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PC Makers Try To Pinch Seconds From Their Boot Times

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the an-operating-system-called-linux dept.

Power 399

Some computers are never turned off, or at least rarely see any state less active than "standby," but others (for power savings or other reasons) need rebooting — daily, or even more often. The New York Times is running a short article which says that it's not just a few makers like Asus who are trying to take away some of the pain of waiting for computers, especially laptops, to boot up. While it's always been a minor annoyance to wait while a computer slowly grinds itself to readiness, "the agitation seems more intense than in the pre-Internet days," and manufacturers are actively trying to cut that wait down to a more bearable length. How bearable? A "very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds," according to a Microsoft blog cited, and an HP source names an 18-month goal of 20-30 seconds.

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So... (3, Insightful)

MaverickMila (1208852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515423)

I cut down on my startup time by buying a new harddrive that didn't come without all the preloaded drivers and crap and reinstalling the OS. My dell now loads in approximately 45 seconds. Which admittedly is a little more than the "optimal" 20 second time, but it much better than the 3 minutes I had to wait before.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515471)

Boot time is a pain that we have had since the first IBM PC was released. And it's not only boot time but also shut down time that can be painful.

And for networked PC:s with a roaming profile you will get raped in boot time whenever you have a large profile for some reason.

Some of the time that it takes originates from the "need" to count memory and some for waiting on a bunch of devices to initialize and start. No parallel tasks during startup at all.

Only computer with a decent startup (under a second) that I have experienced was a computer with a ROM Basic interpreter, but then, that's a completely different animal.

Re:So... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515681)

Only computer with a decent startup (under a second) that I have experienced was a computer with a ROM Basic interpreter, but then, that's a completely different animal.

If it took long enough for you to notice then something must have been wrong.

It's the time it takes for a human to notice (5, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516143)

"If it took long enough for you to notice then something must have been wrong"

Actually that is one of the reasons why things are still slow in general - because though CPUs and hardware get faster and faster, we're still living in a human world. So the "human notice" times remain important.

Lots of programmers have their programs wait for one second if they have to wait a minimum time for hardware or for other reasons, after all most seem to think "it's only one second".

A few 1 seconds here and it all adds up.

Silly? Maybe in many cases, BUT often you really do have to wait in seconds because it says "press ctrl-A for SCSI controller config" and so if the computer does not wait _seconds_ for the human and only waits _milliseconds_, the human is also going to be pissed off.

For a similar reason a windows PC can't boot faster than the X seconds for you to press F8 to enter "Safe Mode". Well it can, but it'll have to be "hold F8 down while booting", and that means some changes in the keyboard hardware and config stuff, some user education etc etc.

Also often the threshold for determining that something has gone wrong is more _human_ related. Say a hard drive has gone slightly flaky and takes a bit longer to spin up for whatever reason.

How long will a human wait for a harddrive to spin up? Pretty long in many cases. Even if it takes 30 seconds, they might still wait.

The BIOS could just assume it's dead, after all it's not behaving like a _normal_ hard drive. But the specs for _failure_ are often human related - they are determined by how long it is expected that a human will wait.

It's just like network connectivity timeouts are in the order of tens of seconds. Instead of say minutes. A tree might be willing to wait minutes or even days, but most humans don't want to wait minutes.

They're not in the order of milliseconds because the speed of light is too slow (light takes more than a few milliseconds to cross the world) and people are willing to wait seconds.

Re:So... (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515761)

Boot time is a pain that we have had since the first IBM PC was released. And it's not only boot time but also shut down time that can be painful.

I don't mind boot time so much - what really gets on my nerves is when a machine comes on, pretends it's ready but is then maybe five minutes doing other stuff before you can actually use it while you stare at the screen and frustratedly try to click on things. That's especially bad in the roaming profile scenario you mentioned.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516149)

I don't mind boot time so much - what really gets on my nerves is when a machine comes on, pretends it's ready but is then maybe five minutes doing other stuff before you can actually use it while you stare at the screen and frustratedly try to click on things. That's especially bad in the roaming profile scenario you mentioned.

That's perhaps the worst part, as most people that have no idea of how a computer works will start clicking on progran after program, thus starting yet another parallel process that adds up to the rest. And parallel processes take more than the same ones in series because of memory/disk seek times and the need to share a common pipeline.
I always try to encourage people not to "start" after the screen appears, but after "the red light goes from always on to scarcely blinking". Of course most people ignore the advice and press things frantically till they end up CTRL-ALT-DELing and thinking it did the trick.

Re:So... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515771)

My Asus EEEPC with EEE Ubuntu boots in almost no time. I've never used a stop watch, so I don't have any number to spout out, but I've never had a Windows or Mac OS machine boot that quick.

I don't understand. (5, Insightful)

cephalien (529516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515429)

Why this is still an issue in this day and age.

For example, my Mac will go from startup to login in half the time of either Vista -or- Ubuntu (not counting what happens -after- login, but as far as applications go, they're fairly straightforward), but my TV will start in a second or two. So did my old Commodore 64.

How is it that the more power we get, the -longer- this takes? And why is it that the solution always involves hardware makers? Maybe we need to look at how our operating systems are constructed instead of blaming the hardware itself.

Re:I don't understand. (0, Flamebait)

erikina (1112587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515483)

How is it that the more power we get, the -longer- this takes? And why is it that the solution always involves hardware makers?

IMO the state of software is decades behind hardware. Like seriously, the only real developments are from hardware. And I don't see this changing anytime soon, with programmers too pussy to suck it up and use the right tools for the job, even if it doesn't hold your hand (and clean up your garbage)

Excuse the rant, I've just "upgraded" to gnome 2.24, where 6 months of development has ment replacing working C with slow-ass buggy python crap.

Re:I don't understand. (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515557)

IMO the state of software is decades behind hardware. Like seriously, the only real developments are from hardware. And I don't see this changing anytime soon, with programmers too pussy to suck it up and use the right tools for the job, even if it doesn't hold your hand (and clean up your garbage)

What do you have in mind?

I have in mind my Apple G4 Powerbook (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515605)

Close it when I'm done, it just goes to sleep. Open it when I need a quick weather map, it takes but 2 seconds to connect and fetch the map, then just close it. And it always works just like that.

Let's see Vista do that! PS Windoze really does blow chunks.

Re:I have in mind my Apple G4 Powerbook (4, Informative)

riscthis (597073) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516027)

Close it when I'm done, it just goes to sleep. Open it when I need a quick weather map, it takes but 2 seconds to connect and fetch the map, then just close it. And it always works just like that.

Let's see Vista do that! [...]

Not that I usually go out of my way to defend Vista, but the Dell Vostro 1500 running Vista SP1 that I'm typing this on does exactly what you describe.

Apart from security updates - which occur usually once a month - it never gets rebooted (and reboots do take longer than I'd prefer, but have never timed it), and I always just use Vista sleep in-between sessions. It's pretty much ready as soon as I finish opening the lid, and I'm happy with that as an instant-on.

Re:I don't understand. (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515881)

Obviously, we must stop using using pansy C/C++/Java/Ruby/etc... languages and go back to writing everything in assembler. Then boot times will rock!

Duh.

Re:I don't understand. (3, Interesting)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516123)

Obviously, we must stop using using pansy C/C++/Java/Ruby/etc... languages and go back to writing everything in assembler. Then boot times will rock!

Duh.

Maybe you intended for a funny, but i'd rather give insightful if I had points. I can't forget the wonderful playing experience with ELITE [wikipedia.org] on Commodore 64... and those days it was all machine code!

Nowadays the philosophy is that you can afford to be a sloppy programmer and use absurd languages (VirtualBasic?) just because Moore's law will eventually compensate... given a year or two.

Re:I don't understand. (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515653)

Well, I put together a new workstation for CAD work at work. The mobo is an Intel S5000XVN.

It requires 30-40 seconds of "quiet time" every time it's powered on. Those are Intel's words, and that's before the hard drives get started.

The board is one of the few that supports more than 8G RAM and has a PCI-e x16 slot.

Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515745)

Excuse the rant, I've just "upgraded" to gnome 2.24, where 6 months of development has ment replacing working C with slow-ass buggy python crap.

Exactly what C code was replaced with Python? In fact, it's the other way around that's proven to be the most troublesome; Python programs are too slow, thusly everyone's rewriting them as C programs, which of course are more buggy (mostly because 6 months is a very quick cycle and applications written in C, even by experts, can take a while to stablize).

Software is behind hardware. But as we add more capabilities in hardware, we ask the software to do more. If people cared about boot time in the general, it would be fast, in the general. As we've already seen, you can make Linux boot extremely fast with just a tiny bit of work. Only, people don't want it to boot extremely fast. People want it to just work, which means they don't want to wait for a bluetooth daemon to start up when they turn on their bluetooth mouse. They don't want to wait for CUPS to start when they hit print. They don't want to wait for NetworkManager to come up after they've started Firefox for their morning news fix.

We optimized our software for the catch-all case, and it turns out, that's incredibly bad for boot times (and it's not great for battery life either). Until people push the demands for faster booting mainstream, hacks like the five-second boot will remain as just that: hacks.

Re:I don't understand. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515529)

On a K6-II 350, BeOS would go from POST to booted and ready to rock in under 5 seconds. Faster boot times are possible but doing so may require some big changes to how everything works.

Re:I don't understand. (5, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515769)

BEos and it's original hardware was the last, best hope for a solid, no B.S. modern computer that was re-designed from scratch for maximum performance with pre-emtpive multitasking.

I see it as a chicken and egg problem. The barrier to entry in the OS market is extremely tough because software manufacturers won't invest the time in porting their apps unless the hardware or OS is established, and that can't happen without the software. The OS market is well beyond it's infancy now, not that it's a good thing.

The way I see it, it would have to get much, much worse than it is now for companies like Adobe to say "hey, lets throw our weight behind this new OS/Platform." For example, if MS completely bungled Windows 7, or whatever they are calling it these days. Two failed OS's in a row, and maybe it will finally make a dent in their market share. And I don't much like apple because their hardware prices remain artifically high, due to them being the sole provider for both OS and hardware. It doesn't help that MS also makes the world standard of office suites. They will always push their own OS with it first.

The competitiveness of the PC hardware market is excellent, and many previously frustrating compatiblity issues have gone away with the advent of newer motherboards and slot standards, narrowing the hardware quality control and consistency between PC hardware and Mac hardware.

PC hardware with a new OS would be great. Apple understandibly wants to control the hardware that Mac OSX runs on, because it's much easier to assure qualtiy and provide support that way. But that support comes at a cost. What we need is an OS that runs on generic hardware that is written from scratch for lean performance, by neither of those two vendors.

Linux can boot in 5 secounds (3, Interesting)

jopsen (885607) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515965)

I'm going to have to link to an article I read a few days ago: http://lwn.net/Articles/299483/ [lwn.net]
In short it's about some Intel hackers makes Fedora boot in 5 secounds on an EEE PC, not exactly the best hardware.

Re:I don't understand. (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515589)

...but my TV will start in a second or two

Yeah, but look what's happening with modern TVs. Many new TVs take a second or two to change channels, and it seems to be getting worse. I don't know what it is about them, because my decade-old TV changes almost instantly.

Advance in some ways, regress in others (even if they are less important).

Re:I don't understand. (3, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515791)

Probably the most annoying side effect of digital tuners. It has to find the stream and begin to decode it. Your old TV changed channels instantly because it was an analog tuner with pre-set frequency decoding for each channel position. The TV did no thinking, it simply is looking at a different frequency on the receiver and de-modulating it into the CRT, and all of that happens at the speed of light.

Newer tuners are all digital, and while you generally get better picture quality even on analog channels, it has to capture the analog or digital transmission, decode it / encode it and then pass it on to the LCD display. Typically there's some 'start time' involved in this. I expect that particular feature will be a selling point to differentiate TVs in the future, once they've run out of other things and the tuner hardware becomes more powerful.

Re:I don't understand. (1)

pchan- (118053) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515599)

For example, my Mac will go from startup to login in half the time of either Vista -or- Ubuntu (not counting what happens -after- login, but as far as applications go, they're fairly straightforward), but my TV will start in a second or two. So did my old Commodore 64.

Your TV starts in a second because its boot sequence is generally about as long as it takes to copy the firmware into RAM. Its hardware is fixed, the software doesn't have to go around poking for it, and its entire firmware is probably under a megabyte of code loaded directly from NOR flash.

Your Commodore 64 ran from hard-wired ROM. Its OS (all 10 or so kilobytes of it) is burned into the chips soldered on the motherboard. It is running directly from ROM, it has no real boot sequence. Try loading GEOS on it and see how long it takes you to boot up.

Re:I don't understand. (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515675)

Your TV starts in a second because its boot sequence is generally about as long as it takes to copy the firmware into RAM. Its hardware is fixed, the software doesn't have to go around poking for it, and its entire firmware is probably under a megabyte of code loaded directly from NOR flash.

