Windows 7 boots fast enough for normal people

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Opinion: Shock news reaches us from iolo Technologies claiming that Windows 7 takes ages to load. Our response: who gives a rat’s ass, especially as it doesn't...


A Los Angeles maker of software aimed at making PCs boot faster is in the news for warning that we must all fork out fifty bucks for its product because Windows 7 doesn’t boot fast enough. iolo Technologies reckons the new OS – due out in a couple of weeks – is 'even worse than Vista'.


'Even worse than Vista' has become the lazy writer’s marketingspeak for something less desirable than syphilis or about as good looking as a 55 Chevy after it’s been through a car crusher. With a dead antelope in the trunk.


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I put it to you that there are no occasions when the boot time of a PC is important in any way whatsoever. While geek hardware sites write endless articles in green crayon slating Windows’ slow boot and shutdown times when compared with other operating systems so exotic that no one uses them, in the real world, it simply doesn’t matter.


At all.


Are people using PCs onboard the Starship Enterprise to raise shields in the event of a Romulan Bird of Prey dropping out of warp off the starboard bow? No. And even if they did, wouldn’t their old Compaq Presario tactical computer already be up and running?


Is Norad hoping that the bad guys will have the courtesy to phone up before launching their nukes in order that the PCs deep in the hardened shelters of Cheyenne Mountain can be woken from their slumbers?


Nope.


Here’s what happens in the real world. You arrive at the office at 0930 and switch on your machine. Then you go to grab a coffee. Then you chew the fat with your colleagues for a bit. Then it’s time for another coffee. When you return to your desk at 1030, your machine is ready and waiting, even if it’s running OS/2.


Do you care – or even know – how long your machine takes to boot?


Fast enough for normal people


According to iolo, Windows 7 starts up to the point where the machine is usable 42 percent slower than Vista - one minute, 34 seconds compared with one minute, six seconds - on a new install. Although Windows 7 does appear to start faster than Vista, says the company – which sells stuff to make your PC boot faster, in case you’ve forgotten -  it’s referring to the time it takes to get to the point where the computer is fully usable, with a low load on the processor.


Sadly, I no longer have a machine running both Vista and Win7 to replicate the detailed and no doubt peer-reviewed scientific research done by iolo, but I can put a stopwatch on this 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo machine with 4GB of RAM running the 64 bit version of Windows 7 build 7600 (the RTM one).


Cold start to desktop takes 50 seconds and it’s another massive five seconds before CPU utilization drops to idle (< three percent). Just for the hell of it, I also measured the shutdown time – from clicking the power down icon on the desktop to the fans stopping took a shocking 16 seconds.


Now I don’t know if I’m unique in this, but my procedure for shutting a machine down involves clicking shut down, turning out the light, walking out of the room and shutting the door.


I suppose there are saddoes out there who sit and wait to make sure the machine really does switch itself off rather than staying up all night partying with its peripherals in a degenerate manner, but I’ve never met one. Presumably these people also lose sleep over whether the light in the refrigerator actually goes off when they close the door.


iolo promises yet more shock revelations about Windows 7’s startup and shutdown times later today. Did we mention that iolo is a company that want you to buy products to make your machine boot faster?


Here’s a handy tip – if you want your machine to boot faster, spend $49.95 on some extra RAM rather than on a box of boot-enhancing snake oil that can, apparently, 'boost Windows boot time by 800 percent'.