Windows 8 blog talks about improved boot features

After the deluge of Windows 8 news last week, thanks to the BUILD Conference, Microsoft's official Windows 8 blog has returned to it's normal schedule. Today it posted a new entry written by Microsoft's Billie Sue Chafins, which goes over how the company has tried to improve Windows 8's boot sequence, including making it faster than previous versions of the operating system

The current developer version of Windows 8 can go from a cold start to the Windows Start Screen in just under 13 seconds with the Samsung tablet that was given to BUILD Conference attendees. Chafins writes;

"Once we realized just how fast boot was going to be in Windows 8, it was obvious that it was the perfect time to tackle the user experience to deliver something seamless, beautiful, and of consumer electronics quality."

One change is that since Windows 8 will be used on more touch-screen based devices, the boot sequence had to be handled without the need for a keyboard or mouse. Chafins goes on to say;

"What better place to start thinking about the boot experience than the Windows 8 setup UI. This is one of the first places where we’ve made sure to give a great touch-first experience. The entire setup process, including entering your product key, joining a wireless network, and setting up a default account, will be accessible using the soft keyboard. If you go out and buy a new PC that comes with Windows 8 pre-installed, you will likely encounter the “Specialize” phase of setup on your first boot. This is where machine-specific information and drivers are installed on your system. In the past, you would go through a series of screens with a visual appearance distinct from other phases of setup. Now, the visual experience will be seamless from POST, to boot, to setup."

And what if you experience issues with your touch-screen based Windows 8 device that requires some troubleshooting? Chafins points out that;

"Even for such advanced functionality (that you may use rarely, if ever), we wanted to ensure that you would have a consistent and touchable experience. To illustrate just how deeply we thought about this experience, let’s assume you need to launch a command prompt window from within Windows RE (to check the access control lists (ACLs) on some files, for instance). We’ve even made the soft keyboard available from the command prompt in Windows RE if you need that (imagine a field repair of a device with no keyboard!)."

Other features pointed out in the blog post included using the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) will give the overall boot experience a better graphical look compared to the old fashioned method. Microsoft will also aim to have a seemless boot experience with Windows 8 which should allow the user to go from start up to Windows login while just seeing the manufacturer’s logo the entire time. 

There will also be a new way to display dual booting options for folks who want to have both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on your PC. The new boot user interface will allow the user to put in things like the default OS and timer setting without having to remember and type in a complicated series of commands. The UEFI firmware will also allow users an easy way to boot Windows 8 from a USB drive, something that Microsoft has already revealed with its Windows To Go feature. Finally the blog site talks about the new Blue Screen of Death which is something that again we have reported on before.

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