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Microsoft Windows Technology

Windows 8 To Feature 'Fast Startup Mode' 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the zero-to-minesweeper-in-10-seconds dept.
New story submitter CSHARP123 writes "Microsoft has posted details about a Windows 8 feature that is a hybrid between cold booting and waking up from a hibernated state. This feature is called fast startup mode. Gabe Aul, director of program management in Windows, explains: '[A]s 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. If you’re not familiar with hibernation, we’re effectively saving the system state and memory contents to a file on disk (hiberfil.sys) and then reading that back in on resume and restoring contents back to memory. 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).' The post contains a video as well, which shows Windows starting up in less than 10 seconds."
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Windows 8 To Feature 'Fast Startup Mode'

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  • Time to Usable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:33AM (#37350670) Journal

    Can we start talking about "Time to a Usable Desktop"? My laptop boots to a login prompt in 15 seconds, but after login it's another 2-5 minutes before it's done thrashing the hard drive. There are precious few (useful) tools available to track down everything the system is doing, and even fewer to help you improve the situation.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      There are precious few (useful) tools available to track down everything the system is doing, and even fewer to help you improve the situation.

      Soluto [soluto.com] does both, for Windows Vista and better, anyway.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:43AM (#37350796)

        There are precious few (useful) tools available to track down everything the system is doing, and even fewer to help you improve the situation.

        Soluto [soluto.com] does both, for Windows Vista and better, anyway.

        So... that means Windows 7, XP, 2000, 98, 95, 3.1, but not ME?

      • There are precious few (useful) tools available to track down everything the system is doing, and even fewer to help you improve the situation.

        Soluto [soluto.com] does both, for Windows Vista and better, anyway.

        I tried Soluto on my old laptop and was not impressed. I had lots of things in Startup that it either wouldn't disable or that I couldn't disable (lots of system processes, sound driver, etc. - basic stuff I'd need). I disabled tons of stuff but it didn't really seem to be any better (and, in addition, Soluto itself needs to start up, which slows things down quite a bit. I tried the "Delayed load" option, but that didn't seem to improve matters much, to be honest. Whilst being quite aggressive in what I

      • by antdude (79039)

        How about for XP SP3? Bootvis didn't give me much.

      • by bmo (77928) on Friday September 09, 2011 @11:06AM (#37351656)

        OK so I tried Soluto in a VM. I was curious and downloaded it.

        Granted that a VM is not a real machine, it shouldn't make any difference in this sort of software. But it does. The VM install of Windows is pretty spare. It has only a few programs that I actually fuck around with in Windows. It takes under 10 seconds to get to login and under 5 for the desktop to appear. So it's no slouch.

        1. Soluto's a pig. Oink Oink. It will not even install if you have less than 512MB of RAM, which a lot of people do if they're still running XP (which is a huge amount of people). This means typically 256 or 384MB or 512MB with "shared graphics memory" cutting it down. I know, people should upgrade, but this isn't some sort of 3D modeling program, it's just a startup trimmer and browser fixer.

        2. It's a sloth. It's slow as molasses in January. The install is slow and the interaction is slow. And its disk footprint is huge for what it does.

        3. It /insists/ on using flashy 3D graphics calls. I know that you have to please the drooling masses somehow, but this is one of the main causes of #2. In a VM it turns the interface /unusable/. I had flashbacks of Norton in the 9x days.

        In short, this program has loads of fat that should be cut off and thrown in the fire. It should reflect what it purportedly does - speed up your machine. This is not done by adding useless frippery.

        --
        BMO

        • by bmo (77928) on Friday September 09, 2011 @11:23AM (#37351826)

          What a passive-aggressive piece of shit.

          An animated frowny-face when I go to Install? And second guessing me?

          Fucking really?

          I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable in a utility software.

          There is a quality I see in good software. I call it 'neatness'. It's a tough quality to describe. Neat software does something useful, does it with aplomb, and has a simple, spare, self-descriptive interface that does not surprise the user in bad ways. But it's more than that. It's software that, when used, puts a smile on your face because of its elegance.

          Soluto is anything but that.

          --
          BMO

    • Yep same here. Now if you are part of an enterprise domain, it seemingly takes even longer.
      • Re:Time to Usable (Score:4, Informative)

        by andrewbaldwin (442273) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:59AM (#37350938)

        Now if you are part of an enterprise domain, it seemingly takes even longer.

