Study: Windows 8 takes less than half the time to start up than Windows 7

In September, when Microsoft released the Developer Version of Windows 8, the company said that boot times would be much faster than previous Windows versions. Later it was discovered that the boot times for Windows 8 could be so fast, there may not be any time to press the F2/F8 keys to go to the setup screen.

Now, PCMag.com is putting the boot up time, along with other features, of the 64-bt Windows 8 Release Preview to the test and comparing them to a clean install of a PC with the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate on the same Toshiba Portege R835-P88 laptop. The results from their testing show that a PC with Windows 8 Release Preview boots up in 17 seconds, compared to 38 seconds for the Windows 7 PC. Yes, that means the Windows 8 PC took less than half the time to boot up next to a Windows 7 PC.

Other tests performed by PCMag showed that Windows 8 Release Preview had better performance than Windows 7 in nearly all aspects, including video rendering, web browsers and more. There was one place where Windows 8 was slower, which was the time it took to move files from a USB 2.0 Flash drive to the PC. The article states:

Though these tests didn't show a speed improvement (presumably because it's a hardware-constrained test), when I tried copying the same files to another folder, it was nearly instant, whereas in Windows 7 I had to wait the same time for the file to move again.

Source: PCMag.com

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Certainly not a reason to abandon Windows-7. Really...in a typical office setting using desktops, how important is this "need for speed?" After the applications to be used for the day have been loaded, and then minimized when not in use, where does the critical need for speed come in?

Larry the Lobster said,
So it starts sucking sooner?

How can Operating Systems suck. Heck, they're not even an object and you expect it to act like a vacuum cleaner.

I've heard this for years:

Win 95 boots faster than Win 3.1
Win 98 boots faster than Win 95
Win Me boots faster than Win 95
Win 2K boots faster than Win Me
Win XP boots faster that Win 2K
Win 7 boots faster than Win XP
Win 8 boots faster than Win 7...

but interesting truth is that on today's hardware Win 3.1 takes less than half the time to start up than Windows 8 .

EJocys said,
but interesting truth is that on today's hardware Win 3.1 takes less than half the time to start up than Windows 8 .

The Windows 3.1 installers take up ~7MB... it's kind of a given that something that has a microscopic fraction of the features is going to boot up faster.

Max Norris said,

The Windows 3.1 installers take up ~7MB... it's kind of a given that something that has a microscopic fraction of the features is going to boot up faster.

I understand. Truth is that every new generation of OS is always slower and bulkier and claims about "improved booting speed" is usually nothing more than PR BS. Hardware speed doubles approximately every two years together with number of transistors and compensates slowdown of OS. This is why Win 3.1 boots faster than Win 8. I bet that Win 8 would take ages to boot on Intel i486 . Its more like: new OS can use new advancements in technology (multi-core, threading, GPU acceleration, etc...). New OS is usually faster on new hardware ONLY.

EJocys said,
I've heard this for years:

It looks like you should try out Windows 8 then. It is more of an improvement over Windows 7 than Windows 7 was over Vista.

Your statement is not wrong only for operating systems such as XP and maybe Vista, but certainly not for 7 and 8.

ahhell said,
I facepalmed so hard that I touched the chair behind me.

Not sure what you are face-palming for. Complexity (amount of rules) is directly proportional to slowness of the system. Which means that any new OS will use more and more resources i.e. will be slower and slower which can be compensated only by faster hardware. In reality fastest things are simplest: like photons which moves the at the speed of light.

Cøi said,

Your statement is not wrong only for operating systems such as XP and maybe Vista, but certainly not for 7 and 8.

That is temporary. Tons of new features will be added to future OS (probably 3D interface, new media interfaces and formats, new rules, etc.), and it will get bulkier and bulkier. At the same time improvements in hardware speed will be incorrectly attributed to OS "achievements" by PR teams.

EJocys said,
That is temporary. Tons of new features will be added to future OS (probably 3D interface, new media interfaces and formats, new rules, etc.), and it will get bulkier and bulkier. At the same time improvements in hardware speed will be incorrectly attributed to OS "achievements" by PR teams.

