Windows 8 will start faster than Windows 7?

Written By technotheory on Sunday, May 29, 2011 | 3:10 AM

Despite a number of leaked roadmaps, the only official comment about the launch date comes from Windows president Steven Sinofsky: “Somewhere between 24 and 36 months between releases is what we aim for.” Counting from the 2009 release of Windows 7. that means sometime between 2011 and 2012.

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For Windows tablets in particular, even resuming from hibernation is a lot slower than simply turning on the screen on your smartphone or tablet. With a fast SSD installed, Windows 7 can resume in as little as 14 seconds – but according to the leaked slides, only 9 per cent of people use hibernation today. Windows 8 will resume ‘instantly’ from sleep (under a second from standby), and that’s where Microsoft will be concentrating for slates. This makes sense if you have the battery life of ARM. The ReadyBoost cache that Windows 7 throws away every time you switch it on will be reused for speed, and Windows will prefetch more parts of the boot code based on what’s been loaded previous times.

But turning the device on in the first place has to be faster too. Microsoft hopes to achieve this with a new combined ‘logoff and hibernate’, which will become the standard way to turn PCs on and off (although the company plans to find a much better name, like ‘Shutdown’, ‘Turn off or ‘Power down’). To make this popular, turning off fast is also important; one rumor suggests that Microsoft is hoping to have all open files and processes saved in three to six seconds. Rather than just saving a copy of everything in memory and then reloading that huge file, Windows 8 might just save details of what to load in addition to the normal startup, which is much smaller. The system state will be broken up so that it saves drivers, system services, core Windows files, the list of devices, and details of open files and apps. This means it can save and compress files in parallel rather than one at a time (and the new TLZ compression engine mentioned in a Microsoft employee profile is likely to be both faster and more efficient).

When you do turn the PC all the way off and back on again, Microsoft wants the machine to be ready to use (which to most users means ‘ready to use the browser’, apparently) twice as fast as it is today. The average time for Windows 7 to start is 20 seconds, but the BIOS can take “longer than all of Windows startup”, so startup could still be 20 or 30 seconds.

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