Although Microsoft itself demonstrated an 11-second Windows 7 boot, with some configurations being able to go as low as a 10-second startup, one company developing PC tune-up utilities claims that Windows 7 in fact is slower than Windows Vista. According to iolo Technlogies, a new computer running Windows 7 can take as much as 1 minute 34 seconds from a cold boot to the moment when the desktop becomes fully usable. It is iolo that found Vista to be up and ready for use in just 1 minute and 6 seconds.
I’m not going to comment in any way as to the possibility that iolo is simply attempting to generate some free publicity for itself and its Windows optimization products that have been compatible with Windows 7 since the operating system was in Beta. Instead, I will share with the users my own experience of running the latest iteration of the Windows client since the start of 2009.
I have been using Windows 7 as main operating system since it launched into Beta in January, and upgraded to the full RTM Ultimate edition as soon as it was offered through my MSDN subscription at the start of August. I also have been running Windows 7 on multiple machines, both at home and at work, while in parallel using test computers still running Windows Vista or even Windows XP. I’m going to leave Mac OS X and Linux out of this, and just focus on Windows.
After almost eight months of using Windows 7 on a daily basis my personal experience is that the latest iteration of the Windows client manages to leave Windows Vista in the dust without any problems. Performance is through the roof when it comes down to day-to-day usage scenarios. Well, truth be told, I haven’t performed a benchmarking of the two platforms, but it feels faster. However, it will be the impression of speed and performance that will make the difference between Windows 7 and Windows Vista, if you ask me, as the vast majority of end users will not be performing any sort of benchmarking either.
iolo shared its results with Beyond Binary, and underlined that the benchmarking took into consideration not the time it took for the desktop to be presented to end users, but the amount of time passed between when Windows 7 started up and the moment when it reached a fully usable stage. In this regard, iolo let Windows 7 boot until all CPU cycles dropped and an idle state was reached.
In Vista’s case, the appearance of the desktop is indeed not synonymous with a fully usable operating system. Reaching the Vista desktop was just a part of the operating system’s startup process, as the platform continued to load services in the background.
But Microsoft has optimized the Windows 7 boot process, and one of the optimizations is the fact that the operating system loads services with an on-demand mechanism, instead of piling them up by default and eating CPU cycles and I/O with no other reason than to have all applications ready, even if the user could not even run them. With the same range of applications installed as in Vista, my computer running Windows 7 is faster than when I had its precursor installed. Still, iolo only gave a taste of their statistics, promising that there was more to come.
I've installed Windows 7 Ultimate x86 RTM in 4 systems so far; 1 on my PC (2GB RAM), 3 others on Laptops (2 Acer with AMD dual core & 1 Toshiba with Intel Centrino dual core--all with 1GB RAM). One thing to note is that all of these 4 systems are low-end and 1 year older from the nowadays systems, the Toshiba is even older.
My result was BIOS to bootloader count the longest is 16 seconds which is on Toshiba, 48 seconds later to desktop and 1 minute 4 seconds later to idle state (yes, I always count until the idle state).
This test ran after installing Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft Office 2007, VMware Workstation 6, Yamicsoft Windows 7 Manager (to tweak the system caching) and some other softwares without any tweaking to startup items. The other tweak done was shutting down several times (more than 5 times) after idle processor reached which was leaving the system untouched for at least 5 minutes to have the superfetch stabilized.
One another note is the above result comes from the oldest, slowest system of all--Toshiba laptop, of its best result. The other systems are about 4 seconds faster (my PC is the fastest, though).
Oh, and my XP (dual boot scenario), forget about it, 2 minutes and 42 seconds to idle state!?
I can put all the results with all the complete spec. but I'm afraid it will be too long for fast reading.
What about your Windows 7 boot time result?
Comment #2 by: [R700]NFSC on 09 Oct 2009, 13:42 UTC
i have a custom built high end computer that i built myself (although its isn't high end anymore) but for me, boot times are MUCH faster than vista. maybe its because im using the amd phenom quad core series, maybe its because its 64 bit. all i noe is, it took 1 minute and 5 seconds for my computer to boot up with vistaa 64 bit, 47 seconds with windows xp pro 64 bit and 23 seconds with windows 7 64 bit RC...i haven't upgraded anything, i just tested my computer on identical hard drives. i believe its just compatibility with certain products, like, windows 7 has been engineered to fully use the core i7 architecture (amd's phenom architecture is very similar)