Oh well, my computer is equipped with a hard drive that can probably copy around 128MB of "firmware" (kernel and working sets of running processes saved from last boot) within a second. Its hardware is fixed and I am willing to press some key if I upgrade it and need the OS to poke around for changes at boot. So where is the justification for degraded performance aside from programmers' laziness? Fast boot requires some clever thinking, but not more so than writing text to CGA with maximum possible speed but without now.

Re:I don't understand. (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515961)

You raise an excellent point for a cat...

An intelligent BIOS should store your current "system profile" in flash or similar. When booting, it just reads this and takes it as gospel unless the user specifies otherwise (hardware changes are rare enough in most systems). That'd knock a couple of seconds off at least.
For the next step, there should be further flash designated as belonging to the OS on the system - for a start, most systems could just put their boot loaders here, but as operating systems evolve in the future, they could use it for all kinds of clever tricks to aid in booting more quickly.

Storing "current state" of a "fresh boot" on the HDD as you suggest is also of course a good way to drastically improve boot times, but you do need to be a little more careful with that, as quite a lot can change there (unlike hardware), such as newly installed programs that should be executed on startup and so on. Definitely not impossible of course, as it would only require that any time a new piece of software is installed that inserts itself in to startup, it adds a flag to start up "normally" once, and then re-write the "current state". It'd make boots a LITTLE longer than current any time you install new things that insert themselves in to startup, but MUCH faster any time you don't.

Also, this could probably be hacked on to existing OSs with a minimal of effort - it would preferably be added more elegantly for future systems, but for current things, a hack would suffice.

Re:I don't understand. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516155)

I suspect some IBM desktops did stuff like that - assumed the previous hardware config unless someone or something "yelled" at it.

I could be wrong though - just vaguely remembering something like that.

Re:I don't understand. (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515891)

You know, I think a really big part of that is the fact that the Mac knows, pretty much, what hardware it's going to be driving.  PC's/Linux have to work with a much vaster array of hardware, so it has no choice but to use like, intelligence and stuff, which takes time.

Re:I don't understand. (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515941)

``How is it that the more power we get, the -longer- this takes? And why is it that the solution always involves hardware makers? Maybe we need to look at how our operating systems are constructed instead of blaming the hardware itself.''

The time it takes to start up a computer is mostly determined by the firmware. Once the software has control of the system, you can boot an OS very quickly (Linux in a few seconds). But before the software gets to run, the firmware has control of the system. I've seen computers where the firmware would perform initialization and self tests for several minutes. If you were to replace the firmware with something else (e.g. coreboot [coreboot.org] ), you could go from power up to ready to use in a few seconds. But it's usually the hardware makers who decide what firmware to ship. And that's why it's up to them to improve things.

Re:I don't understand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515967)

solutions:
1- http://www.coreboot.org/Welcome_to_coreboot
2- http://www.openfirmware.info/Welcome_to_OpenBIOS

Re:I don't understand. (2, Insightful)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516079)

my TV will start in a second or two. So did my old Commodore 64. How is it that the more power we get, the -longer- this takes?

It's because we make our systems do more stuff. How much did those system do when they were started up?

Did they mount a couple of file systems, start cron+http+aptcache+distcc+cpufreqd+ntp daemons and wait for DHCP_ACK, then mount some more file systems and load up a highly configurable login screen?

I think it'd be easy to boot into a one-button gui saying "bring the system into a usable state now, please". XP does something like this.

Especially the TV comparison is unfair; the TV is a one-purpose box with the functionality done mostly in hardware. I'm sure one could write a minimalistic kernel that supports exactly one TV tuner card, exactly one graphics card and exactly one sound card, and have it boot into watch-TV-mode quite fast. That'd be closer to an apples-to-apples comparison [but not enough: the TV doesn't have a BIOS that supports general-purpose computing and does a lot of checks].

For example, my Mac will go from startup to login in half the time of either Vista -or- Ubuntu (not counting what happens -after- login [...])

Why do you omit counting what happens after login? Isn't the useful measure of boot time how long it takes from pressing the power button to having a computer that's usable?

By only measuring up to an arbitrary point, one can inflate boot speeds by deferring everything until after that arbitrary point. That doesn't give you a usable computer any sooner, it just cooks your numbers. See my one-button OS.

From what I hear, what OS X does right is deferring everything until after the login screen, plus lazily starting up services once you're logged in, such that the desktop is usable while the system is "post-login booting", and prioritizing well: if you ask for a networked file system, it'll do networking before, say, the frequency scaling daemon.

It's not just giving you a login screen. It's giving you a usable desktop with as short a wait as possible.

Re:I don't understand. (2, Insightful)

asbestosyvonne (1394185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516165)

Sure, your Commodore 64 itself started in a second or two; but who else remembers waiting 10-15 minutes for 'Shinobi' to load?...No one?...guess it must just be me.

Suuuuure.... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515437)

Even Microsoft, whose bloated Windows software is often blamed for sluggish start times, has pledged to do its part in the next version of the operating system, saying on a company blog that "a very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds."

I'll believe it when I see it.

There's nothing MS, Asus or anyone else can do to stop individuals (or computer mfgs) from loading up their computers with hard-drive-thrashing amounts of startup software.

Vista is particularly to blame with their nifty transparent desktop widgets that stretch the time it takes computers to go from off to useable.

Suuuuure....Silent Majority. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515561)

"Vista is particularly to blame with their nifty transparent desktop widgets that stretch the time it takes computers to go from off to useable."

And how many users are to blame for not turning Aero off?

Re:Suuuuure....Silent Majority. (2, Insightful)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515665)

Considering how many users don't know that's even an option, probably most. Most of the non-technical people I know approach computers as if they were an appliance. Which means they think that most of the look of the product, if not all of it, cannot be changed. It wouldn't even occur to them that they could change it.

Flash drives... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515453)

... when they are ready will do a lot to alleviate the boot wait times. Although I'm sure a lot of wait time has to do with the programming of the bios/hardware initialization, not to mention programs optimized for the latency of hard drives. I noticed in previous versions of windows (and I'm certain even xp/vista still) when certain drivers load they can cause delays.

I've always wondered with the cheapness of ram, how hard/costly could it be after the first boot, and then simply have insta-boot thereafter. So it boots right out of the ram using standby + /w battery backup on the ram. You can get 2 gigs for less then $50, how much would be 256/512MBit chip soldered onto mass produced mobo be I wonder?

