August 1, 2007
I frequently hear apocryphal stories about Macs booting much faster than Windows boxes. There's a great set of Mac boot time benchmarks on the Silver Mac site that provide solid empirical data to back up those claims:
|Mac OS X
|Ready to use
To be clear, the standard convention for "boot time" is the time from initial power on to the time we can finally interact with the desktop. The Silver Mac benchmarks are admirably thorough, as they break out important milestones during boot: the first boot sound, the appearance of the Apple logo on the screen, the OS X loading screen, and finally the ability to interact with the desktop. The intermediate milestones help us see where the real bottlenecks are in the boot process.
For perspective, a 1986 Mac Plus boots to the desktop in eleven seconds. The modern PC it is compared to clocks in at just over a minute of boot time. It's not even remotely a fair comparison for a whole host of reasons, but it's a fun data point nonetheless. How long does it take for your car to boot? Your MP3 player? Your television? Your cell phone?
For typical PC boot times, I turn to Ed Bott's excellent blog.
|Ubuntu Linux 6.10||1:49|
Wow, PC boot times really do suck, right? Well, maybe. It depends on the PC.
The "Ultimate Developer Rig" I built for Scott Hanselman boots to a clean install of Vista x64 in 22 seconds. According to Scott, 10 seconds of that is attributable to the BIOS, and the other 12 is the operating system loading from disk. It's sobering to consider that almost half of the system's total boot time is spent in the third-party motherboard BIOS-- something Microsoft has no control over.
Now, these kinds of speedy PC boot times are only attainable if you have a clean install of the operating system. A clean install is de rigueur for Apple, because they're a single-source vendor. They have the luxury of complete control over the way their operating system is shipped-- not to mention the system BIOS itself. Every Apple box should boot consistently quickly as a matter of course. It'd be a crushing disappointment if they didn't.
On a Windows box, however, you almost never get a clean install. You typically get Microsoft's operating system plus a bevy of performance-sapping craplets the third-party vendor was paid to install on your system. Your boot times are already compromised the second you break the seal on the box.
Tweaking the BIOS to improve boot time is usually out of the question. But it is possible to restore most Windows boxes to near-clean-install boot speeds, at least. The process isn't exactly rocket surgery -- just stop doing so much stuff at startup! The primary tool for turning off unnecessary startup tasks is conveniently built into both XP and Vista: MSCONFIG.
In my experience, anything that wants to runs at boot almost never needs to. It's generally safe to turn off almost everything in the MSCONFIG startup tab. If you have any applets that you recognize and want to run on boot, leave those; for everything else, when in doubt, turn it off. This not only speeds up your boot time, it also frees up memory on the PC. If you later decide you made a mistake, reverting is easy enough-- just run MSCONFIG again and tick the appropriate checkbox.
It's also quite common for your boot time to degrade over time as you install certain kinds of software, as noted by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes:
Sudden changes in boot times are usually quite noticeable, but what usually happens in that boot times grow slowly over time. You start off with a PC with a fresh install of Windows on it and it feels nice and fast (hopefully - if it doesn't then you're in serious trouble and things are only going to get worse, no matter how much you trash your system trying to speed it up). You then install security software and performance takes a hit. Install some big apps like Office and boot times take another nose-dive. I've seen boot times increase by over 100% over the course of setting up a new PC. It's actually quite depressing to watch.
Indeed, and the vast majority of that boot slowdown is attributable to security and anti-virus software, as documented on PC Spy. That's why I urge people to pursue other methods of securing their PCs; if you rely on commercial anti-virus, you are literally crippling your PC's performance. Anti-virus software barely works these days anyway, so it's a raw deal no matter how you slice it.
Of course, the best boot time of all is no boot time-- as Adrian so aptly points out:
How many times a day do you boot up your PC? If you [boot] more than two or three times a day on a regular basis then you're not making proper use of the features that your PC offers, such as hibernate or sleep. My systems can go for days, and sometimes weeks, without a reboot, being hibernated/put to sleep at the end of the day or during any big breaks in the work day. In fact, I like the hibernate feature a lot because it lets me shut my systems down yet leave my work open. Next time I restart the system, all my apps and documents are open and waiting for me.
Even if I did need to reboot my system a few times a day, I don't think that I'd be all that worried about boot times unless they were really long (+3 minutes) or my system was really unstable and needed rebooting several times a day. In either case, there's a problem somewhere that needs to be solved. If the system only takes a few seconds or a couple of minutes to boot up then I'm really not worried about the effect that the lost time will have on my productivity.
He's right. Maybe boot time is ultimately irrelevant; your best bet is to avoid booting altogether. Make use of those "Sleep" and "Hibernation" options in lieu of powering all the way down. Support is fairly mature for these modes, even in the wild-and-wooly PC ecosystem-- and they're many times faster than cold booting and loading up all your applications again.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
I've got an iMac that I just let sleep when it needs a nap. ;-)
Actually, my iMac boot time was similar to the one you listed above, and so as a rule, I don't shut it down but just let it sleep.
On my Dell PC (running XP), I use NOD32 for my antivirus needs and it seems to be considerably less of a resource hog than other ones I've tried, especially the McAfee suite that came preloaded. It was like running with a cinder block tied to your leg.
