Microsoft demos fast boot times in Windows 8


In yet another Building Windows 8 blog entry by Steven Sinofsky, we get to see a demonstration of Microsoft’s upcoming operating system’s fast boot time. In the demonstration, Windows 8 boots up in less than 2 seconds. Pretty amazing.

Microsoft focused on three key goals for improving the boot time. First, there has to be effectively zero watt power used when off, there needs to be a fresh session after boot, and there needs to be very fast times between pressing the power button and being able to use the PC. Microsoft’s solution? A new “fast startup mode which is a hybrid of traditional cold boot and resuming from hibernate.”

“Now here’s the key difference for Windows 8: as in Windows 7, we close the user sessions, but instead of closing the kernel session, we hibernate it. Compared to a full hibernate, which includes a lot of memory pages in use by apps, session 0 hibernation data is much smaller, which takes substantially less time to write to disk. Using this technique with boot gives us a significant advantage for boot times, since reading the hiberfile in and reinitializing drivers is much faster on most systems (30-70% faster on most systems we’ve tested),” Sinofsky states.

In other words, Windows 8 will boot faster thanks to the less work done by resuming from a hibernated system session compared to a full system session. “We added a new multi-phase resume capability, which is able to use all of the cores in a multi-core system in parallel, to split the work of reading from the hiberfile and decompressing the contents. For those of you who prefer hibernating, this also results in faster resumes from hibernate as well,” Sinofsky mentions.

Sinofsky also states that drivers are still initialized during the fast startup mode. Users can also do a cold boot to “freshen up” drivers and devices.

Sinofsky also reiterates that the new fast startup mode is fast on all types of systems. “This new fast startup mode will yield benefits on almost all systems, whether they have a spinning HDD or a solid state drive (SSD), but for newer systems with fast SSDs it is downright amazing.”

Also note that the boot screen is no longer there. There is no need for it anymore. Take a look at the video below for the demonstration: