Windows 8 Boot Time Too Fast for Humans?

Dennis Faas's picture

According to a new report, Windows 8 will provide the fastest boot time ever posted by any operating system (OS): about seven seconds. However, some observers appear unhappy about such a speedy load time.

Generally speaking, older operating systems take far longer than seven seconds to start up. This is not necessarily a bad thing because the extended wait time provides users with opportunities to access a computer's boot menu, so they can attempt to repair any problems with their system.

Windows 8 Boot Time Under One Second

With Windows 8's new speedy loading routine, the amount of time available to push the F8 key, and so access the computer's boot menu, is less than 200 milliseconds (ms).

That may be too little time for even the most alert and determined individual to strike the correct key. (Source:

Some observers speculate that Microsoft simply overlooked this small detail when trying to give its new operating system a start-up time of less than 15 seconds (a standard which Microsoft was never able to accomplish with Windows 7).

Windows 8 achieves that fast launch capability, primarily because it takes advantage of today's multiple core processor chip designs.

The OS also uses "stored kernel session data" in the Windows hibernation file, and saves even more time by not completely enumerating all of the system's various drivers every time it loads. (Source:

Boot Menu Access Alternatives

Microsoft has come up with several alternative ways to access the boot menu in Windows 8, in case your finger isn't fast enough. These include:

  • Automatically displaying the boot menu when Windows cannot start properly (even in situations where Windows thinks it can, such as when there's a faulty display driver).
  • Manually accessing the boot menu, even after the computer is fully booted, by selecting the advanced start-up option on the General tab of PC settings.
  • Accessing the boot menu by holding down the 'Shift' key while choosing the restart option. This is much the same as the 'sleep' and 'hibernate' options that were available on older Windows PCs. (Source:

If Microsoft is hoping to have its new operating system widely regarded as a user-friendly product, observers suggest, making access to the boot menu option as straightforward as possible will be to its long term benefit.

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