Engineering Windows 7 for Faster Boot Performance


What can be done to help Windows 7 boot faster? According to Windows Fundamentals feature team leader Michael Fortin, blogging on the e7 (Engineering Windows 7) blog. a clean install isn't necessarily the way to go:

As the system [running Windows Vista SP1] arrived to us, the off-the-shelf configuration had a ~45 second boot time. Performing a clean install of Vista SP1 on the same system produced a consistent ~23 second boot time. Of course, being a clean install, there were many fewer processes, services and a slightly different set of drivers (mostly the versions were different). However, we were able to take the off-the-shelf configuration and optimize it to produce a consistent boot time of ~21 seconds, ~2 seconds faster than the clean install because some driver/BIOS changes could be made in the optimized configuration.

Fortin identifies a number of design goals for Windows 7 to help it achieve a high percentage of "very good" boot times (under 15 seconds), including:

  • Reducing the number of system services
  • Reducing the demand that system services make on CPU, disk, and memory resources
  • Device and driver optimization
  • Improving parallelism of driver initialization (enabling multiple drivers to be installed at the same time)
  • Faster prefeching optimized for both traditional and SSD hard disks

Fortin's comments suggest that Microsoft is working very closely with system vendors to help assure that Windows 7 works well in typical preconfigured systems. Hopefully, Microsoft has learned a lot from the vast difference in performance between clean installs of Windows Vista and systems cluttered with OEM products not optimized for Vista.

Don't want to wait for Windows 7 to get faster boot times? Fortin also discusses analyzing systems with the Windows Performance Toolkit for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, available here .

How do you define fast boot time? When is a system "ready to go?" Hit the comment button and give us your thoughts.

Illustration adapted from Windows 7 logo courtesy of ArsTechnica .

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