Windows

Poll: Which Windows version has the fastest, most stable boot process?

With each successive Windows release, Microsoft promises a faster, more stable boot process. If you had to choose, which Windows version did the best job?

Few Windows problems are more frustrating to experience and more annoying to troubleshoot than a boot error. And with each successive Windows release, Microsoft promises a faster, more-stable boot process. But, which Windows version lives up to the process?

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

75 comments
lilred11
lilred11

windows me..never gives any troubles..had it since 200i and still useing it with same key-board and seem mouse..just like it was bought

treese
treese

As of today that would be XP Pro.

anubhavbansal2002
anubhavbansal2002

Hey!! Why Win 98 option is missing? Of all windows on which I have worked Win98 is the best.

amansufi
amansufi

windows xp is best but i think microsoft must develop operating system like macintosh or the features of macintosh in windows xp......

jpdecesare
jpdecesare

Windows 7 is the most stable and silkiest OS they've come out with. 64-Bit 7RC has been stable as a rock on my i7 rig. And, what a testament that all the gamers have flocked to 7 Beta and RC (head to the sites and see what they're running!). 7 is the first Windows version that truly makes me not miss my Mac any longer (and I've used every version of Windows since 3.1 except for ME).

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

I think these users have never used Windows 7 perhaps?!!!

gdutson
gdutson

Bill defined the poll question, which limits the inquiry to the fastest and most stable BOOT process. While Win7 has not even been released beyond RC1, it still *boots* faster than any previous Windows platform since 3.1 (and it may be faster than that, we do tend to romanticize many things about those halcyon days when 4MB of RAM was a luxury). The desktop on which I have RC1 installed is fully in production and was previously (same hardware and mostly the same software) running XP Pro SP3 and it gets me to a stable login prompt more quickly. And Vista...well, that will fade more quickly than HD DVD. If you instead expand Bill's question beyond his defined parameters, then many of these other comments are valid. That said, only time will tell if patches and updates will slow Win7 as much as they did XP as it grew from XP to XP-SP3.

jwebfoot2togo
jwebfoot2togo

I'm beginningto leantoward Vista over XP. However the way I found to gain a more stable Vista OS is to leave the core alone and not allow download all those quirky ideas and security gadgets from MS.

jck
jck

Mine on my 720 BE modded 4-core, once past the BIOS boot, gets to the password screen in about...8-10 seconds? And, I've yet to have any error from XP Pro x64 other than problems when stretching the overclock on my computer. I'll see how Win 7 does in October when I get it.

hilandr5
hilandr5

Windows 3.1 loaded real fast and I never had problems, Windows seemed to take longer to load with each new version

terry
terry

Up until V3.11 Mac was my choice of operating system. Windows 3.11 (for those of you who remember it) won me over; then Office completed the transition. The only problem was that it did not always shut down but that is not the poll question.

scg8r
scg8r

Windows 98 SR2 without a doubt!

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

You make this tough to answer by looking for the fastest AMD most stable boot. It ends up being a trade-off with MS OSes. You can have a fast boot that allows you to get the the desktop faster with Vista, but you end up sacrificing some because not all startup process will actually start properly when doing this (and some temperamental ones don't like to start even if you do wait). Or you can go with the stability of XP if you are willing to wait about 2-3x as long to be able to get to work. Still haven't had the opportunity to work with Win7, but I'm hoping to put it through its paces in a couple of week or so.

oterrya
oterrya

How many of us that voted for XP have tried Vista or Win7 to even compare?

kraterz
kraterz

These have got to be a joke, right? We should throw in Win3.1 for good measure!

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

Windows 7 RTM. Triple boot with Ubuntu 9.04, XP SP3. From time of pressing enter at grub boot menu to full operational capability counting 01, 02,03,..., 0X: Windows 7 RTM 32, Ubuntu 30, XP 65. Have attempted to make W7 crash at boot, so far no luck. Have attempted to infect W7 with virus and trojans, so far no luck (maybe just not the right code yet). Have attempted to defeat many different virus detectors, have defeated Avast, Comodo, McAfee, and Kaspersky. So far even when defeated, W7 protects itself; I have been unable to inject malefic code into the kernel - yet. However W7 is not all roses: the clock randomly resets to an unknown time zone (probably GMT), most XP code has problems, many W7 and Vista drivers fail to install or function correctly when installed.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

because not everyone responding has seen 7 and is voting in ignorance. I know I was. Also, I doubt everyone voting has actually tested 9x, 2K, XP, V, and 7 on the same box. I doubt you can bet 9x or maybe even 2K drivers for any system made in the last five years, so I'm not sure if you can even find a system that will run that range of operating systems.

tech
tech

Windows98 was by far the cleanest, fastest-booting OS since the post-DOS family.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Fastest, is debatable, I have booted up a Win 95 on a 2.6ghz machine, boot time was about 1 second :) (Not including BIOS time) However, 95 was usually an 8/10 chance of booting correctly, once in awhile something would just randomly fail and all hell would break loose till you restarted. 98 was also bad for this, and the memorable, 98 shutdown, should really rank 98 as the worst lol. but the odd time it did work, it was fast. Original XP without any service packs was fast and, stable (not including third party crap). XP SP3, its nutty slow. Win 2000, seems to boot up stable, but takes a long time to get going (Tested on VM's) So, so far, I'd have to say WinXP. In the beginnning it did boot up very fast, even on the meager 300mhz machines it was designed to run on, and probably 98% of the time, it boots up correctly.

