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Operating Systems Windows

Microsoft Considers "Instant On" Windows 440

Barence writes "In what might be a glimpse of things to come in Windows 7, Microsoft is asking customers whether they would be interested in a new 'Instant-on' version of Windows. 'We would like your feedback on a new concept,' the Microsoft survey states. 'The Instant On experience is different from "Full Windows" because it limits what activities you can do and what applications you can have access to.' Sounds interesting but hardly new: Asus and Dell have produced laptops that provide swift access to apps and data using Linux subsystems."
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Microsoft Considers "Instant On" Windows

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  • Now it doesn't even have to boot to bluescreen?
    • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:28PM (#25402333) Journal

      No, the Blue Screen is the "Instant Off" feature.

      • by jimmyhat3939 ( 931746 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:22PM (#25403167) Homepage

        I was actually kind of excited when I read the headline here. I thought maybe they were going to propose bringing up the full OS "instantly." This limited OS thing doesn't seem particularly useful to me. My Dell laptop already has an "instant on" media player thing, and I never use it.

  • My opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harris s newman ( 714436 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:21PM (#25402229)
    In all honesty, I love the multiple minutes it takes to bring up windows now. Instant on would be a detriment.
    • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:25PM (#25402293)

      In all honesty, I love the multiple minutes it takes to bring up windows now. Instant on would be a detriment.

      Oh my God, the fucking Comcast turtle posts to Slashdot.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:11PM (#25402985)

      "Instant On" Would be the worst thing EVER!!!

      Windows is a great excuse to get up, get some coffee or tea, and spend the first 15 minutes of your day doing NOTHING.

      • Re:My opinion (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:21PM (#25403139)
        I realize you're being sarcastic but I don't know who all these people are that are waiting 5 minutes for Windows to start. I've got both Vista and XP and neither takes more than a minute to boot, tops. If it's taking longer than that... maybe it's time for you to clean out some of the crapware you've got on there.
        • Re:My opinion (Score:5, Informative)

          by philspear ( 1142299 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:50PM (#25403537)

          Me, for one. Even new, my laptop took at least 5 minutes to load it up. My work computers are cluttered with stuff the IT guy put on it and usually has to restart at least once during the boot process. I don't have administrator status and wouldn't know what I'm doing anyway.

          I think most of us users would agree that spending more time figuring out how to get our computers to load in less than 5 minutes would be a waste of more time. I would definitely prefer it if my computer turned on instantly without having to tinker around with it and likely break it.

          (Note that I'm not asking for advice here, I don't want to mess with it and am fine with how my computers work right now.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by jollyreaper ( 513215 )

            Me, for one. Even new, my laptop took at least 5 minutes to load it up. My work computers are cluttered with stuff the IT guy put on it and usually has to restart at least once during the boot process.

            Has to reboot at least once during the boot process? So you're saying you never reach the desktop?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by LordSnooty ( 853791 )

            I don't have administrator status and wouldn't know what I'm doing anyway.

            What are these "users" doing posting on Slashdot? BBC Weather is that way --> :)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by philspear ( 1142299 )

              What are these "users" doing posting on Slashdot?

              1. Trying to learn more about computers. I know, I know, /. is about claiming you know more than you do, not learning. I'm also coming to realize also that although people here can come up with a fix to any computer issue, it usually is much more of a hassle than the issue, only works in theory, and even then only under specific circumstances (namely, it might be able to work for the angry IT guy who suggested it, but if your machine is configured differently it won't, and by the way you're an idiot for n

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by crimson30 ( 172250 )

          Join the military. Our networks push so much junk onto clients, it makes Core 2 Duos crawl.

          I've seen boot/OS load times on clean installs go from ~1 minute to 10 minutes (after logging onto the domain). And I'm not exaggerating; I timed it.

      • Re:My opinion (Score:4, Interesting)

        by divisionbyzero ( 300681 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:08PM (#25403773)

        Funny but true. I turn on my computer. Go start a cup of coffee in the brew machine. Come back and type in my password. Go finish making my coffee. Chit-chat with some of my co-workers. When I return to my desk the Windows desktop is finally responsive even though it appeared about 2 minutes previously. Finally I load Outlook and that takes another two minutes.

        So, 5-10 minutes of my day every day is spent waiting for Windows. That's 40 hours a year. Microsoft owes my company 1 week of my salary. If they were forced to pay, they'd have to raise their prices for windows and office a whole hell of a lot to be profitable.

        Granted some of this is a function of hardware, login scripts that MS has no control over, etc, etc, etc, but it is a fun thought experiment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by danwesnor ( 896499 )
      As an alternative, they could just make "sleep" mode actually work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      If this was for a Linux distribution people would love it. But because it has windows on it... It makes it bad.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:22PM (#25402241) Journal
    ANYTHING that Windows wants to do to improve sucks and linux has already done it, done it better, cured cancer, etc.

