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.



Ha… Remember when they said Vista would start up as fast as a television, compared to the long-booting XP? Look how that turned out.


I guess there’s also a difference between using a 4200rpm 1.8″ notebook drive and a 10krpm desktop raptor. New drive, full drive, SSD drive, totally fragmented drive – 15 seconds can mean anything without more specific details.

Some machines work great out of the box (laptops), then after I load all my apps and am ready to actually do things it slows down to a crawl. I remember working with one XP laptop that took 4 minutes to boot because some driver/service conflict at startup froze the damn thing for almost 2 minutes. That same machine would REFUSE to go into hibernate. I never could figure out exactly what was wrong.

I’ve seen rogue software wreak havoc with the registry to the point where it would require a reinstall or backup-restore to fix the problem. It’s one reason why I don’t play with beta-tester crowd!

Microsoft has yet to revolutionize the windows registry, give users tools to easily diagnose and repair problems with it or keep it running at top speed. Just eliminating the registry altogether would solve A TON of problems. As for services, they should be run on a start/stop as-needed basis instead of manual/automatic options that take up memory and hog CPU cycles.

But hey, 15 seconds still beats having to take a dump after you hit the power button…


AVG is not bloated in fact it is usually in the Top 3 of most “light on resources” A/V software. he actually said that AVG was efficient, but that even an efficient A/V software still adds 25 seconds to his boot time. so then can you imagine what a bloated A/V like NORTON would add.

theres no doubt A/V software is what bogs down most boots, just uninstall it & see the difference. but considering how much work it does (constantly running in the background scanning all opened, edited, saved files) it’s no surprise. but its a must in the Windows world.


Tim, I think the main thing to take from this is not the sped-up boot times, but that Microsoft realizes the best way for non-essential services to run is on-demand.

And yeah, I’m sick of AVG’s bloat. I use NOD32 on my work machine and find it much better. Of course, my work machine is actually a bit better than my home machine so that could be part of it ;)


even if they get it down from 23 to 15 it wont matter, by the time you add all your 3rd party apps it will slow back down. especially AV, firewall, or anything that creates deep hooks within the OS.


MS has always handled Services poorly, there should have never been automatic, disabled, manual. all Services should start & stop only when needed.

if this is just going to be another 1 of MS’s “tricks” to fool the average consumer like when they started having the desktop appear before the boot process was actually finished to give an appearance of a fast boot, although the machine was still practically unusable, then no thx.


shaving 23 seconds down to 15 seconds isnt going to be changing anybodys life. yes there is absolutely no doubt that a fresh installed system boots significantly faster. but it’s not that MS’s OS really slows down that much over time if you know how to properly maintain it, it’s that the 3rd party apps make it slowdown considerably. the most notorious app to slow down boot is A/V software.

take for example the most efficient A/V software out there, AVG. recently i had to uninstall it & was shocked to see how much faster my machine booted. this is a machine LOADED with programs & the last fresh install was 2 years ago, but it booted in under 30 seconds. by uninstalling AVG i knocked 25 seconds off my boot time. now imagine what bloated A/V software (i.e. Norton) cause to this problem.


Good to hear this from Microsoft, although it’s almost the opposite approach they took for Vista where they wanted to add so much new features and background processes that would speed up certain tasks, and add a few bells and whistles, but it at times just cripples the OS.

Another thing they should add is some sort of prompt on install or option/profile where it asks you what type of system you are running, is it a mobile basic device, is it a home desktop that’s always on etc… tailoring the features/performance for the type of device it’s running on. Or perhaps this could be done automatically, based on your usage and hardware specs.

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