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

This is a vague poll question. How many of what kind of drivers are you loading? How fast is your HDD? How much of what kind of RAM? These variables have a huge impact on boot time. As far as Vista or W7... I probably won't ever install them. See my previous blogs for why I think M$ should release a product that works, instead of having to fix it every week throughout its lifetime.

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

How long do you wait after you push the power button? Do you even know if the computer is on after you push the power button? I support a friends Mac for free. Most of the time I have to guess whether it is booting or not because there is no indication.

daytech
daytech

I rehabed a Dell Inspiron E1505 this past weekend. Just for kicks I installed the factory image of XP on the hard drive and then installed Win7 RC on a second identical hadr drive I had laying around. Win7 boots around 15 seconds faster with no AV installed on either build. With 1GB RAM and Dual Core processor at 1.67GHz it scores a 3.0. It feels very responsive and worked flawlessly with Microsoft drivers. I'm very inpressed so far!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I don't play games at work! It is a real shame i7 will be surpassed so soon - I'm waiting for the real deal....

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

having gotten familiar with win7 interface, it's no problem now. what impresses me though is the boot speed and the speed that it launches applications particularly office 2007. My wife (not a technical person) preferrs the UI in Vista to XP although she has used XP for several years. I don't like supporting Vista and Win7 will have some difficulties in enterprise deployments, but with XP mode I expect it to be deployable unlike Vista. I'm looking forward to implementing Win7. I currently support XP in a large organization and have no bone to pick with XP but am impressed with Win7.

Cynthia R.
Cynthia R.

I've been running Windows 7 and I still choose my XP Pro any day. Yes, 7 has added features that XP doesn't have, but the functionality of XP is much better than 7.

IT_ShortBus
IT_ShortBus

Funny thing I was cleaning out my workbench this past weekend and found my old 3.1 floppy disks. This weekend I might just load it on a newer PC to see just how it works for old times. Now where did I put that 3.5 Disk drive and cable?

goldrnr
goldrnr

My guess is that if my current hardware would be fully supported by it, Windows 3.1x would boot fastest. If the question would be which of the current MS-OS's would boot fastest and most reliable then i must vote for Windows 7. I can't till MS will make it slower again by implementing the first servicepack :)

douetja
douetja

I remember Windows 3.11 quite well. The release was named "Windows for Workgroups" and was Microsoft's first effort at putting networking technology on a user desktop in a graphical environment. I was on a two-person team responsible for roll-out of about 500 machines at a chemical plant who was at the time running a Digital (DEC) Pathworks network. It was a challenge, but in the end we were successful, and 3.11 did bring many of the previous DOS-only crowd into a graphical environment.

terry
terry

Yes. I do also use Vista, but do not share the naysayers on this os, I just cannot get used to it & keep coming back to my XP workstation. The UI is just not intuitive to me. If performs fine and does the job well. W7? I do not even look at an OS before at least 6 months after RTM. New OSs just do not excite.

xmechanic
xmechanic

Win 98 was probably the fastest, even with the un-official SP2 update (if the drive was defragged). Win2K was probably the most reliable for starting everytime with no glitches, and XP is probably fastest and most stable overall. Vista is just pathetic, speedwise, especially on most newer laptops with the SP1 update. I've seen it take a good 2 minutes to get to a usable desktop and even then the cpu stays maxed out for another minute or so. Windows 7 Beta seems to be quite a bit faster, but time will tell when it finally gets to market and in constant use.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Odd that no one every asks which version of Windows shuts down the fastest.

khimshar-rates
khimshar-rates

OK - I voted Win95 without doing any testing or anything, purely a subjective response, since I have probably regarded every Windows since as 'bloatware' But, havin started in PC's with Dos 3 or thereabouts and worked up thro' every version AFAIK, I know I had Win286 in a 286 m/c running the company's first CAD system.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

They adopt tech faster than the rest of us and find ways to make it work faster. If the gamers are happy with it, that means there is a very good chance it is stable and faster than Vista. If you have a hardware or driver compatibility bug there's a good chance that some gamer somewhere posted a fix or workaround on a forum somewhere in Google land well before you.

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

Why do you think that XP Pro has better functionality than Windows 7?

scott.ager
scott.ager

Yeah, me too! What a great idea. 3.1 on a Core 2 Duo, wheeeee.. Can you spare me a 3.5".

RichardKP
RichardKP

FWIW: Windows 3.11 came in two flavours, and I have both. There is the windows for workgroups version, and also a plain non workgroups version. The latter has 1 stiffy diskette less and nothing that will allow MS workgroup networking. At the early days of Win 3.11 I also was under the impression that windows for workgroups was synonymous with Win 3.11, until I found out about the non workgroup version from the local MS office and actually picked up a set of diskettes for that version. Both versions are still in my store room,assuming the diskettes can still be read!