But what about when newer versions of an OS are faster on the same hardware? One of my test systems here has XP, 7 and 8 installed on it, and the OS has gotten progressively quicker with the newer builds. I don't have a habit of throwing away a computer when a new OS is released, and at least on my hardware anyway, 7's noticeably quicker than XP, and 8 even more so.

Max Norris said,

But what about when newer versions of an OS are faster on the same hardware?

OS optimizations like extra caching or removal of double routines in code could improve speed, but I would attribute a lot of these speed improvements on new features (like ability to use more than 4 GB, SSD or GPU efficiently). This means that WinXP would beat crap out of Win7 when tested on PC's which has minimum requirements of WinXP. Basically WinXP menus should work faster on very very old PC's and Win 7 should work faster on new PC's (because Win XP won't use all bells and whistles). My Point is: New hardware makes new OS faster. Claims about faster OS applies for hardware with some specific requirements only and usually are not far away from PR BS.

As a user of Windows 8 since the Developer Preview to the Release Preview, I can vouch for that. With Windows 7, it'd be over a minute till I opened up Chrome and loaded a webpage. Now I do this in just under 30 seconds.

Now this is a life changing feature, i'll have 15 sec more to relax, think about the world and drink my coffee in peace... instead of waiting the damn win7 to boot. Ahhhhhh...........

But wait...... what about usability? To open every single (not metro-social-useless) program i'll have to switch on the desktop or go in the right corner and then write the program name, slide through screens etc etc... i admit it's nothing hard, but if gaining 15 seconds of a one time a day boot is so important, what about repetitive tasks that'll (each) make me lose 5 sec at least... After 3 tasks i already lost my win8 boot-gaining-life-time advantage.

Thoughts? Is the boot time so important then?

I do wonder if its the first reboot after install or not, as Win8 gets faster with rebooting after some usage.
At first it took a while to boot, 20-30 seconds (not counting bios stuff, got no UEFI )
but nowadays its less then 10 seconds before i can start entering my login password

LOL because Windows 8's shutdown is actually logoff+hibernation, MS cleverly renamed it to "Shutdown" and Shift+Shutdown does a full Windows 7-like shutdown. If you hibernate Windows 7, it will take nearly the same time. Windows 8 may be slightly faster but not by orders of magnitude. If people compare Windows 7 shutdown to Windows 8's logoff+hibernate, that's just stupid. The people who make these "studies" appear to be dumb. If you want to compare, compare the hibernation and resume time of Windows 7 with no programs running to Windows 8's "shutdown".

xpclient said,
LOL because Windows 8's shutdown is actually logoff+hibernation, MS cleverly renamed it to "Shutdown" and Shift+Shutdown does a full Windows 7-like shutdown. If you hibernate Windows 7, it will take nearly the same time. Windows 8 may be slightly faster but not by orders of magnitude. If people compare Windows 7 shutdown to Windows 8's logoff+hibernate, that's just stupid. The people who make these "studies" appear to be dumb. If you want to compare, compare the hibernation and resume time of Windows 7 with no programs running to Windows 8's "shutdown".

Its not dumb, its not hibernation... it only stores system info in a 'hibernation' file.
no current program info or anything... its basically just a memdisk of the windows kernel itself. nowhere near real hibernation.

And people still trying to dig for ways to bash M$ even if there's nothing possibly negative about this new feature.

Cøi said,
And people still trying to dig for ways to bash M$ even if there's nothing possibly negative about this new feature.

Depends on how you take it. I merely mentioned what the B8 blog said about this feature. If you this that's "bashing", suit yourself.

I wouldn't take the article seriously as: The os hasen't even been officialy released yet. Making promises using unfinished work is futile and only wastes everyone's time. Working towards a common goal of say: a faster os startup is commendable and worthy of further interest and support.

I don't get it. So, Neowin.net did not boot up 2 computers in their own office and see if there was a time difference. They instead looked at a different website's study and summarized the findings?

From a consumer standpoint, this is true.
From a technical aspect, MS is cheating to get this faster boot-time. They send a hibernate signal to ACPI, shutdown the entire userspace, then hibernates the kernel. A very annoying side affect of this is that you cannot enter the BIOS on certain systems because of how they handle S3, and you must Windows 8's fake bootloader, which in fact starts up the Win8 system, and if you pick, for example, Windows 7, it restarts the computer and passes a special parameter to the true bootloader to boot Windows 7.