    Seriously is there anyone on /. that isn't a "me too, me too" Microsoft sucks, Linux is good person?

    Jesus this is like Digg more and more everyday.

    OK bitches mod me down now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *

      > ANYTHING that Windows wants to do to improve sucks and linux has already
      > done it, done it better, cured cancer, etc.

      Actually.... Linux hasn't done it YET but almost certainly will before Microsoft can ship this idea. This all started with the embedded Linux distros to get around the long boot times for Windows (and most current Linux distros, lets be fair) and Microsoft now wants to play "me too!" but Linux is already moving on to solve the actual problem. Fedora demoed an Asus EEEPC booting to a

  • by rlp ( 11898 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:22PM (#25402249)

    The UI for the new "Instant-On Windows" is a black screen with the text "C:\>".

    • I would have thought it would be:

      Your group is currently "mkpasswd". This indicates that
      the /etc/passwd (and possibly /etc/group) files should be rebuilt.
      See the man pages for mkpasswd and mkgroup then, for example, run
      mkpasswd -l [-d] > /etc/passwd
      mkgroup -l [-d] > /etc/group
      Note that the -d switch is necessary for domain users.

      goodb0fh@b0fhmobile ~

      That way, I can run mplayer and other things too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )
      Close; the instant-on feature allows you a myriad of options, including a) continuing to boot into windows (2 minutes), or b) turn off computer. This will take a few years to implement, though.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:58PM (#25402771)

        And if you choose A, you'll get three pop-ups:

        "Are you sure you want to boot to application? Yes/No"

        "Windows needs your permission to use this program: Windows. If you do not trust the source do not use this program. This program can potentially harm your computer. Allow/Cancel"

        "Confirm boot-up to Windows: Yes/No"

    • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:57PM (#25402733)

      How cute, an emoticon of a frowning bald guy with a goatee! What does it mean?

  • by TheNecromancer ( 179644 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:24PM (#25402277)

    MS finally got around to complementing their Instant Off feature!

    Kudos to them!

  • Sounds like a windows terminal to me. You can be instant on, and lease all your applications from microsoft.

    Of course, now that we have metered service back, that will again kill the ASP business model off, this time once and for all. ( just in time for us all having enough bandwidth to make it finally work, the rug was pulled out from underneath us )

  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:26PM (#25402301) Homepage Journal

    Certainly there must be a way to offer these "instant on" apps while the rest of the subsystems load in the background. And if that's true then there's no need for an option, just always do it. It sounds like it's only an all-or-nothing proposition because they're copying the way others are currently doing it.

    • by OglinTatas ( 710589 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:52PM (#25402681)

      "...because they're copying the way others are currently doing it."

      because they're innovating the way others are currently doing it.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I agree. Windows should just boot up quickly, and be instant on from sleep. I think this is a minimum requirement. I think in the bad old days, the it was good to have the windows logo sitting there for multiple minutes for branding purposes, unlike the MS DOS days when one did not even know what the OS was a the diagnostics and loading were done in seconds.

      Now that MS does not need to brand MS Windows, and in fact ran away from the brand with MS Vista, some work was done to get move to the desktop qui

  • Why is it that Microsoft has no original ideas of their own? Have you ever noticed that whenever Microsoft puts out a new product/service/concept there is substantial proof that it has already been done by someone else? The worse part of this whole thing is, Microsoft convinces the public that their idea is something new!!! Whats wrong with all the Sheeple!!!
    • by Ostracus ( 1354233 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:33PM (#25402401) Journal

      "Why is it that Microsoft has no original ideas of their own?"

      One could very well ask FOSS the same question. Any takers?

      "The worse part of this whole thing is, Microsoft convinces the public that their idea is something new!!!"

      Like Apple?

      • Like Apple?

        Apple borrows a lot from existing technology but I have never seen them claim that they invented it. Where people see Apple as a leader is that they have at times been a pioneer in implementing it before others have. For example, PCs started coming with USB (which was invented by Intel) around 1993, however Apple was the first to drop all their other peripheral ports besides USB (and Firewire) starting with the original iMac. To this day, most PCs motherboards still come with legacy PS/2 and s

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:14PM (#25403031)

        People always claim that FOSS (usually they just mean Linux, and in particular the KDE and GNOME desktops) just copies Microsoft and/or Apple, so "where's the innovation".

        Well, this is where. FOSS made it possible for Asus and Dell to think about instant on computing. With Windows, you'd only have it if Microsoft came up with the idea. With Linux, anyone is free to come up with the idea. Even people not associated with Linux development per se.