Oddball sleep sounds great. I thought of it myself as I was reading Jeff's descriptions of Sleep and Hibernate, and the pitfall of Sleep. I'd say one should always put Oddball sleep by default :)
I boot 4-5 times a day, but it is not due to not knowing how to use hibernate and sleep. It is due to OS instability. Memory usage creeps up even when nothing is running, the machine begins behaving oddly, etc, and a boot fixes it.
Great info on MSCONFIG. Albeit, already very well known for the intended audience here than the average user.
I can't stand it when a simple app is installed and it feels it should start upon PC startup by default. If I had wanted it to start, I would have made it start! - *when* I want it to. :)
Odd, from poweron to desktop interaction my Fiesty Fawn is dramatically faster than my XP....
To be clear, the standard convention for "boot time" is the time from initial power on to the time we can finally interact with the desktop.
Does that include the login process?
I would think it does include the login process(or no logon for that matter - starts right into the Desktop) because once logged in MSCONFIG performs those startups Jeff was talking about.
One really nice thing I have found with Vista is that you can select hibernate and close the lid on your laptop and it actually hibernates. The same laptop with XP would go to sleep when the lid closed, so when you opened it again it would finish hibernating.
If you reboot daily, something is wrong with you anyways. I haven't rebooted since may and I don't plan on rebooting anytime soon either. At most I'll hibernate (but my computer is usually busy while I'm away or asleep anyways). We live in 2007, not 1997. Asides from installing new drivers or certain very rare security patches, there's no reason it reboot a Windows PC if you have some basic ideas of how to maintain an OS (that means, for example, not installing spyware).
My experience with hibernate and sleep options has been pretty dismal. Frequently they just "freeze" the computer. Laptops seem especially prone to problems, which is odd since they need it most.
the third-party motherboard BIOS-- something Microsoft has no control over.
Right, 'cause Microsoft are just one of many players in the PC platform space.
If you want to really see whats starting up on your computer run AutoRuns from Microsoft (formally a sysinternals program; they are windows OS gods).
My Apple IIgs booted in a brisk 5 minutes.. maybe more.
It's been a blessing ever since I've learned to use msconfig. When I worked in college, we constantly had to tweak with student's computers when they got filled with Spyware and msconfig helped so much. It was practically the first thing we did since it probably needed to be done in any case and fixing someone's computer could potentially take several reboots.
Msconfig is so helpful that I even use it on my own machine after installing applications. For example, when I install Winamp or iTunes, I'll uncheck as much "run at startup" boxes as I can. Even after doing that, there will be one or two that will not be an option. So, after installation is complete, I'll go into msconfig and see if anything else can be turned off. Even though I know Winamp and iTunes isn't Spyware, I know it affects my boot time and if I don't use it frequently, I don't need it running.
Get a 4 gig ready boost speed usb drive and stick it in the back of the box. Your comp will come out of Vista's hybrid sleep and hibernate much faster.
I love the hibernate function, and I used to reboot maybe once a month or so. Unfortunately, I now have two operating systems on the same box, one for work and the other for personal use. Because I need to share files between tho OSes, I have a partition that is mounted on both. I can no longer hibernate because that would corrupt the file system on that partition. It's too bad because every time I switch OS, it takes minutes instead of seconds :(
Sorry to be pedantic, but you can't speed up boot time. You can speed up booting, or you can reduce the boot time, but what you can't do is speed up time. Not whilst sat in front of your PC anyway.
Unfortunately many of us Vista users cannot use hibernation/sleep due to a bug that appeared in Vista between the Beta version and the release.
"Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section."
Hotfix is available, but you must make a special request. Service Pack 1 should contain the fixes for the general public - whenever that will be!
I run AVGfree and it doesn't seem to slow the system down.
As for an OS I think the Mac OSX (and other unixes) are way more easy to understand and follow common computer science theories and technologies. I'm still amazed about the fact that Windows still uses drive letters, a technology copied from CP/M ano 1976.
As for the startup it's pretty easy to grab the Darwin source code and read up if one are interested and here is a description for those interested
I agree that "no boot time" is the best time.
A few years ago I heard that Microsoft was thinking of getting into that TV appliance market. Can you imagine "booting" your TV and taking a few minutes? How about your car, modern cars can have over 20 processors running and I can use my ignition key to get instant start and stop with no penalties. I can even turn it off and on several times in less than one minute and it still works great. There is no such thing as an improper shutdown where you are penalized on the next boot so the situation can be corrected. Has your TV or car ever given you a blue screen? I still get them with Windows XP!
After all these years since the Intel 8088 @ 4.77 MHz and DOS 2.1, we still have to wait a "tolerable" period of time in order to get to work. Has no one figured it out yet?
One thing that I wanted to ask about is the difference between the BIOS system in Windows and the EFI system for Apples. Does this make a big difference in boot times? It appears to based on the charts, but I don't know how to quantify that. Does anyone else know?
Heck, my 1986 Amiga booted (from cold power-on) to desktop in about 5 seconds. Most of the OS was in ROM...
Our systems boot in ~100ms give or take, but hey they're micros and they go to sleep all the time and wake up so that they conserve power.
