Why Windows 8 Boots Up Faster

The Windows 8 team has updated the way that Windows handles reboots, and I’ll tell you, this latest version reboots your system. It’s much faster, too.

Update: Microsoft no longer is offering mainstream support for Windows 8. Here is what the company says:

Windows 8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and will reach end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 had until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 to remain supported.

At the end of the day, do you shut down your computer or use some variation of Hibernate and Sleep Mode? In making this decision what usually comes to mind is what will happen the next time you get on the computer. While sleep is incredibly fast, it drains a small amount of power. Hibernate, while similar to sleep, is seldom used because of the amount of time it takes to start. And since its inception, Windows has always had long boot times when coming back from a shutdown, but with version 8 Microsoft is changing that entirely.

For more information on Sleep Vs. Hibernate, read here.

Although we’ve mostly talked about many of the improvements Windows 8 delivers in terms of interface options, there is also plenty going on under the hood. The Windows 8 team has updated the way that Windows handles reboots, and I’ll tell you, this latest version reboots your system “quicker than one of the burritos with extra guacamole sauce.”

How it Works

For those worried about plug n play functionality that is gained during a system reboot, Windows 8 new reboot incorporates it.  Instead of proceeding with a cold shutdown, Windows 8 uses the system hibernation file to save the system state, but it also adds the process of driver initialization into the mix.  This means that all of the processes it takes to run Windows don’t have to completely restart every time you reboot.   But, this new default Windows 8 reboot does lack some of the plug n play potential of a cold reboot; such as if you install a new video card while the computer is powered off.

Windows 8 boot chart infograph

Now at this point, you are probably thinking: “If Windows has to write its current session to a hibernation file, doesn’t that just trade-off shutdown time for boot speed?”  In previous versions of Windows that would be the case, but Windows 8 uses the only session 0 hibernation data. Where a normal hibernation saves all existing data from every single application that is open, session 0 hibernation only writes the Windows session kernel to disk.  The result is a very small hibernation block on the disk that can be quickly read by the system during boot-up.  As seen in the Microsoft supplied graphic below, Windows 8 boot times are faster across the board. Unfortunately, they didn’t mention which PCs used 8 boot time chart

Faster Hibernation Wake Times

In conjunction with incorporating hibernation into the reboot process, it would only make sense to upgrade the way that Windows post-boot handles hibernation itself.  According to Microsoft, they have:

…added a new multi-phase resume capability, which is able to use all of the cores in a multi-core system in parallel, to split the work of reading from the hiberfile and decompressing the contents. For those of you who prefer hibernating, this also results in faster resumes from hibernate as well.

New CMD command switch!

The Windows dev team understands that at times users may need to perform a full shutdown that restarts the system with a cold boot.  For this need, they have added a new switch to the shutdown command that can be performed in a CMD window: shutdown /s /full
For example – To do an instant full shutdown you would type: shutdown /s /full / t

Microsoft’s Video Demonstration

The Windows 8 Kernel Platform Group put together a small video that shows how fast a Windows 8 reboot can be when using a Laptop equipped with a SSD.  Check it out!

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