        That's what open source innovation is about. Providing the freedom to innovate. Yes Linux is still playing catchup (to a limited extent these days) in matching mainstream desktop functionality and in keeping up with all the closed de-facto 'standards' that keep appearing due to the fact that the marketplace is still a heavily distorted Monopoly dominated one.

        So don't expect a new desktop paradigm (which most people probably don't even want). But expect a host of new devices (EeePC, Android, TiVo, etc) made possible by the true open source innovation - freedom to reuse.

    • Why is it that Microsoft has no original ideas of their own?

      I would think it comes from having almost no competition for nearly a long time. Look at what happened to IE after they won the browser wars. Now that there is competition, they have to shift from the strategy of defense to offense. The problem is in the meantime, MS has added multiple lines of businesses and find themselves unfocused without a clear strategy of what to do with so many fronts. A strong leader might be able to point them in the

  • Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:27PM (#25402321) Homepage Journal

    Instant on is useless if you can't do everything you want; which is what this is.

    How about an don't need to reboot version?

  • They can call it DOS.

  • Can't we have best of both worlds? Perhaps booting instantly a browser and basic apps, and then loading up other stuff in the background?

    Or how about it loading up bits that you need, when you need them?

  • What joke!

    We did this with an 68020 Amiga 2000 back in the early ninties. We bought an eeprom board and burned the whole Amiga OS (all 6 880K floppies and the rom image) to eeprom then plugged the board into the rom slot. The Amiga came up within milliseconds with the Workbench screen. Of course if you tried to do this with windows you would need 100 gigbytes of memory to do it...

    Ok, next original idea from Microsoft please....

  • Full windows? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by superphreak ( 785821 )
    From the article:
    The concept is called 'Instant On'. 'Instant On' takes your computer from being completely powered down or 'turned off' to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time."
    Glad they clarified that powered down and turned off are the same thing. S3, anyone? Small power draw and "instant on" with "full features." I wonder if instant on will be (much) faster than resuming from hibernate. It would be hard to justify an instant on for limited features unless it's
  • So maybe it's not the first time it's been done... Speaking as someone whose stuck on Windows in certain regards of his job, I would absolutely be interested in an instant-on subsystem which allows some utility in a standard Windows install without all the overhead that comes along with it.

    My needs when running to meetings, on the road, and taking notes in seminars do not call for much more than a pen and paper, but my handwriting sucks. If its packaged into a standard windows install, its more likely that

  • by yttrstein ( 891553 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:42PM (#25402549) Homepage
    The very fact that Microsoft as an organization cannot see that an "instant on" operating system would be a really, really major boon for them (my god, its so obvious my CAT is nodding) casts the entire company in a very, very bleak light.
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @01:44PM (#25402563) Homepage

    Boot the system. Now snapshot a memory image (a'la hybernate).

    Now for "instant on", set up the page table and start running, and in the background, lazily swap in the rest of the memory. Anything you need immediately gets paged from disk, and the rest of the state gets swept up over the next 30 seconds.

    Also, in the background, do "lazy write" as well: Any page that is stable for >X seconds but the disk is still active, write it out, so that going back to sleep (rehibernating) can be fast as well.

  • I'd enjoy an "instant-on" version of Windows if they focused it on productivity software and casual access to the internet. I'd also need to see it improve laptop battery life by a fair amount. Let's speculate: if this version of Windows allowed you to run Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer (with overhead plugins turned off, such as FlashPlayer) and gave you access to file servers (FTP, SSH, etc.) and sported a 50% battery life improvement, I'd use it! This is a perfect setup for what I need from my lap

  • I can attest to the fact that Dell uses XP Embedded for Dell Media Direct, and always has. I don't know about Asus.

  • Pffft! I had 'instant on' applications with my old VIC-20 computer.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @02:10PM (#25402977) Homepage

    Normal Windows would be fine if it could sleep/wake up without locking up or losing half the devices and forcing a reboot.

  • by thewiz ( 24994 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:23PM (#25403975)

    It's good to hear that Microsoft is looking into "instant on" technology. It would be a good complement to their "instant stop" technology.

  • priorities (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @03:27PM (#25404011) Homepage Journal

    You have installed a new 'Instant On'(tm) aware application. Do you want to reboot in order for the change to take effect?

    [Reboot Now] [Remind me every 2 minutes] [Go away but reboot without another warning in rand(5,10) minutes]

  • by MORB ( 793798 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @06:13PM (#25406135)

    Why should people have to choose between instantly on and fully functional? Can't Microsoft be ambitious enough to aim to make windows boot fast? This is like they're giving up on that as if it's just not possible, and instead offer some half-way compromise.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)