In my experience in XP's fast booting:
1- Make sure your Windows' drive formatted NTFS which is a lot of faster and secure
2- Check MSCONFIG like the author
3- Download and install Start up Delayer ( Google it ). Why ? When you start windows, start-up program'll try to beat others to get faster start. With Startup Delayer, you can arrange which is starting first ( delay by time ). If you config suitable with your system, you'll get real faster booting up.
Sorry for my bad ESL
Try turning on your light. It would excellent if turning on your OS were almost (1-2 sec) as fast.
Vista users cannot use hibernation/sleep due to a bug that appeared in Vista between the Beta version and the release.
Look for the Windows Vista Beta Performance/Reliability Hotfixes, KB938194 and KB938979.
I boot 4-5 times a day, but it is not due to not knowing how to use
hibernate and sleep. It is due to OS instability. Memory usage creeps up
even when nothing is running, the machine begins behaving oddly, etc,
and a boot fixes it.
Grant on August 2, 2007 01:26 PM
Grant, seriously, what are you using? windows 95?
Vista, XP and even Win2k are MUCH more stable than this. I reboot my vista laptop a couple of times a month. It gets put to sleep when I pack it up to go home each night, and I often wake it up to do some stuff at home in the evenings too. I've only had a problem resuming from sleep ONCE.
My XP desktop machine at home is even more stable. It puts itself to sleep after a couple of hours of inactivity, so it usually ends up suspending/resuming a couple of times a day. It gets rebooted every couple of months or so, whenever I install updates.
If you're using Vista, check out Event Viewer, Applications and Services Logs Microsoft Windows Diagnostics-Performance for a record of how long it takes to startup, shutdown, suspend and resume. Vista will also identify services/drivers that cause these times to degrade.
"I run AVGfree and it doesn't seem to slow the system down."
It does slow down startup. Not only that, but it has the annoying tendancy to stop notification area (AKA systerm tray) icons from appearing while its loading. On the rare occasions that I reboot, I let my computer sit at the XP Welcome screen for 30 seconds or so before actually logging in, so that my notification area icons appear correctly.
Yes antivirus like McCaffe or Norton can significantly slow down the system. But renouncing to protection is not the solution.
Use NOD32 or Kaspersky, they are efficient and need little amount of RAM / CPU cycles
Concerning Firewall, I think Zone Alarm is a ressource hog
Since I'll allready have a hardware firewall, I use "Look n Stop" just for controlling inbound/outbound connection per applications (very light on ressources).
Hibernation work pretty well, on my nlited XP system. And most of the time I use it (I've configured the power button to use this by default).
Why did you choose to use PPC Macs as the benchmark? Look at this video on you tube comparing the iMac G5 with iSight to the (then brand spanking new) intel iMac.
The intel boots in under 40 seconds, while the in a minute and fourty. Now, granted, that particular iMac revision totally sucked for boot times. I'm not sure what Apple did to screw it up, but they did it pretty well.
The Macs I work with at work boot from the box (after initial set up) to usable in about 30 seconds. Those same macs with a minimal XP install take about 50 seconds to boot to a login window. (Without being added to the domain.)
When I say a minimal XP install, I mean drivers, and that's about it.
A developer machine is not the standard, that's abnormal. What is standard is laptops.
"Oddball" sleep/hibernate is what Macs do (well, any relatively recent ones anyway), and it's awesome. Next time I get a PC I'll try it's sleep mode again, but I have yet to get one working right (the closest is an IBM thinkpad, but it refuses to sleep about 25% of the time, and since there's no indication that it's asleep once it's closed up it tends to do a lot of traveling while not asleep and end up places with the "you battery is almost dead" warning up on the screen immediately before Windows shuts it down).
In any case, 2-5 seconds from hibernate is just plain unreal, to the point that I just don't believe you. From sleep, or "oddball" hibernate, yes, and IMHO not all that spectacular. From true, no-power-until-you-open-the-clamshell hibernate? Not likely.
IMHO, regarding boot times, the flaw here isn't just the crap that gets put in your "startup" folder; sometimes you want crap in there (well, not the Bonzai Buddy's and Dell Power Centers of the world, but the other crap that is sometimes actually useful). I like the idea of being able to hit the power button, walk away, and come back five minutes later to a machine ready to go in every aspect (ie, with my applications all loaded in memory). I also like the idea of being able to hit the power button, not wait for all those applications to load, and get to work with whatever I want to do right off the bat.
The solution for me is that the one thing in my startup folder is a little script that pops up a timed dialog along the lines of "Click 'Stop' if you don't want the standard apps to load up or 'Go' to load them immediately", so that when I'm sitting here waiting to be able to do something I just hit "Stop", and when I leave the laptop sitting there it times out and then loads everything, and in the occasion where I'm sitting here and still want everything to load I hit "Go" and it does.
There's got to be something like this already sitting around in Windows, right? I mean, there's not a really easy scripting solution to do this in yourself (although a DOS batch file could get you almost there), but surely someone at some point has decided that all the crapware doesn't need to be loaded at startup every time. Right?
I have to disagree that antivirus software is not needed today. While the target audience of this blog is not the "average" computer user, I would not give a system to an otherwise computer novice WITHOUT some sort of AV/Firewall. Firefox too if I can talk them into it.
The average user WILL notice the slowdown from spyware more then they will with a nice fresh system that has had AV on it from the start.