Vincent Lee said,
From a consumer standpoint, this is true.
From a technical aspect, MS is cheating to get this faster boot-time. They send a hibernate signal to ACPI, shutdown the entire userspace, then hibernates the kernel. A very annoying side affect of this is that you cannot enter the BIOS on certain systems because of how they handle S3, and you must Windows 8's fake bootloader, which in fact starts up the Win8 system, and if you pick, for example, Windows 7, it restarts the computer and passes a special parameter to the true bootloader to boot Windows 7.

I know, the whole faster boot times is ridiculous. Hybernate the Windows 7 PC and compare that, or do an actual cull boot of Win8. Otherwise this is like comparing two cars on a race track but one gets to take a short cut.

Vincent Lee said,
From a consumer standpoint, this is true.
From a technical aspect, MS is cheating to get this faster boot-time. They send a hibernate signal to ACPI, shutdown the entire userspace, then hibernates the kernel. A very annoying side affect of this is that you cannot enter the BIOS on certain systems because of how they handle S3, and you must Windows 8's fake bootloader, which in fact starts up the Win8 system, and if you pick, for example, Windows 7, it restarts the computer and passes a special parameter to the true bootloader to boot Windows 7.

But Microsoft has also shown a cold boot scenario - the main contributing factor has been the move to UEFI which hopefully by now has become pretty much standard firmware for all new computers shipping at the moment.

Vincent Lee said,
From a consumer standpoint, this is true.
From a technical aspect, MS is cheating to get this faster boot-time. They send a hibernate signal to ACPI, shutdown the entire userspace, then hibernates the kernel. A very annoying side affect of this is that you cannot enter the BIOS on certain systems because of how they handle S3, and you must Windows 8's fake bootloader, which in fact starts up the Win8 system, and if you pick, for example, Windows 7, it restarts the computer and passes a special parameter to the true bootloader to boot Windows 7.

Ah well, Google cheats constantly with Chrome, its okay. They cheat with Android.. its okay.
MS isnt really cheating, Win8 still containts a normal reboot if you so desperately want it, just use the shutdown command.
They found a way to increase boottime, and OMG MS IS CHEATING!!! Q.Q
BTW its not even close to hibernation.
True it uses the hibernation technique to store system info from the memory to the harddrive instead of reloading it for no reason every reboot.
hardly considered cheating, more like optimizing.

Vincent Lee said,
From a consumer standpoint, this is true.
From a technical aspect, MS is cheating to get this faster boot-time. They send a hibernate signal to ACPI, shutdown the entire userspace, then hibernates the kernel.

Getting electricity is cheating because it's already in the wires, the right method would be to invent it every time you need it.

ambiance said,
Half the time to boot to make up for all the time spent trying to find programs.

for the mouse users. It is still the same for those who pin their frequently use apps on taskbar, or those who winkey+type+enter. One minor annoyance is the segregation of files|settings|apps on the search results, though.

ambiance said,
Half the time to boot to make up for all the time spent trying to find programs.

Thats why u still dont know how to use it. Its actually faster.

I don't get it, why did they not use SSD? my new HP DV6 i7 with Windows Home Premium boots in about 16~17seconds... does the mean Windows 8 will give a boot time of 8~9sec (on SSD)?

WaqasTariq said,
I don't get it, why did they not use SSD? my new HP DV6 i7 with Windows Home Premium boots in about 16~17seconds... does the mean Windows 8 will give a boot time of 8~9sec (on SSD)?

I have the release preview booting in 9 seconds on a Laptop with core 2 duo @ 2Ghz, 3Gb Ram, 128GB SSD.

WaqasTariq said,
I don't get it, why did they not use SSD? my new HP DV6 i7 with Windows Home Premium boots in about 16~17seconds... does the mean Windows 8 will give a boot time of 8~9sec (on SSD)?