        And if you have a corporate standard image with policies etc pushed out on each boot....

        On a cold boot, I can wander off, make a cup of tea, come back and it may just be ready. On a request for a reboot after a system update (and why it has to reboot after a change is yet another gripe) I could walk into town, go to the supermarket, buy a box of biscuits, queue up at the checkout, walk back and still be waiting for a usable system.

        Strange that all that downtime x the number of users never really appears in TCO calculations -- I guess that's what meetings were invented for (so we'd have something to do without access to the IT infrastructure

        ...and people ask me why I prefer Linux !

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          I think the problem there is more due to your IT mismanagement. I lose about 10 mins a month due to patches. Maybe another minute or two due to the network security software starting up, allowing me to access our network.

          Even with EVERYONE in this situation, we'd still lose much more time to restroom or cigarette breaks (and in the later case, most people here don't even smoke).

          • That's why we do all our patching at night or on the weekends. In the case of some updates you may have delay when you boot up, but that is the price of keeping your environment up to date and secure.
            • by ByOhTek (1181381)

              That's reasonable. Prior to using disk encryption where I had to be at the console to log in, I restarted my system when I left for the evening, and had no downtime (that affected me) from updates.

      • by GIL_Dude (850471)
        The tool you want to trouble shoot this is xperf (specifically xbootmgr.exe) from the Windows Performance Toolkit. That is part of the Windows SDK. This tool will give you a look into exactly what is going on during boot and what is hogging disk, CPU, and everything. It is very detailed. Our Windows 7 boot is about 35 seconds from "starting Windows" to being at the desktop with the network icon showing an internet connection and being usable. xperf helped us to get to that state. The Windows SDK is here: ht [microsoft.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't really matter yet.
      There is a sweet spot between when you push the power on button to when the computer is usable.
      If it is about 5s or less then the user will stay at the computer during boot. If it is in the 10s or more the user will go and do something else that probably takes several minutes while the computer is booting and in that range it doesn't really matter if the boot time is 30s or 3 minutes.
      A 5s boot time will still make the user reluctant to use the computer while in a hurry and will cau

    • by Wowsers (1151731)

      In Linux it appears most the loading takes place before the login screen, then what remains is the users desktop after login, but it appears usable as soon as it appears. Certainly on my distro the only thing that slows down the desktop loading in using Superkaramba apps because there are no decent KDE4 widget replacements.

      My Win7 install is frustrating, just like other version of Win, where the desktop looks like it's loaded, but you don't really know how long it will take until the OS releases control to

      • by rikkards (98006)

        Yep and they even admitted that. That was one of the big complaints of Vista is that everything was slow so now they give you dribs and drabs to make you think it is faster

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JanneM (7445)

      Here's an idea for Ubuntu to beat Windows: Take a screenshot of the desktop when the user selects shutdown. Throw up that screenshot as the boot splash screen. Presto - Ubuntu "booting" in just a second.

      About as honest.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      That much thrashing indicates something is wrong and/or you have too little RAM.
      The first solution for any old Windows install is to nuke-and-pave (format and reinstall). It takes less time than troubleshooting. Update, add apps, and see if the behaviour recurs.

      • That much thrashing indicates something is wrong and/or you have too little RAM.

        It could be swapping, but it could also be seeking like crazy, especially on a slow laptop hard drive.

        I'd like to see a way to buy a cheap amount of SSD ( ~= RAM size on mobo, SATA 6Gbps even) and dedicate that to hibernate activities. If I hibernate my laptop, nearly all the wake-up time is reading the memory image from disk.

    • by Pope (17780)

      No kidding. Back when classic Mac OS was around, it booted to a usable desktop faster than Windows did. So one of the big "improvements" for XP was to get the desktop open faster. Great, but it sure as hell wasn't usable for 20 to 60 seconds afterwards.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        I think MS decided to "speed up" the boot process in previous versions by showing the logon prompt sooner (before a larger percentage of windows components had loaded). It still took the same amount of time, but you log in earlier in the process with the supposed apparent effect of a faster boot.
         
        This might at least tighten up that same delay a little.

