does it affect power usage?

Kevin C. Tofel

I’m a sleeper too. The only time I EVER use hibernate is if I don’t think my battery has enough juice to stay in sleep mode for a few hours, which is very rare. I’ll go weeks and weeks without choosing to reboot a PC, pending any required shutdowns for an update.


Spot on, James. I’ve also wondered why boot time matters much in mobile devices. Like you, I rarely shutdown or reboot my laptops and UMPCs. Only time I reboot is when Windows update or installed software mandate it. I must be lucky, but all the laptops I’ve had recent years had zero problem in sleep or hibernation. I used to prefer hibernate, but these days I use sleep mode more often since with larger sized RAM becomes standard, hibernation takes too long to complete.

Robert Nelson

Its funny that you bring it up that way, after reading your post I wonder why I was ever one of those “how fast it boots” people.

In fact this was one of my big issues with the gOS on the Cloudbook. I have since installed XP on it, but also rarely if ever actually turn it off, instead just put it to sleep when its not in use.


It all depends on the machine.

For instance, with the Eee PC, the battery drains so much when the device is sleeping, it makes the entire process impractical. Because of this, the fast boot up on the Eee PC is a must. Without it, the Eee PC wouldn’t be nearly as useful as a portable device.

On the flip-side. When I had a Macbook, I never shut the thing down. The deep sleep of a Mac is extremely useful. It’s about as close to an “instant on” computer as you can get, and the battery drain is non-existent.

Ian Dixon

I never shut my machines down, I either sleep or hibernate. If updates force it I will reboot but other than that I don’t, I can’t see the advantage.


Unfortunately sleep and hibernate don’t always work. It’s for those times when Vista decides to reboot your machine or when waking up from hibernation fails that we need good boot time.

Just look at the EEEPC. One of the features people find most impressive is the quick boot time.

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