Vista by default switches the poweroff soft button in the OS to go into hibernate mode. You have to go change it in the control panel if you really want it to shut off. And on my new pc I just built, I click the mouse and 1 - 2 seconds later, it's at the logon screen.
The average user WILL notice the slowdown from spyware more then they will with a nice fresh system that has had AV on it from the start.
And that average user won't get spyware if they're *logged in as a standard user*, and not an Administrator (and not the faux Administrator-with-UAC in Vista, either).
it is more than the OS boot up! OK, so you are at you're clean desktop, now add all the load time it takes to get your browser w/all those tabs, your development client (Zend in my case), your IM client (trillian), your file explorer, your music player -- loaded. Now you're in business. you need a beefy computer to get that ALL up in less than a few minutes from cold boot. Sleep/Hibernate looks very friendly considering these applications; unfortunately for me, my PC does not hibernate or sleep very nicely. Usually my AMD quite/cool driver freaks out and keeps my fans at 100% til I reboot IF I use either of those nice *suspend-ish* features. So I either shutdown, or turn off my screens -- all depending on how long I'll be AFK. Good day!
Heck, my 1986 Amiga booted (from cold power-on) to desktop in about 5 seconds. Most of the OS was in ROM...
I never figured out why Microsoft or some crafty company hasn't come out with a ROM version... Granted, with all the patches to the OS, it makes things harder, but the Amiga did have patches you would run (in software) to fix the ROM...
My vista laptop (Thinkpad T60) boots to the login screen in about 20 secs. Unfortunately, there is some bug in Vista (yeah, a bug, Vista? no way) that causes me to wait over 90 secs on the "Welcome" screen while I watch the blue circle of boredom icon spin.
Vista "deep sleep" (S3 S4?) is a spectacular feature (the default if your computer supports it). Put the computer to sleep and wake up in 2 or 3 seconds. If you lose power, you're safe because it also functions like hibernate.
I've been using the deep sleep on my home PC for 5 months now, I've only rebooted it because Windows Update made me.
Must be nice to have one of the few PC's that wakes from hibernate quickly.
Through three different work PCs of varying ages and several home systems, I have never had one that woke up nearly instantly from long-term sleep and were ready to use.
My home PC comes closest at a few seconds (probably under 10,and faster than rebooting).
The worst were my old work PC's, which would take literally five minutes to restore from hibernate.
My current work system, a top of the line for a year ago Dell XPS laptop, still takes 30s to wake from sleep, with no indication to you of how its wakeup process is going (or if it's even trying to wake up).
All of these systems run no live protection antivirus or firewall (having been fairly locked down otherwise and are behind a router firewall) and run minimal startup services.
I wish hibernate worked, I really really do.
Let's be clear on terminology here.
Sleep -- system enters an ultra-low-power mode. The CPU is turned off, all drives and fans are turned off, and only enough power is used to keep the contents of memory safe. Typical power use is around 5 watts to sustain sleep mode. A power failure in sleep mode would cause you to lose the contents of memory and thus your state. Typically VERY fast, on the order of 5-10 seconds to sleep and wake.
Hibernate -- system memory is written to disk, then powers off. No power is used. A power failure in Hibernate mode is no big deal, because the contents of memory are safely stored on disk. It is slower, because there's a lot of disk writing when entering hibernation (~30 seconds), and a lot of disk reading before you can resume from hibernation (~20 seconds). This depends heavily on the amount of memory you have, how many apps were running, and the speed of your hard disk.
There's also an oddball 'hybrid' mode in Vista which uses both the hibernate strategy (write memory to disk), and the sleep strategy (enter ultra-low-power mode) so you are covered in all cases. However, I find that hibernate takes a LONG time to write 2 GB+ of memory state to disk, so I'm skeptical how fast this can really be if it includes the hibernate "write everything to disk" step.
The 'oddball' deep sleep in Vista is great. With either sleep or hibernate your screen goes black and sites there for a while before actually finishing entering the state anyway.
On a PC that works (hardware support, drivers that work, etc) it always works and your screen turns black and you walk away.
My PC at home takes about 25 or 30 seconds to use the oddball sleep (2GB RAM). I have no reason to sit and watch it since it's never failed once. That 25 or 30 seconds is time well wasted, especially since I never actually force it to sleep manually. I just have it set to sleep after an hour of lack of use. I come back to my computer after it's been asleep, move the mouse and it's back on (2-3 seconds).
Had it lost power (doubtful with a UPS, it'd likely last a day in sleep mode) I would have to wait for a boot but I wouldn't have ever had to worry about anything.
Also, and I truly have no idea how this happend, but I have a 4 year old tablet PC that boots up with Vista32 faster than it did with XP.
I turn it on and it takes about 35 seconds to get into the desktop.
1.3Ghz, 512MB RAM, 5400RPM 36GB disk
The machine stinks but boy does it boot faster than XP (which was easily 10-15 seconds slower). Though it doesn't support any form of sleep in Vista because something apparently isn't working ACPI-wise with Vista.
Boot time has only been an issue for me in a few cases.
1) Fixing a computer, often I need to boot many many times.
2) Building a new computer or reformatting one. Again booting and re-booting a lot to update and install software.
3) Fiddling with BIOS settings and trying to optimize my computers performance.