Microsoft put out a video during the DP or CP (I forgot which one) of Windows 8 booting up in 8 seconds on a SSD

WaqasTariq said,
I don't get it, why did they not use SSD? my new HP DV6 i7 with Windows Home Premium boots in about 16~17seconds... does the mean Windows 8 will give a boot time of 8~9sec (on SSD)?

Because the focus of the tests it to show what it would be like on what the majority of people would be running - primarily a computer with a traditional hard disk. What the test showed is that even if you've got a Windows computer with a hard disk you're still going to get the benefits - so the improvements aren't simply down to better hardware but also improved booting algorithms being used.

when I tried copying the same files to another folder, it was nearly instant, whereas in Windows 7 I had to wait the same time for the file to move again.

This is most likely an issue of one test copying files from a folder on drive a to a folder on drive b (or partitions), and on the W8 machine copying to another folder on the same drive. Just a guess though as I've not heard of any magical disk to disk instant transfer mechanism in Windows 8, as this is still hardware based (disk to disk actually copies the file, folder to folder on same disk just changes a link in the file system)

duddit2 said,
when I tried copying the same files to another folder, it was nearly instant, whereas in Windows 7 I had to wait the same time for the file to move again.

This is most likely an issue of one test copying files from a folder on drive a to a folder on drive b (or partitions), and on the W8 machine copying to another folder on the same drive. Just a guess though as I've not heard of any magical disk to disk instant transfer mechanism in Windows 8, as this is still hardware based (disk to disk actually copies the file, folder to folder on same disk just changes a link in the file system)


There are optimizations in the queuing and the memory priority discard timing as well as how the write cache is handled.

So even a drive to drive transfer could appear nearly instantaneous in comparison, especially if the read data was being discarded from the cache on Windows 7 earlier and a new read command had to be filled at the mechanical level.

If solid state this could also be much faster due to refining of the SSD mechanisms.

In Windows 7 now, if you have the hardware and set the write cache to not depend on power, the journaling will tell NTFS what is supposed to be there and pretend like it is before the actual hardware gets the bits.

There is another change that works like the multilocation data if I remember right as well, this would eliminate a disk to disk copy of an additional initial write that also would be queued.

There are lots of ways this is possible, and lots of optimizations in Windows 8 of how it would have gotten faster.

thenetavenger said,


There are optimizations in the queuing and the memory priority discard timing as well as how the write cache is handled.

So even a drive to drive transfer could appear nearly instantaneous in comparison, especially if the read data was being discarded from the cache on Windows 7 earlier and a new read command had to be filled at the mechanical level.

If solid state this could also be much faster due to refining of the SSD mechanisms.

In Windows 7 now, if you have the hardware and set the write cache to not depend on power, the journaling will tell NTFS what is supposed to be there and pretend like it is before the actual hardware gets the bits.

There is another change that works like the multilocation data if I remember right as well, this would eliminate a disk to disk copy of an additional initial write that also would be queued.

There are lots of ways this is possible, and lots of optimizations in Windows 8 of how it would have gotten faster.

Nice bit of info there, thanks a lot. I need to get into the nitty gritty of W8 soon - I mean I'm using it and testing top level things but this info you provided just opened my eyes!

togermano said,
Windows 8 does start faster over windows 7 but that is pretty much the only thing it has going for it.... facty x

.... opinionly x

togermano said,
Windows 8 does start faster over windows 7 but that is pretty much the only thing it has going for it.... facty x

that and shutdown quicker, Video Rendering, Geekbench 2.3 64-bit tests, PCMark 7, Sunspider, Google V8 (v.7), Psychedelic Browsing.....

togermano said,
Windows 8 does start faster over windows 7 but that is pretty much the only thing it has going for it.... facty x

If you read the article it says windows 8 is faster the windows 7 in all respects except for transfer from usb 2.0 to windows 8. So it looks like Windows 8 kills Windows 7 in speed department.

Melfster said,

If you read the article it says windows 8 is faster the windows 7 in all respects except for transfer from usb 2.0 to windows 8. So it looks like Windows 8 kills Windows 7 in speed department.

You lost him at the "read" part. Not sure a person like this is capable of that.

togermano said,
Windows 8 does start faster over windows 7 but that is pretty much the only thing it has going for it.... facty x

Network connectivity is 12 times faster as well