    • This is not about 'time to usable desktop'. It's about shortening the existing boot process (I agree that Windows is far from usable the first half-minute or so after it gets you to the desktop).

      This image [msdn.com] sums it all up nicely, without the waffle, video or text.
      • The only measure that is wanted is time to a usable system...Time to login screen, unusable desktop etc is pointless

        But the real problem is that you are booting the system at all, if you are rebooting, it's because the driver model is poor and requires a rebbot, or your system is unstable, Windows is better than it was but still insists on reboots far too often, and many users still power cycle to solve problems

        If you are turning the system on then why is it not in hibernate/suspend rather than shut down?

        Mo

    • by EdZ (755139)

      There are precious few (useful) tools available to track down everything the system is doing, and even fewer to help you improve the situation.

      Assuming you're running windows, MSCONFIG handles things that run at startup. It's pretty easy to look through the list and disable anything you don't want.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        On a temporary basis, anyway. It tells you where the settings are and lets you "disable" them, but the settings can come back if you want to change it from "Selective Startup" back to "Normal Startup," meaning you still have to go into regedit or the start menu itself to clear the entries out.

    • by bertok (226922)

      Get an SSD.

      No amount of software tuning or tweaking is ever going to make 5ms random seek times magically disappear. Eliminating the last moving part still used to perform computation will.

    • My current PC, with optimized 4th gen SSD on an SATA3 controller and windows 7, boots in 20sec. That is from pushing the power button to having a totaly usable machine. I am very happy with it and honestly don't think I would care if it was an faster. I push the button before I sit down and by the time I am seated and have my monitors turned on, it's ready.

    • by woboyle (1044168)
      For any Windows system, the time to usable is (IMO) just about infinite...
  • will they have a real reboot for when I inevitably need it

    having the same bolixed kernel coming back after a necessary reboot seems like it would be an pleasant experience

  • While a welcomed improvement to the 60 seconds or so that my current machine reboots in (I don't even know really), I'm not sure this even matters. Booting has never been one of the slow downs in my computer and shaving a few seconds off a boot, which is rarely done as my machine is hardly ever turned off, is not something I even care about them improving.

    But will this give corporate IT directors a reason to upgrade since they can count those few seconds as "saved" x the number of workers = profit! Even

  • by tibit (1762298) on Friday September 09, 2011 @09:44AM (#37350800)

    So they have done what LISP systems have been doing for two decades or more? It's a standard thing for a LISP environment to initialize the environment and store a core image of it to speed up startup. Same thing can be done for LISP applications, effectively giving you hibernation of individual apps in a clean state.

    • Or better yet, they're creating the same effect as people who log off before hibernating their computers.
  • Some of you are missing the point. It's all about perception, not a usable desktop. If the user thinks or feels like his computer boots up in 10 seconds, then he's happier. Happier customers tends to mean more $. But, yeah, I'd like to know what exactly is available to do after 10 seconds. For example, how much longer to launch a browser and see the latest feed on /.?
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They tried "thinks or feels like his computer boots up in 10 seconds" in XP, what you got was people whining about how slow and chuggy Windows is (because it chugs like hell after you log in while it really finishes booting). I'm not sure that's a mistake they want to repeat.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      My Windows 7 already starts up in under 10 seconds anyway (SSD for the win). That's from the end of the BIOS to a fully responsive and usable desktop, too.

      Needless to say I don't use hibernate (or even sleep). I just power off and back on. It's stupidly quick on SSDs and will get faster in the future. I think once rotating platter HDDs start going the way of the dodo on all PCs rather than just enthusiasts' ones (which will be quite a while yet, admittedly, as they still lag in price/GB and some would also

  • by grimmjeeper (2301232) on Friday September 09, 2011 @10:20AM (#37351158)

    The biggest problem I have when running Windows, especially in a corporate environment, is all of the crapware that doesn't start until I log in. Those are the programs that decide to do massive tasks as soon as they're started. They bog down the network connection and thrash the hard drive doing their startup scans. They make the desktop completely unusable for significant lengths of time after login.

    I suppose the fast boot to a login screen is useful. I'm able to get to the login screen quickly and log in. Then I can go get my coffee and read the paper while the startup applications take forever to do whatever it is they are doing. But it still doesn't solve the core problem of having a computer that is up and useful to the end user in a reasonable amount of time.