Re:Flash drives... (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515721)

It's called an SSD (solid state disk) [wikipedia.org] and sleep mode. Why even reboot? Unless there's a hardware addition that requires a power down, there's no reason to "reboot". Booting, by it's very nature, is simply the initialization of all the hardware in the system. In VISTA, even, most of this is done upon driver loading and in userland. If you have a ton of kernal initialization, it's going to be slow. And linux comes with a LOT of stuff in the kernel. You need to recompile your kernel with only the hardware support you need, and then push as much to userland as possible. Then you're down to BIOS (which is basically just a memory test these days, with USB keys and userland disk drivers) (and stupid power management), and your bootloader and the time it takes to read your kernel binary(s) from disk (usually a few MB, so not long). It's pretty easy to get any mainsteam linux distro to a single user prompt in a few seconds. X, and your window manager, and all the shared libraries they need to operate is going to take a while. But on an SSD you can have that basically as a disk-stored RAM image, and it takes a few miliseconds to transfer that into RAM for use. With some intelligence you could whittle that down to the bare necessities for widgets and stuff and get that up very quickly also.

Microsoft is talking about scanning hardware, setting up a HAL and stuff, and all the other crap it does to just kindof work when you turn it on. Their shared libraries have never been that fast or optimized. Because THEY compile the binaries, they have to do it in such a way that either is very unoptimized or has some sort of runtime check to determine which binary to load based on the hardware. That can take a long time, with the millions of hardware configurations out there. What Linux COULD do is make a way to compile at install time everything. Gentoo kindof does this, but you'd need it to automatically optimize out everything you don't have. Microsoft should do the same, but it would require including the source ;)

Don't see the issue (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515461)

> "...makers like Asus who are trying to take some of the pain of waiting computers, especially laptops, to boot up.

Take my iBook, for example. I just sleep it, and when I open the lid and hit a key, it wakes up. It can go days before it needs to be recharged. I put it to sleep and bag-stash it before going thru airport security, and if they want to see it work, I just wake it up...bam...done.

I think more work should be done towards improving sleep-state longevity and run-time rather than towards rapid booting, but hey, that's just me :)

Re:Don't see the issue (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515497)

You might find this video interesting:
http://www.jkontherun.com/2008/09/mac-os-x-on-msi.html

It's showing a Hackintosh MSI Wind... literally instant sleep/wake. Quite impressive.

Boot to browser time (1)

theblondebrunette (1315661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515495)

I'd like to see boot-to-usable-browser time to be improved. This includes avoiding disk trashing/excessive seeking during startup due to launching all kinds of services / programs that are not necessary right now.
It would be nice to be able to:
- allow choosing what applications/service can started up once the computer is idle / less busy
- automatically sense which parts of the hard drive are accessed on startup (before / after loging), have them placed in contiguous regions on the hard drive and read them in memory in the quickest way possible.

I know, flash-based memory doesn't have problems with seek times like hard drives, but still memory caching would be useful.

It reminds me of the old 8086/80286 days with DOS without smartdisk on(disk caching).. Now we need the next step - don't trash the disk during startup. Why do we have 3GB+ memory when we under utilize it during startup?

Re:Boot to browser time (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515619)

Vista does have an option for services to have a delayed start, which is kind of useful but not quite what we'd want. It would be nice if the OS could load things in stages and load just enough for the desktop to show and web browsers to run, and then background load the rest, since these days web browsers are used more than anything else.

Startup Programs (5, Insightful)

mockidol (1031242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515505)

There needs to be an industry wide effort to prevent startup bloatware. Why does windows let AIM install itself as a startup program without having the damn UAC complain that this is a protected area? Why does every HP come with 30 preinstalled programs in the startup? Startup items need to be protected in some way: Seriously, I love it if I installed a program and windows said, "Are you sure you want this program to start automatically with windows?" We should just kill the hardware comapnies for the bloatware they install for kickbacks.

Re:Startup Programs (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515607)

Why does windows let AIM install itself as a startup program without having the damn UAC complain that this is a protected area?

Presumably because it's not a protected area, any more than your .bashrc script is on Linux.

Though actually I wonder what effect putting an ACL on that registry key to prevent writing would have...

Re:Startup Programs (1)

mockidol (1031242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515621)

Yeah. I understand it's not protected but I think it should be, somewhat. Not only do programs just constatly throw themselves there, stupid windows viruses do as well. I'd rather have windows prompt me when aim installs there then make me hit 'okay' every time I open the computer managment area.

Re:Startup Programs (2, Informative)

DemonThing (745994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515711)

Spybot-S&D [safer-networking.org] does come with a program called TeaTimer [safer-networking.org] (yes, another startup program, but it's small) that monitors registry changes including startup entries, popping up a dialog asking whether to allow the change, so if a program decides it wants to run at startup, you can block that right there.

Re:Startup Programs (1)

mockidol (1031242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515829)

This TeamTmer is not a program that I would want but it's a good suggestion. I willmake sure to remeber it for thise who don't keep track of their startup. Thanks. I also approve of Spybot S&D.

Re:Startup Programs (5, Insightful)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515989)

Well, it would help if people didn't like them so much, or at least tolerate them.

Look at Steam. I hate Steam with a passion on principle, because Valve forced people to install it, and it always ran on the computer even when Valve's games did not. To this day, I still have not installed HL2 or the Orange Box on my system, and I have remained very vocal about the forced installation of background tasks. Other people complained at first, but now, all I hear from people is how awesome Steam is and how they love buying things off it, and I should shut up about it. The fact that it is there all the time, constantly doing things in the background just doesn't phase them. After all, they can simply blame their 3-minute boot times on Microsoft.

What about all the "helper" programs? Every time I install some kind of driver, there's about 3-5 system services that get added to my system. When I search for information about these services, the web pages I encounter tell me that the services are not required, but that they enhance performance, so I shouldn't disable them. Excuse me? Enhance performance? In what respect? What if I only use that part of my system once a day, but it adds about 75-100MB of data to my swap file on startup? If not done correctly, pre-caching can seriously slow down a computer, and I see that every day when I fix other peoples' computers. And yet, other people tell me I shouldn't complain about it?

I stopped using Google Chrome when I found out that it installed an automatic updater with no way to disable it, short of hunting it down and deleting the main executable. Without deleting the file, Chrome just put it right back into active use again. Chrome also used to write about 1.5 gigabytes to my hard drive every time I started it up. Why? Well, that's part of the safe browsing initiative, where the browser downloads and installs a record of bad web sites. What if I have one of those flash drives? Will an app that writes several gigs of data to the drive every day wear it out prematurely? Do the commercial developers care?

No, they don't... because home users don't care, either, or at least they don't know any better.