In these cases though, It is great to have another computer hooked up to a KVM so you can get some other work done while all the long boring installs and reboots are going on. Zzzz
In all other cases I hit the power switch when I get home from work, then go to the bathroom. It's at the log in screen as soon as I want to use it. Then before bed I power it off.
I don't ever use the sleep/hibernate modes in Vista. I had bad experiences with them in previous OSs and my bias towards them has carried over, I suppose.
I'll have to try it out soon.
Tweaking the BIOS to improve boot time is
usually out of the question.
No, it isn't. I recently cut down on the boot time considerably by turning off all the possible boot-devices (usb, floppy, cdrom, network, ...) except the harddisk. Now the BIOS time is minimized to few seconds, compared to about 20 seconds before. That was especially bad because it also adds to the time needed to resume from hibernation.
how do you know what the processes running are?
imeem may mean something to you but not to the average user
I'm not disagreeing with you (mostly), but I have yet to see an average computer where I sat down to use/fix it and it was set up as a standard user. I believe "too annoying" is the phrase used.
I should clarify that the "gamer" part of my comment was a reference to Jeff "El Cuchillo" Atwood's post a while back about gamecopyworld.com installing spyware through an ad.
I'm sure that even if we all had impeccable browsing habits and only visited Davide-approved sites, we still run a pretty high risk of drive-by downloads from compromised advertising.
Thank you for the info about MSCONFIG - very useful!
"It's generally safe to turn off almost everything in the MSCONFIG startup tab."
How about the services under the "Services" tab? Which of those can safely be disabled?
from my experience a "usable" desktop is not in my experience usable.. The system is still loading services and thrashing the hell out of the CPU/HDD at that point and at some unspecified point after you can click on the Start menu the system actually becomes really usable
Why do PC's *have* a boot time as several people have pointed out most embedded systems boot near instantly and so effectively have no boot time, and most servers are almost never rebooted (or powered off)
Hibernate/Sleep is just a kludge to get round the problem not a fix?
The way I have decreased my start up time, is to create a program that detects an internet connection then load. So I only load the internet applications MSN, Xfire etc, and since my connection is wireless, if I'm loading it not on the internet, speedy boot.
An upgrade from a Pentium 4 for a Quad Core Core 2 based machine must have been completely insane. I am looking to upgrade to a quad core core 2 from an Athlon X2 simply so I can get rid of my buggy Nforce 4 chipset http://www.cockos.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-8047.html
I notice pretty fast boot times, probably around ~30 seconds or less. I wish it were instant though.
As Dennis said, AutoRuns from the SysInternals crew is far more useful then MSCONFIG at determining what runs at startup. It lists things like explorer hooks and property page handlers that MSCONFIG misses.
J. Stoever said "If you reboot daily, something is wrong with you anyways. I haven't rebooted since may.."
Hmmm.. there must be something wrong with me then I guess because I shutdown my PC every day when I'm finished with it and boot it again in the morning. I don't just let it Sleep because IMO that is a complete waste of power. I could choose Hibernate I suppose, but that takes almost as long as a cold boot, so I prefer to start with a clean slate every morning.
And then there are the inexplicable delays: my laptop, maybe a week after a fresh install of XP w/ SP2, starts getting this weird hangup after logging in. No activity of any kind; no disk, no CPU; mouse still works; task bar still hides/shows. But nothing happens. After a minute or two (!), it pops up a message box saying something about how the system couldn't find "(null)". Dismiss, and boot settle-in continues as normal. I reinstalled a couple of times when the thing was new, but each time it eventually reverted to this infuriating behavior. Every now and again, I get a bee in my bonnet to figure out what the sam-hill's going on, but I never can peg it. Even disabling everything in MSCONFIG doesn't kill the mystery delay. I've just been putting up with it for almost three years now. Sheesh.
Quote: "Anti-virus software barely works these days anyway, so it's a raw deal no matter how you slice it."
This kind of comment is just extremism, unsubstantiated and quite frankly childish.
Hey my PC is a bit slow, I know, I'll delete the AV software and then see how long it takes for it to cease to function altogether.
There are often a few changes to BIOS setting that you can make to speed up boot times.
Logo - if your BIOS shows a huge manufacturer logo at startup (e.g. Dell) then switch it off. That way you'll see some informative text instead and the BIOS won't waste its time loading the bitmap.
Boot Floppy Seek - if you have a floppy drive (if so, why???) then definitely turn this off. If you don't have one then make sure you "Onboard FDD Controller" is set to disabled.
Boot Order - set your primary hard drive as your first boot device. That way if you leave a CD/DVD in the drive it won't waste time spinning it up. (Obviously you'll have to remember to set this back if you want to re-install the OS from DVD).
POST Tests - you can often change these for a bit of speed. Do you really need all of your memory tested at every boot? This is typically listed as "POST Tests", "Quick Power On Self Test" or "Quick Boot".
Being a Linux user this whole thread reminds me why I do not use windows.
Actually, when you look at the article, Linux is *BY FAR* the slowest to boot.
I think I restarted my PC somewhere before I went on holidays...2 months ago.
As for 'booting a TV' - it's too late. When I replaced my video recorder with a DVD recorder last year, I was not pleased to find that whereas the video recorder came out of standby instantly and was silent in operation, the DVD recorder takes about half a minute and has an audible fan. And it locks up sometimes. I wanted an appliance, but it's a lot closer to being a computer.
