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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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RE: Facts
By drycrust3 on 9/10/2011 6:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
The article kind of makes it sound like this only works with EMFI and not BIOS. But it works with either.

My understanding is the slow boot times are BIOS related, so for this to work then Windows 8 has to re-write the BIOS because that is the first thing the CPU looks for when it is turned on.
There are various projects around to replace BIOS, but the main problem is that the BIOS is very much hardware dependent, so what works well on one PC would stuff up another one. In fact, there is no guarantee that the BIOS in one notebook or PC is the same as the identical model one next to it in the shop. You need to know specifically what motherboard is used. It is pretty much guaranteed that an error in the BIOS stuffs up your computer permanently. Hence, the best way to get fast boot times is for the manufacturer to design the computer so it doesn't have BIOS at all.

RE: Facts
By B3an on 9/10/2011 10:43:33 PM , Rating: 3
The BIOS is not related at all to the actual loading of Windows. And Win 8 certainly never would re-write/flash a BIOS, that could potentially break SO many computers.
But the POST screen (first screen you see) belongs to the BIOS, and this can take a while before it disappears. However once POST is complete then the actual loading of Win 8 is vastly faster, whether this is with EMFI or BIOS it dont matter.
Being as the loading of Windows is the part that usaully takes the longest on most systems then booting will be much quicker. POST times are not really an issue anyway as many new motherboards and laptops have EMFI now instead of BIOS, and most EMFI will post within about 5 seconds.

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