Meanwhile, people still ask me to fix their computers all the time, and the only thing I can do to keep boot times under a minute is disable half their software. Then, their friends tell them to buy a Mac, and all the performance problems will go away. Is that why my Mac only has Apple software installed and takes 1.5 minutes to boot, whereas my XP system boots in 18 seconds with Apache and MySQL in the background?

Blame OS bloat and feature creep (4, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515509)

My later Amigas typically had a boot time of 10 seconds. Full blown AmigaOS on an internal HD on the A3000. I miss them dearly.

We've managed to stav off the usefulness of moore's law by creating the world's worst software to run on them.

It's not fair to judge modern systems with those older ones however; we ask a lot more of our software and our GUI's than we once did. But there is no excuse in the way that windows configures itself by default, it sets itself up for failure by having a re-sizable swap partition on the main OS partition.

When I install Windows on a new PC, I always create 3 partitions: An inner partition of 5 - 10 GB for a fixed size swap file only, then an OS partition, then an applications partition, and defrag regularly. I can keep my machines going for many years without much performance degradation in this manner.

Even if you are scrupulous, bad software and bad uninstall jobs will eventually bloat out your system a little bit.

A little common sense goes a long way, unfortunately those who do not deal with computers for a living aren't going to know these little tips and tricks, and will continue to be frustrated. OS manufacturers, in particular windows need to set up a default OS install for success, not failure. Software manufacturers need to create very clean installs and uninstall routines. Unfortunately this is not always possible in the OS environment. It's a joint effort.

The tin-foil hatters will think that M$ is doing this on purpose so people will feel compelled to upgrade more frequently, but I don't really give them that much conniving intelligence.

--Mike

Re:Blame OS bloat and feature creep (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515649)

Err, re-sizable swap FILE, sorry. typo.

Re:Blame OS bloat and feature creep (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516053)

But there is no excuse in the way that windows configures itself by default, it sets itself up for failure by having a re-sizable swap partition on the main OS partition.

Except flexibility. I understand the solution is definitely not optimal, but the idea is that not wasting perfectly good hard drive space would outweigh the drawback of bad performance.

Being an ex-Amiga user myself, I still see virtual memory as a crutch, and not a performance enhancing technique. I still remember when a CS major told me it was insanely stupid if an OS could not swap out kernel memory. Really? I wasn't aware that the kernel and low-level drivers used such a huge amount of memory compared to the applications. If you run out of memory for the kernel, I'd be worried about why the apps are using so many system resources, not how the OS handles its own memory.

under 15 seconds? (1)

ya really (1257084) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515513)

A "very good system is one that boots in under 15 seconds,"

Wait, what MS system current boots under 15 seconds?

Re:under 15 seconds? (1)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515555)

*racks brain*

The xbox?

Re:Windows 3.1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515679)

It will even do so on a 1.4GHz system if you use Dosbox's dynarec core, which is fairly impressive. I can't imagine how fast it would be natively on a modern system (it was fast even on a 486/100).

Re:under 15 seconds? (1)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515765)

Mine does. Vista 64.

Re:under 15 seconds? (3, Funny)

sdbillin (166060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516021)

It would - it has no pesky drivers or apps to slow it down.

Re:under 15 seconds? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515977)

My Vista 64 installation boots from the boot manager to usable desktop in about 15 seconds. It is a quick system though, probably the biggest factor to boot speed being the striped hard drives. YMMV etc.

Re:under 15 seconds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515985)

Pre-SP1 XP, I had my Dell Dimension 8200 booting in 11 seconds without video driver, 18 seconds after installing the nVidia driver. From end of POST (add 3 seconds) to usable desktop, skipping any login. That's a perfectly clean install fully defragged and using BootVis to reorder startup files. Wrote about it on annoyances.org at the time. Could be faster with a RAID.

But I have neither the time nor the will to optimize to that level anymore.

Could you hand me a roll of paper... (0, Flamebait)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515519)

... I need to pinch off a copy of Vista

Time to boot, or time to usable? (0, Redundant)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515531)

Windows seems to boot pretty fast, but it's at least another minute before the system is actually usable. That's at home - at work, it's easily 3-5 minutes. It's rediculous. Even if these manufacturers manage to shave off a few seconds in the best case scenario it probably won't mean much when you start to look at real-life situations.

Standby doesn't waste that much electricity (2, Informative)

theblondebrunette (1315661) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515543)

Standy on desktop doesn't waste that much electricity (10-15Watt) compared to a power off mode (5Watt). With the newer power supplys, for the past 10 or so years, a powered off computer still consumes power as it needs to keep that power on/off button hot (12v or 5v, not sure). The older power supplies, the power button was a true 110/220V switch. To achieve that now, you have to use the switch in the back where the power supply is..

Re:Standby doesn't waste that much electricity (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515689)

I recently measured a bunch of PCs around my house, actually. Distressingly, my Mac Pro takes 40W when "turned off"!

Personally, the desktop PC gets turned off at the wall overnight. The server obviously doesn't, but it was designed top to bottom to be power efficient (and idles at around 30-40W). The laptop is my fast-on system.

Re:Standby doesn't waste that much electricity (2, Interesting)

Slorv (841945) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515837)

>Distressingly, my Mac Pro takes 40W when "turned off"!

Yeah, since I normally have around 5 computers in my work room I've installed a master power switch. That switch paid for itself in half a year by power savings alone.

It's psychological (3, Insightful)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515571)

It's not like the user will be doing anything for the first minute after the computer starts anyway. It's merely the act of waiting and not being able to interact while it boots. Once it boots up people will still *do nothing* of importance on it.

It's psychological - the user wants to see progress. Even if it boots up and shows the desktop quickly, the user will have to wait until all the startup programs finish loading. If they can double-click on IE (oops, Firefox, since we're on Slashdot) sooner they will be happy, even if the system is only semi-responsive.

Re:It's psychological (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515799)

If they can double-click on IE (oops, Firefox, since we're on Slashdot) sooner they will be happy, even if the system is only semi-responsive.

Not at all. A useless desktop is highly annoying. You were right a sentence before that, when you mentioned progress. People need to see that the thing hasn't just crashed. They want an idea of how much longer it will be. I make sure that Ubuntu gives me as many start-up messages as possible, so that I can see exactly what it is doing.

SSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25516043)

I just got a SSD drive yesterday. From what I see, once I hit a desktop there is no sluggishness at all. Most of the startup stuff is executed all at once and the programs are all over the disk. This is a really bad usage scenario for a spinning disk- it chugs to a crawl- but for a solid-state drive its not a big deal.