25 seconds is pretty fast, even my cellphone takes 30 seconds to boot (Linux OS).
But my PC with an absolutely clean install of XP booted in 23 seconds from pressing the power button to being ready to use. But unfortunately an absolutely clean Windows doesn't do much. I never measured Vista's loading time though.
Anyway, it is fast, I really don't regret buying an Epox motherboard.
Instead of running msconfig users in the know can remove the startup registry entries.
Tweak OS settings like disabling system restore, setting a fixed pagesize, increasing system caches, runnign various CPU tweaks, if you haev dual or quad core edit the boot.ini to make proper use of the cores since it's disabled in XP by default. Stop any services you know you do not need. For general running of the PC disable all the fancy gui fade in fade out animations etc. Disable error reporting perhaps. A nice proggy for tweaking can be useful. I like TweakXP from totalidea.
Get a good hardware firewall and scan the PC using online scanners like Housecall periodically.
My pc has been running for more than a year now and still has less than 25 processes running on a clean boot. FYI this work PC here, booted this morning now has 62 processes running. I mean WTF! :)
Also make sure you have paried ram etc but now we are not talking about OS tweaks anymore.
Returning from hibernate off a flash memory device, is significantly faster than any hd based boot.
Why not leave your PC on 24/7?
That's been my policy at home for the last 7 years or so, and it's what we do with our 800+ desktops at work.
Like A. Lloyd Flanagan and many others, I've had less-than-stellar results with hibernate/sleep solutions. I also vaguely remember reading something long ago (most likely obsolete by now) about booting your computer being akin to starting your car: There is more wear produced during the startup process than running x hours (don't remember the exact time).
Brent - The last three laptops I've had (since 2002) and the last desktop machine I built very rarely had problems with going to sleep or waking up
My laptop battery will run for a week when sleeping, and when I open the lid I have a useable OS again in less than 5 seconds. I couldn't even tell you the last time either of my machines were rebooted. Its at least a month.
Whenever I read posting like this I think back to an old Verity Stob article in Dr. Dobbs about the "State of Decay".
This takes a pc from Cruft Force 0 through 10.
Here is a little snippet:
Cruft Force 10. Expiry. Description: Machine only runs in Safe mode at 16-color 800600, and even then for about a minute and a half before BSODing. Attempts to start an app are rewarded with a dialog "No font list found."
Ordinary dodges, such as reformatting the hard disk(s) and starting again, are ineffective. Cruft has soaked into the very fabric of the machine, and it should be disposed of safely at a government-approved facility. There it will be encased in cruft-resistant glass and buried in a residential district.
My cell phone and new TV take too long to boot.
On my XP laptop the login prompt comes up quick enough, but it's a long time before the system is really responsive. I disabled everything in MS Config and now it's instant. What I wish for is a utility that could show what is taking a long time - widget X would be useful if it takes a second to start but not if it takes a minute; I don't want to have to go through and try every one.
I think it's insane to recommend that people disable or uninstall antivirus software. This is like the people who are obsessed with decreasing the amount of memory in use on their computers -- people, processors and memory are there to be used, and there's no disadvantage to using both for worthwhile processes and causes! I'll take the cycles that my antivirus software uses up anyday if it means that my computer is that much more protected in the case when vulnerabilities are discovered in Windows or Windows-platform software allowing malware and viruses to be introduced without a user's consent.
"And that average user won't get spyware if they're *logged in as a standard user*, and not an Administrator (and not the faux Administrator-with-UAC in Vista, either)."
Then why do I almost always get a couple of hits when I run Ad-Aware? I surf the net ONLY as a Standard User on Windows XP. I have an Admin account that gets logged into maybe 1 time a month.
Granted, I don't get AS MANY spyware, but I still do get tracking cookies and such almost every week.
There are a couple of other things too that might help speed up things a little bit:
- Disabling unneeded services (services.msc)
- Optimising prefetch (usually using bootvis, now unsupported by Microsoft, but still worked pretty well for me)
- I-FAAST in Diskeeper 10 allows you to specify files to put on the fastest parts of your HD, coupled with the tuned prefetch file this might speed things up abit.
"Why not leave your PC on 24/7?
That's been my policy at home for the last 7 years or so, and it's what we do with our 800+ desktops at work."
..I've had less-than-stellar results with hibernate/sleep solutions."
Well...... according to the Energy Star calculator: http://www.eu-energystar.org/en/en_008b.shtml
a PC workstation with a 19" LCD will consume 1,692 kWh/year, if it is on 24 hours a day.
So 800 desktops over 7 years means you have consumed 9,475,200kWh, producing around 919,000 kilos of CO2.
And that is before you look at other costs like other peripherals and all the additional air-con required to keep them cool.
If you only had them switched on for the 8 hours-a-day that they are in use for, then you would only have consumed a third of that.
"My methodology was consistent on all machines. I used a stopwatch, which I started as soon as the first BIOS text appeared on the display . If the system stopped at a logon dialog box, I paused the timing, entered the password or clicked the logon icon, and resumed timing as soon as I pressed Enter . After the desktop appeared, I immediately clicked the default browser icon (Internet Explorer 7 on all Windows machines, Firefox 220.127.116.11 on the one Linux machine) and stopped timing when the start page was fully loaded. I repeated this test for each system until I had three consecutive consistent results and then took the average of those results; I ran the test a minimum of 6 times per machine."
