In a new blog post on Microsoft’s recently launched Building Windows 8 blog, Gabe Aul, a director of program management in Windows, details the “fast startup mode which is a hybrid of traditional cold boot and resuming from hibernate.”
First, Aul explains Microsoft’s mission:
Our challenge then, was to design a way to meet all of these desires on today’s PCs without requiring some special new hardware. These were our goals:
- Effectively zero watt power draw when off
- A fresh session after boot
- Very fast times between pressing the power button and being able to use the PC.
In order to achieve these goals and dramatically reduce Windows boot times, Microsoft has developed a process which simply hibernates the kernel session rather than shutting it down completely:
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.
Using this technique with boot gives us a significant advantage for boot times, since reading the hiberfile in and reinitializing drivers is much faster on most systems (30-70% faster on most systems we’ve tested).
Those improvements make for Windows 8 boot times that take just 8 seconds in Microsoft’s teaser video (above), which are a huge improvement over those seen from Windows 7. Endless boot times were always a huge niggle for me when I was a Windows user, and this improvement alone would be a huge reason to upgrade for me.
What do you think of faster Windows 8 boot times?