Re:It's psychological (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516113)

Even if it boots up and shows the desktop quickly, the user will have to wait until all the startup programs finish loading.

The OS/deskenv/whatever could be smart about it and load things on a by-need basis, or keeping a sliding window of CPU free for the user to spend.

I think OS X does something like this: defer as much as possible, then load it when the user is here, in a smart way.

It's psychological - the user wants to see progress.

True, but...

If they can double-click on $BROWSER sooner they will be happy, even if the system is only semi-responsive.

False in my experience: you get annoyed with the system being so slow.

Being able to detect progress is good. Having a false sense of being done is bad.

Re:It's psychological (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516145)

It's not like the user will be doing anything for the first minute after the computer starts anyway. It's merely the act of waiting and not being able to interact while it boots. Once it boots up people will still *do nothing* of importance on it.

Speak for yourself. If I switch off my computer and decide last minute just as I'm about to rush out the door on my way to work that I wanted to look something up, a 3 second boot time is no problem, where a 3 minute boot time is a show stopper. I've solved this problem by having a machine always on - not very enviro friendly I know. My one concession is that I let the screen go to sleep. Even that's up to 7 seconds that can mean the difference between catching and missing my train.

PCs, TVs, dvd players, blu-ray players. (1)

aauu (46157) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515581)

The real problem is mechanical components and violatile ram. In the days of magnetic core a computer could recover from power failure and resume running in few seconds. Disks did take a will to spin up.

that's bios work, too (1)

Luke_22 (1296823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515583)

less seconds at boot time?
then why don't they use coreboot [coreboot.org] (ex linuxbios)?

my hp spends at least 5 seconds before grub shows up. coreboot claims 3 second to linux console.
the remaining boot time is os-dependent. my slack takes much more time than ubuntu on identical computers, but that's because of the distro, not something else (ssd excluded)...

Re:that's bios work, too (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515741)

I was going to say that people and vendors missed the obvious advantage of OS on a chip like coreboot. If they were even more creative the entire OS could be available instantly and just restore to RAM from the last boot. It would be much more secure also as the secure utilities could be write protected. Coreboot seems to me to be the best choice for manufacturers and users looking to save the MS tax.

Do people REALLy care about boot times? (1)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515585)

I mean, with hibernation and standby modes, outside the need to restart for some sort of update--why even shutdown?

It just all seems pointless to me. I don't find ANY OS's boot times slow enough to start tinkering with ways to make it faster. Even Vista on this laptop was well under a minute. And that's to "usable". XP and Linux are maybe a few seconds faster. Is there really some use for it booting in 20 seconds vs. maybe 30?

Re:Do people REALLy care about boot times? (1)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515795)

I mean, with hibernation and standby modes, outside the need to restart for some sort of update--why even shutdown?

If you suspend to RAM, power is still being used. With a laptop, or an area prone to powercuts, this is a problem.

If you suspend to disk, the motherboard's initial boot process is not bypassed, so you need the optimisation that we're talking about.

Also, very many of us dual-boot. I can't play Rome: Total War on Ubuntu.

Re:Do people REALLy care about boot times? (1)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515841)

When your computer is in standby mode it is still using power.

In a company of hundreds of PCs, this adds up to a considerable, and completely unnecessary, power drain. It costs the company and it puts CO2 into the atmosphere.

Anyway, I reckon hoping for 15 second boot time shows a real lack of ambition. Why can't we have 1 second boot times?

AHCI Firmware (3, Insightful)

boa13 (548222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515587)

I just bought a new PC, and was absolutely dismayed when I activated the AHCI (SATA) firmware to discover it added about ten full seconds to the boot time. I have no idea what it performs during that time (some kind of calibration? I sure hope it's not a stupid just-to-be-safe timeout).

Conversely, I have desactivated IDE support, and it has now become very hard to enter the BIOS since the initial screen goes by so fast. I get about a quarter of a second to press the right key.

The usability of the BIOS is exactly the same as it was ten years ago. It's a shame no progress has occurred in that area in such a long time. I want it to go as fast as possible when everything is settled, but I also want to be able to pause and look at everything step by step while I am installing hardware. Apparently no one cares about that. :(

Power Modes (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515593)

Please forgive me for typos and incoherent speech, for I am drunk. Now on to power saving modes. I did notice that both at home (with my seven computers) and at my work place that the red herring effect caused by powering computers on and off during business hours is pretty much the same as leaving them on with standby mode etc. To be honest a 15 second boot time is rediculous. I mean my XP laptop boots in about 5-8 seconds...my linux box boots in ~6 seconds. Perhaps my geeky startup enhancments are to blame but I dont recall waiting 20-30 seconds for a computer boot in the last four years...I think the metrics are including windows start times as well? A bit ambiguous to say the least.

3 stages to tackle.. (5, Informative)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515601)

Yup, it has always irritated me that the faster my system gets the more I need to wait for it..

There are IMHO 3 levels to this:

1) BIOS boot. Why the hell do I need to wait for this? I don't need the advertising, thanks, and a state check is BS if it worked before - flag and repeat. The maximum allowed delay should be to show a 2 sec message "Press F1 to enter BIOS or re-scan" - and even that one should be able to switch off. I recall reading something about an Open Source BIOS having to be slowed down because it was ready before the disks had spun up - yes please!

2) OS boot. The actual core OS is again something that, once stable, changes very little. Or so goes the theory, with the incredible amount of patching going on in Windows there is indeed a need for re-scan. But that again is something you do once, then skip the proooooooooooooooooobing for something that *may* be there but doesn't respond in teh half century timeout that it has been given. I can recall something called TurboDOS for the Apple ][ that was a good 3x faster, mainly because someone had brought the timeouts back to something sane.. What I find particularly offensive is the Microsoft marketing department forcing a visible desktop that makes it appear the machine is ready, where any enterprise build will take more than it takes to get a coffee before it is finally really is, even after defragging the disk. That's at least something I find less of an issue with Linux. However, these days there is an awful lot of crap that has to be loaded for no apparent reason - maybe time to lift the covers and go back to basics?

On the Linux front an observation aside: once upon a time, Linux booted in seconds even when the then Worries for Workgroups was already starting to get obese. This speed advantage no longer exists other than that a ready desktop really IS ready :-(

3) App level boot. Once the OS is live, all these other gadgets become alive. There is a whole raft of things that sit and watch for events these days, and most of it does so surreptitiously. Picasa shows a logo and tells you it's watching for events, but the iTunes crap hides, ditto for the Apple update. Once upon a time you could look in Windows "startup" and look at what actually loaded, but that was obviously too visible and useful and could -oh shudder- allow the customer to kill off the things they didn't want. These days, only Logitech and OpenOffice do it as intended, the rest all sits under the radar - motives?