Not very fair for Linux...half of IE is loaded before he clicks the icon. He should have done the test using fiefox on all the machines.
"Then why do I almost always get a couple of hits when I run Ad-Aware?
..Granted, I don't get AS MANY spyware, but I still do get tracking cookies and such almost every week. "
Err.. because tracking cookies aren't actually spyware or adware?
The fact that AdAware etc even trap them at all has more to do with marketing and "state-of-fear" factor than it does with any actual threat posed to your PC.
If you don't like cookies then set your browser to refuse them.
Is there an equivalent to MSCONFIG on Win2K?
Well...... according to the Energy Star calculator:
a PC workstation with a 19" LCD will consume 1,692
kWh/year, if it is on 24 hours a day.
This is exactly why I turn mine off. I experimented four months straight the last apartment I was in. The first two months I kept all three power-hungry PCs on. The second two I turned them off when not using them (except my laptop).
The months I turned them off my electricity bill was $60 cheaper (these are all three beefy, power-hungry machines) which is $20 per PC per month just to operate! That's almost twice the energy star estimate (which is $130 per year at the rate I was paying electricity). And note that we were getting wholesale electricity prices ($0.08 / kWh).
What I learned:
* I rarely used my power-hungry PCs. My laptop is the primary PC I use for all normal use. I used my power-hungry PCs for gaming (one was my wife's computer) and other activities for maybe 7-10 hours a week.
* $20 per month for one PC isn't really that much. $60 per month gets to the point where I have to question why I'm doing it. Why am I spending this money for no good reason?
* If I can do something small environmentally (not waste electricity), why not do it?
In any case, 2-5 seconds from hibernate is just plain
unreal, to the point that I just don't believe you. From
sleep, or "oddball" hibernate, yes, and IMHO not all that
spectacular. From true, no-power-until-you-open-the-
clamshell hibernate? Not likely.
I glanced through the comments and not sure if this was directed at me or not (I didn't see anyone else mention times in waking up), but I never said it came back from hibernate quickly. I said coming up from being asleep was always 2-3 seconds. Just that you had hibernate to fall back on if you lose power.
And of course last night I wake up my PC and my on-board network device failed and my resume from sleep took almost a minute as Windows freaked out. Had to reboot to fix. Hopefully there'll be new drivers to resolve.
I turn my computer on when I get home from work and turn it off when I go to bed. One the weekends, it is on from when I wake up. I personally find my PC's boot time (from hitting the power on button to Vista Business login screen) to be reasonable.
To keep my computer running smoothly, I try to not install anything I don't need. I also run as a regular user account instead of running as an Administrator, which I hardly use need after setup is complete.
One thing I've found with OS X is that with older hardware, boot times have improved with major updates. i.e. from 10.2 to 10.3 etc. Minor updates sometimes have a small increase in boot times.
The mini with a 25+ second bootup time is the slowest, worst performing Intel mac available. Pretty impressive it is so close to your Developer machine. Wonder how the bootup for a Mac Pro with fast drives compares?
I think it is unfair to compare Mac boot time verus Windows.
Apple controls the PC software and hardware
While it explains the difference, it's not unfair. One of the arguments Mac users often make is there are advantages to having one company control the hardware and software that offsets the price difference. This is one of them. People can differ on whether the price difference is worth the advantages, but that why it's great to have choices.
The mini with a 25+ second bootup time is the slowest, worst performing Intel mac available. Pretty impressive it is so close to your Developer machine.
One of the arguments Mac users often make is there are advantages to having one company control the hardware and software
I agree with both of your comments. Mostly I wanted to combat the idea that "all PCs boot slowly". I would expect a faster mac to do better in boot time, too. Can anyone source boot times for a faster machine, maybe the desktop Mac Pro?
"A few years ago I heard that Microsoft was thinking of getting into that TV appliance market."
They did -- the xbox 360.
"...just stop doing so much stuff at startup!"
Call me lazy, but since I want (read as NEED) everything that is in my Startup folder, I'd just assume be lazy and let the system open all those things for me vs. me doing it myself.
Bios settings can be tweaked for faster boot times. Drive scans at bootup and memory tests can add a few seconds.
Your Boot.ini can be adjusted to allow an immediate boot into the OS as opposed to waiting far alternative menu choices that are never used.
Every feature/service added to your operating system incurs a performance penalty. File and print sharing, for example, loads in a Server service. Eliminating the unnecessary features goes a long was towards decreasing boot times.
Defragging your drive can make a huge difference too.
AV and spyware packages are just insurance policies to cover up bad browsing habits. You are not going to get a virus or spyware from visiting any reputable site. And as already mentioned you won’t get into any serious problems if your machine is not running as Administrator.
It’s when you decide to try to find a crack for some program you’ve been eyeing and you start to Google hacking and cracking sites that you start to run into problems, or the adult stuff of course.
You will never encounter a virus if you have a base OS install with Visual Studio and all you do is edit and compile programs, it’s just not possible. Your machine is safe from outsiders by installing a $50 Linksys router which forgoes the need for any software firewalls on your machine (thus speeding it up).
