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Windows 7 metrics show most power transitions are cold boots (green) with power-consuming sleeps (blue) in second place. A few people use hibernate (fuschia) as an alternative to sleep, but this uses a great deal of storage.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

Boot Times on Windows 8 (dark blue) are across the board faster than boot times in Windows 7 (light blue), with the difference esp. noticeable in Windows 7 "worst case" scenarios.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

Emily Wilson, program manager of the Windows 8 Kernel Group shows fast-booting Windows 8.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)
New tech caches the kernel and device drivers only, allowing much faster boots w/out much storage

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has come up with a pretty slick solution for Windows 8, its upcoming operating system, which is set to launch in late 2012.  The company realized that many Windows 7 customers (45 percent on the laptop, 57 percent on the desktop) prefer to do a full shutdown between each use.  But wakeup times from full shutdown in Windows have traditional slow.  

A small percentage of people hibernate their machines, which promises faster startup speeds, but requires storage space equivalent to the footprint in memory of your running applications (often 4 GB).

So what Microsoft devised was a hybrid method faster startups -- this time only storing information from the system kernel and the device drivers.  The result is a much faster boot that still provides the power savings of cold boots and hibernation, but without the large amount of storage (often 4 GB or more) needed to store a complete image of all running programs.  Microsoft estimates the average cold boot will be 30 to 70 percent faster using the technology.

Microsoft describes the steps to the shutdown side of this process in a blog post, writing:
  1. The user initiates a shutdown by selecting “shut down” from the Start menu, or by pressing the power button; or an application initiates shutdown by calling an API such as ExitWindowsEx() or InitiateShutdown().
  2. Windows broadcasts messages to running applications, giving them a chance to save data and settings. Applications can also request a little extra time to finish what they’re doing.
  3. Windows closes the user sessions for each logged on user.
  4. Windows sends messages to services notifying them that a shutdown has begun, and subsequently shuts them down. It shuts down ordered services that have a dependency serially, and the rest in parallel. If a service doesn’t respond, it is shut down forcefully. ‪‬
  5. Windows broadcasts messages to devices, signaling them to shut down. ‪‬
  6. Windows closes the system session (also known as “session 0”).
  7. Windows flushes any pending data to the system drive to ensure it is saved completely.
  8. Windows sends a signal via the ACPI interface to the system to power down the PC.
The hybrid boot system pairs with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) -- Microsoft's new replacement to the aged BIOS system -- for ultra-fast boot times, even from near-full sleeps.

Don't like the hybrid boot and want to do a traditional cold boot?  Microsoft has made this easy enough for power users.  They can do a traditional cold boot by typing "shutdown /full" from the command line.  This allows drivers installers and other programs that require a complete cold boot to still work properly.

Microsoft has a video of the tech in action here on YouTube.  The company promises demos at its upcoming BUILD Conference in Anaheim, Calif., which begins on Sept. 13 and runs parallel to Intel Corp.'s (INTC) Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Calif.

Last month Microsoft showed off improved file management in a similar video.  Earlier shots off the new ribbon-based Windows Explorer leaked via iconic Windows bloggers Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera 


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A better way?
By EricMartello on 9/9/2011 11:28:21 PM , Rating: 0
This seems like it's just renaming the existing "hibernate" feature to "hybrid boot"...and while the PC will start a little faster with "hibernate" than it does from a cold boot, it's not a huge difference.

I don't think that a system necessarily needs to spend so much time booting up if the use something like a "state" feature that saves "states" or snapshots of the drivers in the memory so they don't need to be loaded each time. That alone could potentially shave off 60-80% of the boot time down, maybe even get windows to a point where it boots in seconds rather than minutes even without a SSD.




RE: A better way?
By B3an on 9/10/2011 12:12:09 AM , Rating: 4
If you actually read the blog then you'd know thats not true.

The new shutdown/boot up will completely close the users account and not save any open software or settings. The only thing saved is the kernel. Then on boot all device drivers are initialized and the user account loaded making it pretty much the same as a with a cold boot and giving it a fresh boot feel.

It's also vastly faster than Hibernate which can still take a while to boot up. In the vid it takes 8 seconds to boot to Win 8 from pressing the power button. But literally 1 - 2 seconds of that is for Win 8 to load and start. The remaining 6 seconds of that is the EMFI/BIOS posting which isn't down to Windows.


RE: A better way?
By EricMartello on 9/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: A better way?
By Alexstarfire on 9/10/2011 5:53:34 PM , Rating: 3
Pretty sure a shutdown and a hibernate feature should not be one and the same.

BTW, I don't even have an SSD and I can start up my computer in less than a minute with ease. Had Windows 7 installed on here with daily use from a few months after it came out. SSD + this hybrid boot would easily take it under 20 seconds.

I'd be more interested to see startup times without an SSD since those are still in the minority. I know they are faster but they are also vastly more expensive.


RE: A better way?
By EricMartello on 9/11/2011 7:27:43 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't about shutdown, it's about boot-up. I mentioned resuming from hibernation as an example of what this "hybrid boot" seems to be a variation of. In other words they're taking something that's been around, changing it slightly and giving it a new name to make it seem like an improvement.

My original post stated that they should rework the software so that you get near instant-on type of functionality by saving a system "state" during shutdown so that drivers do not need to be loaded redundantly.

Off topic...SSDs may be more expensive per GB but they're also the best upgrade to make any system quicker and more responsive in terms of boot-up times and application opening & switching.


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