ANY program setting up some form of monitoring should be visible, and offer the advanced user a way to kill it off. I want iTunes only to play music, and I will start it up myself hen I need it to sync - that is a choice I should be able to make. Sure, make it idiot proof but for God's sake leave an option for the non-idiots to control it (and bloody stop trying to shove Safai down my throat with every down, sorry, 'up'grade). And I don't recall ever giving permission for the Apple Update program so where did that come from? I think that is in principle a breach of computing laws to install software without authorisation..

There are so many apps that start up a background process for updates that it's a miracle there's bandwidth left for getting any work done, and starting an app starts off some more. Apple iTunes, Firefox -and each extension thereof-, Thunderbird -ditto-) - the moment you start them the hunt for updates begins. "Stable" has been replaced by "perpertual beta" - and we know who started that (yes Redmond, it's you). I can recall where especially an OS patch was A Big Deal. The fact that someone does this monthly (and now doesn't) should not blind you to the fact that it once was an exceptional event rather than rule.

And then there is the way network events are treated: synchronous. Start Outlook and watch the system die while it waits for some sign of life from the server (and then continues this throughout the day). Watch a DNS lookup freeze a system because the network is a bit slow (Linux: just as bad). Try to gain access to a drive? Under Windows this can mean you get a SCREEN REFRESH. Yup, the desktop needs to be repainted because somewhere in its bowels it obviously puked on the screen and had to wash it off.

ALL of the above acts as a handbrake on your new "I have more power than they used to send a man to the moon" system.

15 years on - and we still need an animated hourglass.. /rant :-)

Re:3 stages to tackle.. (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515793)

Your breakdown is correct: I'm glad I scrolled down instead of starting my own thread.

* BIOS boot) This takes time because it's in a minimal feature mode, BIOS RAM is quite expensive to deal with. And it's looking for a load of ancient cruft you don't have installed. BIOS's are some of the buggiest, nasty, proprietary, vendor specific, burdened with workarounds crap you will ever see. The fix is simple: open up the BIOS and clean out all the stuff you don't need on that motherboard. LinuxBIOS does _exactly_ this, which is why the OLPC project has incredibly fast BIOS load times. I really wish motherboard makers would take the hint and sell their features, instead of wasting their engineering time re-inventing the IBOS and continually getting it wrong.

* OS boot) This is also a problem. People keep re-inventing the wheel here as well, and never quite getting it right. Every OS and boot-time software loader needs to deal with a huge stack of dependencies, assuring that the startup tools occur in the right order and negotiating their own requirements, each in their own way. And every one has to deal with the manufacturer's ideas, and the legacy work of the previous OS's, and the legacy of other critical software. It's a mess. And it's not just the kernel, it's the video drivers, the network drivers, the various web servers and update tools and debris.

Fortunately, it's easy to optimize. Modern operating systems are multi-threaded, and a lot of it can be set to low priority as long as the dependency chains are well documented and clear. Network is needed to get your DHCP hostname and start up your X server, or your web server, or your shared network drives? Then network comes *FIRST*, or very, very early. And that relies on detecting your network ports, correctly. That means USB and PCI and built-in drivers need to be detected and loaded, which takes time.

* App level) Here is a the remaining mess, as you mentioned. And it's a mess. X and displays won't run without the hostname set? Then you did something wrong, as the developer. They should be configured for localhost, not an unstable hostname. You need to reboot to load a patch? Then you usually did something wrong. It should be configurable in userland, and not force resetting of your system boot procedures.

Fantastic quote to go with this (2, Funny)

sunami (751539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515833)

"there is something deeply wrong when text editing on a 3.6 ghz processor is anything but instantaneous." --John Carmack

Re:3 stages to tackle.. (1, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516023)

Anecdotal Evidence

I am estimating that over half of my XP64 boot time is loading up crap that has nothing to do with the OS. As already mentioned, iTunes has its bootup horseshit. My webcam has its bootup horseshit. Games have DRM bootup horseshit. A good chunk of the software I have installed have their phone-home bootup horseshit. My motherboard driver package even installs several bootup horseshits whenever I grab an update. Video card drivers? Ditto.

The sad thing is that I have given up on monitoring it. I no longer care enough to police it because it is a never ending battle. Some programs, even when you remove their bootup horseshit, simply put it back in the next time you use that program.

An alternative OS isnt the answer because I like backward compatability. An OS that makes this horseshit more visible is. The startup process should be protected, yet apparently it isnt even on Linux or OSX.

Here in windows land, if I look at whats loaded during startup (msconfig) I get uninformative information for programs and services, such as "NvCpl: RUNDLL32.EXE NvCpl.DLL /starup" .. I have to search the web to find out what this is, and invariably the site telling me what it is happens to be a site dedicated to virus protection of some kind. "This is nVidia blah blah blah, but a virus can be named anything!" they say, for everything. Gee thanks!

Lets not even mention the "services" listed with msconfig, where I can't even get a program path or filename of any kind.

Even something very simple could be extremely usefull, such as whenever a program sticks something in startup/services I get a prompt which allows to be place my own note about what I was doing when this happened, attached to the horseshit that got placed there, so that I can look at my own notes such as "nvidia display driver installation" so that when I run msconfig I can make rational decisions about the item in question.

Usually the AV software the extends the time (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515633)

What I have noticed is that what is one of the major culprits in long boot times is antivirus software starting up and doing its integrity checks. Reduce this, and you will reduce times perhaps by five minutes on some machines. However, with Windows, I doubt AV makers could do it without reducing security though.

loaf makers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515667)

yeah, well, on the mornings I wake up late, I try to pinch seconds when I pinch a loaf

memcheck is still useful (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515729)

The memory check is still useful, and should be available as an option in the bios. The rest of the POST should be scrapped. No OS uses any of the crap a 25 year old piece of software tries (and fails) to deliver. Yes the hard disk has more of everything than it can detect. Yes there are more ports than it can count. Every modern OS overwrites the 64k of low memory with itself (but X86 processors must first start in 8086 mode, load itself (long jump) into higher but unreadable memory, then switch modes to emm386 mode and then recoup the lower 640k. I know it all sounds old fashioned, but the latest version of Linux has to do it with intel processors, and since microsoft xp/vista run on the same architecture, they have to as well (or lose all that memory). Its not the OS, its the architecture, and the bios. Changing the old bios with something new would help boot times a lot!