Once you install the OS and your Development tools you can Ghost the C: volume to a backup hard drive or writeable DVD and be able to restore everything to a known state in 10 minutes, just make sure to leave your data on another physical drive (D: for instance).
A few years ago I heard that Microsoft was thinking
of getting into that TV appliance market. Can you
imagine "booting" your TV and taking a few minutes?
A Tivo running Linux takes a few minutes to boot, but no one really cares because it is on all the time. It has a standby button but all that does is turn off the display output to appease people who want to turn things off.
So, a set-top box doesn't need to boot fast, as long as it's stable.
My problem with my Vista boot is after logging in. Boot to login prompt is very fast (around 14-15 seconds), but after login, I have to wait for antivirus, spyware, etc. to load before I can use the machine. Those processes hang my machine for a couple of minutes once they start to kick in.
"Is there an equivalent to MSCONFIG on Win2K?"
The months I turned them off my electricity bill was $60 cheaper (these are all three beefy, power-hungry machines) which is $20 per PC per month just to operate!
That's consistent with my measurements, here..
The Cost of Leaving Your PC On
Davide: Actually, computers are occasionally used by adults and gamers. Sometimes both at the same time.
The paradigm on all this stuff is the electrician wring up Bill Gates's house, who asked Bill "Why doesn't it just turn on, like alight bulb?"
Well, why doesn't it?
Why don't machines come with a gig or so of CMOS or flash, which the latest Windows du jour loads its necessary bits into? Turn it on, and it turns on.
Not rocket science. Sheesh.
Now if we assume half a billion machines booting twice a day at 90 seconds apiece, we're talking like 160 lost lifetimes per day. The money saved, assuming a world minimum wage of 25 cents an hour... Well, it might be enough to kill, lemme guess, all the malaria-carrying mosquitoes in West Binga-Bonga.
What's stopping you from installing a flash memory drive (or ramdisk card) yourself, then? And have you missed that hard drives are including a flash-based caching layer, called hybrid drives? It helps to do a minimum of research before you call out the industry for short-sightedness. Especially when someone already posted an I-RAM comment.
I perfectly agree. I've been using Vista Ultimate since RTM status on my laptop and it still runs in tip-top shape. My boot time is around 25 seconds and has remained so since then. I used to use NOD32 on my XP machine, but on Vista I didn't use any AV programs and disabled Windows Firewall, Defender, etc.
It really makes a huge difference in the performance of my laptop. I have enough good sense to know what I'm doing on the computer and I can instantly restore my computer to a previous backup image easily if anything does go wrong.
Have to disagree with your stance on Anti Virus software a bit. Most I would not run, but I do run and am happy with AntiVir, which isn't on the link you have. Norton and McAffee I wouldn't use.
When I let Comcast hook up my modem when I moved, it was done initially without my router in place. The cable guy said "we have lots of anti virus protection, no worries". Well, a very bad virus did get thru and if it wasn't for AntiVir I would have had bad troubles.
The right anti virus software will slow down one's system less than a lot of other unnecessarily loaded applets, and if it saves you once a year, in my opinion it's worth it.
Now if we assume half a billion machines booting twice a day at 90 seconds apiece, we're
talking like 160 lost lifetimes per day. The money saved, assuming a world minimum wage
of 25 cents an hour... Well, it might be enough to kill, lemme guess, all the malaria-
carrying mosquitoes in West Binga-Bonga.
Steve Jobs knew about that 1983...
I very vaguely remember that one Windows incarnation had a defrag that promised to organize data on the drive in the same order it was loaded, to speed up application start times. I know that option is not there anymore, does anyone know what ever happened to that ? It sounded like a good idea, being a programmer myself I know that data is rarely read in the actual order it's saved by default.
I haven't known what the boot times are on my machines since I first moved off of the Windows 9x OSs for Windows 2000. In 98 I had to reboot at least once a week (yeah, I had to tweak it pretty heavily to get it to stay up that long without eating itself), while 2000 was once a month. XP and Vista (unless I'm having trouble with something, like a driver or a really ugly piece of software) get reboots when Microsoft deems it a requirement for an update, or some other software developer thinks I need to reboot for their software (usually meaning they installed something in startup that makes it look like their software starts up faster when they're just slowing down the login to pre-load their software).
I very vaguely remember that one Windows incarnation had a defrag
that promised to organize data on the drive in the same order it was
loaded, to speed up application start times. I know that option is
not there anymore, does anyone know what ever happened to that
As far as I know it's still there, just not really as easy to disable. However, what it does is simply move often-accessed data to portions of the drive that should, logically, be faster to access based on their physical location on the drive, or at least to the beginning of the partition. In theory, this should work fairly well, but not all of us are THAT consistent in our computer use.
The guys at Microsoft have done a lot of impressive work when it comes to improving Hibernate (In terms of what is actually stored. It's much more about what you have running over how much memory you have than in XP), and the hybrid sleep is great.
This article, along with the mention of the Amiga, reminded me of the story Jef Raskin tells in his book. When they were working on the Cannon Cat (or possible what was before it) the boot times were minimal - a few seconds. However, they found that people didn't start working in these few seconds so they simply saved a screenshot of the state before it was turned off, and showed that when it was switched on. When it had booted fully the actual screen was then drawn. The result is that most people thought it turned on immediately, when in reality it did still take a few seconds to be functional.