    Now, it should be obvious that the blame here is not entirely on Microsoft. They have no control over what crap the end user (or corporate IT monkeys) install on the desktop. They can't control what gets started up when the user logs in. Microsoft has no way to prevent an idiot from writing an anti-virus package that does a complete system scan (that bogs down the entire system while it's running) when it is first started by the user. There's nothing stopping a startup program from waiting for a slow network connection to time out, causing the entire startup process to basically hang. There's nothing Microsoft can do to prevent a program to rebuild it's entire search index at startup, thrashing the disk to the point where the entire system is unresponsive while it's running.

    But Microsoft is not entirely blameless either. The root of the problem was the decision to make the console the central focus of operation.There is absolutely no reason why so much of the software has to start up as soon as the user logs in. There is no reason why it cannot be tied to the startup of the computer. And if that software was tied to computer startup there would be no reason it could not be identified for hibernation just like the kernel, resulting in not only a faster boot time but a faster time to actual usefulness of the desktop.

    • by bertok (226922)

      Now, it should be obvious that the blame here is not entirely on Microsoft.

      It's got nothing to do with Microsoft, and everything to do with using mechanical drives. Upgrade to an SSD, and your problems will vanish.

      • Now, it should be obvious that the blame here is not entirely on Microsoft.

        It's got nothing to do with Microsoft, and everything to do with using mechanical drives. Upgrade to an SSD, and your problems will vanish.

        Right, because it's so practical to replace my 9TB RAID array with SSDs...

        • by davros74 (194914)

          Don't replace the 9TB RAID, just add an SSD for Windows (120GB or so). Get two and RAID0 if you want and it's yet faster still (however, be warned that most likely RAID with SSDs will lose TRIM support).

          Keep the 9TB RAID array. My current motherboard (ASUS P8P67 Deluxe) has 4 SATA3G ports, 2 intel SATA6G ports (raid-able) and 2 Marvell SATA6G ports (raidable). 4 or 6 HDD systems are completely possible now without having to get an add on PCIe controller - assuming your case has room for the drives.

          • That's all well and good but the problem is the anti-virus and other programs which insist on doing a full disc scan or index when they start up. They dig through the entire array every time I log in. And there's a lot of raw data there I use to do my work. I suppose the only real solution there is to put that array on a server somewhere and access it remotely from my desktop. That way I don't have to log in to the computer that has the array.

  • My Samsung Chromebook has REALLY fast startup mode. All the time.

  • So instead of waiting for the system to boot up, you now have to wait for the system to shut down (because it is writing the files required for fast booting). What an innovation!
    • by Pionar (620916)

      Reminds me of the scene in Office Space where Peter's trying to duck out before the boss sees him and has to wait for all the processes to finish saving state.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Not really, because unlike a real hibernation it's not writing the whole RAM contents to disk. The idea is that you skip a whole lot of reinitialisation of the OS that isn't really necessary.

  • When I was young my dad and I built a go-kart that used the power train straight out of my grandmother's electric wheelchair. It was fast and looked cool and for a time I felt like the Alain Prost of my entire neighborhood. There was one small problem though... my grandmother was still using her wheelchair at the time. So when she wanted to go out, we would put the battery and motor back in the wheelchair and when I wanted to use the kart we would swap it back. It took about twenty minutes and since she onl

  • "Easier And Faster! Your Productivity Will Double!"

    The same line they've trotted out with Windows 95 and every version since.

    Would it kill them to get some new copy or are they just going to keep regurgitating the same crap every release and watch their OEM monopoly on new computer installs sell it without any effort whatsoever ?
  • Ooooh, deja vu! It'll turn out that it starts up faster because it does a lot of the work during shutdown to prepare for the fast startup, just as windows does now, only (probably) worse. And so when I go to the meeting my laptop will turn on fairly quickly but at the conclusion of the meeting it'll take forever to turn off. Until I figure out where in a plethora of wizards and dialog boxes is the checkmark to turn off the feature. Just as I had to do with my current laptop. It'll be a managerial line

  • Hopefully this will be better then the fast shut down mode (a.k.a. "blue screen of death") that Microsoft has developed and deployed already.

    By the way, did they ever get a patent on the blue screen of death? If not, I'm sure there's a market in there somewhere!

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