Boot times are irrelevant (1)

imunfair (877689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515763)

Boot times of 5 minutes wouldn't really bother me all that much - I reboot *maybe* once a month, other than that my computer is either on or suspended (and it only takes two seconds to return to life from suspend). The easy solution is make sure that Windows defaults to suspend/hibernate rather than shut down, since the normal user generally sticks with the default settings.

The things that matter to me are:
Cheaper hardware
More efficient software
Major technology improvements

I'm not at all an environmentalist, but I'd even put making a pc more power efficient, or making the manufacturing more environmentally friendly as more important than shaving a few more seconds off my boot time.

Re:Boot times are irrelevant (2, Insightful)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515855)

I'd even put making a pc more power efficient, or making the manufacturing more environmentally friendly as more important than shaving a few more seconds off my boot time.

The most power-efficient PC is one that is switched off and unplugged at the mains.

Perhaps more people would do this if when they switched it back on it was ready to use right then.

The sole reason most people leave their PCs on is because they want that 5-second email check to take 5 seconds, not five minutes.

When rebooting, shutdown time is important (5, Insightful)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515773)

What really gets me is not just the boot time but the shutdown time. Especially because I often reboot (shutdown time + boot time).

When I tell my PC to shut down, all it really needs to do is make sure that no files are currently being written to disk, force a dismount of all drives, and then cut the power. Everything else is bad programming, as far as I can see. Why does the network have to shut down? Why do a whole load of separate processes have to be given signals? Why does KDE need time to save settings (it should have already saved them in real time)?

If the computer is not doing anything, a clean shutdown should take no more than a second, and yet it can take much longer.

Re:When rebooting, shutdown time is important (1)

PlasticArmyMan (967433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515831)

Ditto to this. Aside from the evil Windows non-shutdown which more or less means you have to reboot and shutdown again, the whole process just takes far too long. Hibernation is the fastest way to shutdown too! From clicking to system off it's usually about 10 seconds maximum.

Re:When rebooting, shutdown time is important (1)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515913)

I hate having to wait for the confirm shutdown dialog. Gnome displays the dialog but it defaults to doing the shutdown in 60 seconds so you can walk away. Nice.

286 + DOS (2, Funny)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515805)

My 10 MHz '286 running DOS 3.3 used to go from power to prompt in 11 seconds. Humans wake up. Old radios warm up. Computers boot up.

coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515819)

as long as my pc boots quicker than i can make a coffee then its a winna

Useless (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515827)

Useless and a waste of development. Just put the computer to sleep, and it boots in 2 seconds. Why bother wasting time on this?

OSX on PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515887)

I run OSX 10.5.5 on a basic X86 PC; C2D 2.4 GHZ with 4GB of PC2-6400 RAM.

I boot to my desktop in less than 20 seconds.

My startup programs include the Gmail notifier.

Join the darkside.

my 5 second startup (3, Interesting)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515911)

I got sick of these outrageous boot times a long time ago.
here is how i fixed it:

I have an old IBM PS/1 that i picked up in the early 90's. (for the kids: 386 processor, 2 megs of RAM)

When I turn it on, the system is usable in about 5-10 seconds.
I can have a word processor open AND be typing away happily within 15 seconds of hitting that button.

now it takes me a minute to load my OS, and another 20 seconds before my word processor is usable

what the hell happened?

Re:my 5 second startup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515971)

More features were added to the OS and to the hardware, and in addition there is a lot more hardware for your motherboard to have to interface with. Sure, older OSs boot fast, but what good are they without things like memory protection or support for newer hardware?

Why don't more people use standby? (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515969)

I've been using standby/sleep extensively on my desktops and laptops for the last 10 years, and I still can't understand why people with a modern machine don't use standby.

Yes back in the early days it could be flaky, but I've had very very few problems resuming from standby since about 2002.

On my current laptop, Dell latitude D820/vista I can standby in probably 10 seconds (max, often its near instant) and I can resume in less than 5

And it will happily sit in my bag for about 2 weeks while on standby before the battery is drained (but before that happens it will wake up to hibernate).

My desktop pc is on 24/7, with a 2 hour sleep timeout.

Both machines only ever get rebooted for patches. Yes they take a while to boot, but who cares? Once a month I press restart and get a coffee.

Re:Why don't more people use standby? (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516039)

I agree. My MacBook Pro wakes up in one (1) second. And Mac OS X is a super reliable operating system, so why reboot at all?

HP win on their target already it seems (to me) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515973)

"and an HP source names an 18-month goal of 20-30 seconds."

I recently downgraded to an old laptop HP laptop gifted to me by my mother. This laptop (Presario 1700) has 256MB RAM, a 1133MHz Intel Pentium III CPU, 40GB HDD and a 16MB ATi Mobility Radeon M6 LY GPU.

In regards to boot times, after reformatting the drive, and reinstalling Windows XP the boot time was very fast. A few months down the track the only difference from then is I have installed old games, namely Fallout 1 and 2, Heroes III and Ragnarok. As well as K-Meleon for web browsing, Sylpheed as an e-mail client, OpenOffice 3 for word processing (need .docx support!), foobar2000 etc etc.

My point is, after installing these programs, stopping apps from starting upon startup and not running an antivirus I timed my laptop from cold boot to desktop at 35 seconds (skips login).

I am impressed with this result the laptop will then go into warm boots from standby for a couple of days, only really turning it off when the page file is pushing it

Quota Check (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515983)

My system used to boot quickly enough for my tastes, until I enabled disk quota. Now, when I have an unclean shutdown (and I hardly ever have clean ones), the system spends several _hours_ running quotacheck. Isn't there some way to reduce this? I read something that suggests there are journalled quota nowadays, but how do they work and which filesystems are supported?

Why shut down at all? (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515991)

My MacBook Pro wakes up in one second, so why should I ever shut it down? The only time I ever restart it is after a system software upgrade that requires it.

YOU FAIL ?IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515995)

fact camE into

8 bit (3, Interesting)

Alioth (221270) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516083)

My Sinclair ZX Spectrum is ready in less than 2 seconds. Now I have made an ethernet card for it, I can be on IRC within 5 seconds of power up!

Vendors should try not pre-installing crap then. (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516135)

Vendors should consider not pre-installing so much junk on their machines and including a spiffed up variant of Altiris SVS, as well as some other tools that can fight bloat in the background.

I've seen some pretty bad machines from vendors under specced with ram, like 256mb for Windows XP, they would then preinstall something like Norton Internet Security which requires 256mb of RAM available and that's before you do a scan.
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