Microsoft is working on faster boot times for Windows 8. In an official video, a laptop loaded with Windows 8 booted in around 8 seconds.
Microsoft is working to speed up boot times for Windows 8.
"Few operations in Windows are as scrutinized, measured and
picked apart as boot," Gabe Aul, a director of program management for Windows,
wrote in a Sept. 8 posting on Microsoft's "Building
Windows 8" blog. The goal with Windows 8, he added, was to create "a new
fast startup mode" that works as "a hybrid of traditional cold boot and
resuming from hibernate."
In order to accomplish that, Windows 8 hibernates the kernel
session instead of shutting it down. When the computer is booted back up, the
kernel data saved in the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) can help restore
contents to memory faster than with a full system initialization. "Using this
technique with boot gives us significant advantage for boot times," Aul wrote,
"since reading the hiberfile in and reinitializing drivers is much faster on
most systems (30-70 [percent] faster on most systems we've tested)."
Microsoft has also added a multi-phase resume capability to
Windows 8, "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
What does mean for your average user? In a video included
with the blog post, a Windows team member (identified onscreen as Emily Wilson,
program manager for the Kernel Platform Group), activates a laptop loaded with
Windows 8. It takes a little more than 8 seconds, from the time she hits the
power button, for Windows 8's colorful tiles to appear. Just to ensure the
laptop's starting from a zero-power state, she inserts the battery before
turning on the device.
Although Windows 8 will most likely appear sometime in 2012,
Microsoft is already ramping up marketing and outreach for the next-generation
operating system. For weeks, the company has offered glimpses of the developing
features and user interface via its official "Building
Windows 8" blog.
Windows 8 will offer a touch-centric environment for
tablets, coexisting peacefully with a desktop interface. The seamless ability
to switch between the two, Microsoft hopes, will allow Windows to maintain its
longtime dominance of the traditional operating-system market, while making
inroads into tablets.
Windows 8 features include USB 3.0 support and the ability
to run multiple virtualized operating systems on the same physical machine.
Microsoft is also using the blog to counteract early criticism. For example,
Windows and Windows Live division president Steven Sinofsky used a Sept. 2
posting to defend the choice of an updated "ribbon" interface for Windows 8's
version of Windows Explorer.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.