How’s this for fast? Windows 8 boots in as little as 8 seconds due to a new fast startup mode that Microsoft introduced and first demoed today. Check out the video embedded below for the demonstration of Windows 8’s amazing start-up time. Any faster and it would be instantaneous.
And in case you were wondering, that’s 8 seconds from the moment the user hits the power button on a device that’s been completely turned off.
Windows 8 boot on steroids is the result of start-up optimizations which involve “upgrading” cold start-up with additional features of a power-saving state designed to put some components of the OS on the hard drive.
“Our solution is a new fast startup mode which is a hybrid of traditional cold boot and resuming from hibernate,” revealed Gabe Aul, a director of program management in Windows.
This means that when customers will shut down Windows 8 machines, the operating system won’t close all user sessions as well as the services and devices in the kernel session.
“Now here’s the key difference for Windows 8: as 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,” Aul added.
With Windows 7, the software giant overhauled the way that the platform was handling drivers, and boot times improved significantly.
Of course, not to the impressive level of Windows 8 boot performance, but still. I should stress that the Redmond company has once again revamped the mechanism that allows the operating system to load drivers for Windows 8.
“Another important thing to note about Windows 8’s fast startup mode is that, while we don’t do a full “Plug & Play” enumeration of all drivers, we still do initialize drivers in this mode,” Aul explained.
“Those of you who like to cold boot in order to “freshen up” drivers and devices will be glad to know that is still effective in this new mode, even if not an identical process to a cold boot.”
Back in June 2011, I wrote an article noting that Windows 8 could deliver boot times of as little as 5 or 6 seconds, if the right hardware configuration is there.
It appears I was right on the money, and I still believe that Windows 8 systems could boot in 6 seconds or less on machines equipped with SSDs and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).
“This new fast startup mode will yield benefits on almost all systems, whether they have a spinning HDD or a solid state drive (SSD), but for newer systems with fast SSDs it is downright amazing. Check out the video below to see for yourself,” Aul said.
UPDATE: This is the computer used in the video: EliteBook 8640p (Intel Core i7-2620M, 8GB, 160GB SSD).