Improving Boot Performance in Windows 7

From Engineering Windows 7

The Windows 7 Team is blogging again, this time about Microsoft’s efforts to improve the boot time for the next release. Michael Fortin who is one of Microsoft’s Distinguished Engineers and leads the Fundamentals feature team in the Core Operating System Group, takes the time out to discuss the challenges and the experiences the Team had testing Windows 7 on various configurations out there. Also of interest, is what the Windows Team considers to be excellent from not so excellent.

Quote:

For Windows 7, we have a dedicated team focused on startup performance, but in reality the effort extends across the entire Windows division and beyond. Our many hardware and software partners are working closely with us and can rightly be considered an extension to the team.

Startup can be one of three experiences; boot, resume from sleep, or resume from hibernate. Although resume from sleep is the default, and often 2 to 5 seconds based on common hardware and standard software loads, this post is primarily about boot as that experience has been commented on frequently. For Windows 7, a top goal is to significantly increase the number of systems that experience very good boot times. In the lab, a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds.

For a PC to boot fast a number of tasks need to be performed efficiently and with a high degree of parallelism.

  • Files must be read into memory.
  • System services need to be initialized.
  • Devices need to be identified and started.
  • The user’s credentials need to be authenticated for login.
  • The desktop needs to be constructed and displayed.
  • Startup applications need to be launched.

Read the entire article here

I hope when the Windows Team is testing Windows 7 on systems out there it tries to order from the budget category. My brother purchased a Dell Inspiron in March 2008 with Windows Vista Home Basic 32-bit:

Specs:
Intel Celeron 1.8 Ghz
1 GB of RAM
Shared memory (don’t know the amount exactly, but I think its using the X3000 graphics from Intel.

Out of the box it was acceptable performance, boot in about 1 minute, from BIOS to building the desktop. But as applications were added, the performance and boot time of the system degraded. Here is a sampling of the applications he has installed:

– AutoCAD 2009 – His application of choice, day in day out. This app takes a long time to open and he often leaves it open.
– Office 2007 Professional
– Encarta 2008
– Virtual DJ
– iTunes 7.7
– Roxio 9

These are what he often uses. What he has resorted to doing now is just plain hibernate the system and it has worked tremendously in his favor. But, there are the times when has to install Windows Updates and restart the system for them to be installed and configured. Those now rare boot times can be excruciating.

In contrast, I have a laptop Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit with the following specs:
– AMD Turion 2.0 GHz x2
– 2 GBs of RAM
– ATI X1600 256 MBs of vRAM

Apps:
AutoCAD 2009 – Which I also use on a regular basis
Office 2007 Enterprise
Encarta 2008
Corel Graphics Suite x4
NERO 8

Yet, its seeing a similar boot time performance of over 1 minute or more. Loading the desktop can be the most excruciating part. What I notice on the laptop is when its fully loaded up, the applications do open fast. But the boot time is really the downer. I don’t like to leave my laptop sleeping or in hibernation of long periods of time. I personally have noticed and this is based on experience with XP not Vista, it does affect your system over time, things start to get corrupted and groggy. I think hibernation is at fault for killing my Dell Inspiron 840c.

What I have done is disable some of the services I know I do not need. For instance, Apples iTunes installs things like Apple Mobile Device Service and iTunes Helper Service. There are some things you can disable from Services in Admin Tools and MSCONFIG, but I personally don’t see a drastic difference at all, unless I am doing something wrong.

I would like a feature in Windows 7, similar to IE 7 where you reset the default settings back to its originally state. Meaning, when I buy an OEM branded computer, I can remove all the third party programs that OEM’s often include without having to reinstall the OS from scratch, this should not affect device drivers. But even virus protection software must be removed in the reset process. Let me the user; decide what I want to put on my computer.

But ultimately, a lot of the issues I see with Vista’s performance is mostly associated with processors and memory configurations that cannot seem to handle Vista’s high requirements, yet the OEMs still push these systems out to consumers. You need to have a serious talk with your partners about doing this. Either let them continue bundling XP on those systems or don’t ship them at all. Don’t let your brand suffer at the cost of consumer experience because OEMs are trying to save a buck or two.

22 Comments

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22 responses to “Improving Boot Performance in Windows 7

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