Today, I’m going to rant about starting Windows 8. Boot times have always been a sticking point for Windows and I have had machines which I would power on and then go make a cup of tea. By the time that the tea had cooled enough to be drinkable – at least the way I like tea – the PC would be ready to use. My experience with Windows 7 has been pretty good though it still takes a bit of time for the desktop to be use-able.

There is a video – from Microsoft, apparently – making the rounds which show Windows 8 booting in around 7 seconds:

It should be noted that the lady in the video is using an ultra-book – an HP EliteBook  8640P to be precise – for this demonstration. What is not known is if there are any apps/software installed on the ultra-book.

That last bit is important as the amount of software you have installed on your PC directly affects your boot time. For example, my # 1 machine takes a lot longer than my # 2 machine because I have so much software installed and there are so many things – toolbars, etc. – that are set to start up before the desktop is what I would consider to be use-able. The # 2 machine is much faster because I use it for testing & thus there is very little on it to be loaded at start-up. Nonetheless, it does take a little while to be fully operational.

Your PC’s boot time depends on what you had on it as much as what you have on it. We all install extra stuff on our PC’s; games, utilities, trial software, etc. A lot of that stuff is subsequently uninstalled because we got tired of the game, the trial period expired or the software just didn’t work for us the way that we had hoped it would. A lot of software comes with its own un-installer application. If it doesn’t there’s always the default uninstall panel in the Windows Control Panel. The trouble is that these uninstallers don’t always remove everything they should and you wind up loading dll’s, etc. belonging to software that is long gone from your PC. That’s why I bang on every so often about using a heavy-duty uninstaller like Revo or Your Uninstaller.

So now we have two unknowns about the machine in the demo:

  1. What extra software is installed on this machine?
  2. What extra software was installed on this machine?

Those two questions raise third question:

3.  Did they wipe the hard drive and use a fresh install of Windows 8 for this demo?

My money is on Door # 3.

To compare start times, I ran a couple of simple tests on my two main machines. Over the weekend, I installed Oracle’s VM VirtualBox on my # 2 machine (There’s no place like home!) and Windows 8 as one of the virtual machines under it. So, I’m running Parallels WorkStation & Windows 8 on # 1 and Oracle Virtual box & Windows 8 on the # 2 machine. For the record, these two machines are not identical. The # 1 box has a 3 Ghz quad processor with 8 Gig of RAM on board while # 2  has a 2.7 Ghz dual processor with 6 Gig on RAM on board. (Remember when we thought 66 Mhz was fast?) The # 1 PC has a heck of a lot more software on it than # 2 and there’s a lot more going on in the background as well.

Keep in mind that I’m testing via virtual machines, not a single OS on a single PC. Furthermore, I have installed little –  if anything – on each instance of Windows 8. I started my stopwatch the moment I clicked the “start” button on each virtual machine. My tests showed an average start time of:

  1. 40 sec. on PC # 1
  2. 38 sec. on PC # 2

Again, these tests are using a virtual machine on a PC with other stuff running in the background so we’re sort of comparing apples to oranges here. Nonetheless, I consider a 38 sec. boot time to be pretty good.

On the next installment, I’ll rant about ways to get around the @#$%! Metro interface.

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