WhoCare$
WhoCare$

I thought this post was about Windows, why are you talking about Linux here. If you don't have anything related to the topic then don't post. This is a Windows only topic; Get It!

dmeireles
dmeireles

I still wonder, why people (specially the ones using laptops) keep shutting down their machines? I use my Vista laptop everyday, and always hibernate, always. I only shut down when I install updates or when the system's performance gets really bad (usually after a week or two of daily use). So, I get faster "shutdown" and faster "boot time", and it never fails to wake up! Why do people don't use this more often? Btw, I know that the discussion is about windows, but even when running a linux distro, I would hibernate all the way too (same laptop, hibernation as reliable as on windows).

xmechanic
xmechanic

Sometimes you couldn't get 98 to shutdown at all (at least not properly). I have a lot of customers that complain their laptops go dead overnight because they go to shutdown Vista and it's so slow, they finally give up and close the lid, forcing the machine into sleep mode. :-p

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Or at least the 32 bit business version on my laptop. It is an absolute crap shoot as to whether it will shutdown properly in under a minute or not. It does however boot fairly fast. Now my 64 bit business machine is a different matter. It is up and ready faster than I'm ready to sit down and get to work. I ran it with Xp 64bit Pro SP3 and it was noticeably less of a performer, in boot times, shutdown times and actual app performance. Then again it's a quad core intel box with 8 gigs of memory. It shuts down faster than I pack up my things and go, so that is fast enough for me.

tgfj
tgfj

I progressed from DOS-only to Windows years ago and the best yet (at the time) was 3.11 Win for Workgroups. This OS more than any other pulled the DOSmen into a GUI-loving clan. No other OS has appeared to be as fast or as reliabled but then again OSs now have to do much more and as always the girl/boy we new years ago was........

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

for nine months. I removed it as an unworkable system for many reasons. However, the UI could have been sped up, if that was your only concern, by doing a registry search for a key ShowMenuDelay and setting it to 0 rather than the default 400.

terry
terry

I suspect Cynthia means the user interface. I just cannot get used to Vista. I do not dislike Vista, it is not bad but XP is just more intuitive. I've tried using only Vista for a week or more but just end up back with XP. Just like Office. The new interface breaks things up TOO much.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

that it will not install. Driver issues.

terry
terry

I was not aware that the non-workgroups version existed.

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

The topic is Windows 7. Does Windows 7 exist in a void? I would say that any OS is fair game. The mention of Ubuntu was a comparison to another popular OS, an OS, mind you, that is fully configured at install and that is not subject to the boot time deterioration that Proper Windows (95 +) OS is when you load programs and drivers. I don't see you raising objections to the inclusion of M$ non windows OS's or M$ DOS wrappers such as Windows 1.0 - 3.11. DOS, that even with a wrapper called Windows, is not Windows. Windows is actually an extension of OS/2. I did not bring that comparison up. OS/2 was actually written by M$ under contract to I.B.M. Or are you objecting that I defeated the activations process and am therefore running a pirated version AND that I loaded the system as would typically be used by a customer before conducting a boot test in order to have a valid and meaningful test? Because it would not be an accurate test if W7 were unactivated, I activated W7. Perhaps you are angry that I removed the product ID and the network information to make it more difficult for others to reverse engineer the activation. Perhaps you are angry that I used an anonymous upload site linked to a fictitious email address sent through a Tor client to upload the files because I know that some idiot would try trace who posted those snapshots. In any case, it is a fair comparison. The need to know how the system responds outweighs the activation defeat. Where did that defeat come from? It came from the RTFM or online docs from MS. Add insult to your injury, I defragmented and optimized the boot files in W7 prior to running the test because the file systems used by Linux keep the drives and boot structures optimized. Finally, I am not an M$ fanboy. I use not only what is available, but what the job calls for.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

[i]It is a close toss up between Ubuntu 9.04 at 30 and W7[/i] He also mentioned testing other Windows versions in his subjective testing. If you've been around TR long you'll know that you never have a windows only, linux only or anything-for-that-matter-only conversation here.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Never even get's close. The worst I have done to it is... use it as a laptop, on my lap. Thus partially covering up the only vent on it. Then it gets warmer. Otherwise though, on a proper surface, even deep carpet, its perfectly happy and cool....

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I hibernate the laptop (Latitude 630, XP SP3) between local calls (up to 25 mile drive), but it's a crap shoot whether it will wake up. I wind up restarting it half the time anyway and have had to reimage a couple of times because it wouldn't boot either. Nothing like needing to log on to get calls and having to spend a half-hour on a reimage before you can do it.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

No matter who made it. These prolong the life of the NB by quite a considerably amount and not only keep the unit much cooler than they would otherwise be but keeps the internal Airways clean. Look at the Antec version of these and then go out and buy one of the many offerings available but get an Actively Cooled one that sits under the NB not one of the ones that sits behind the NB or one of the ones that doesn't have their own fans to draw air away form the bottom of the NB. http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NzI= When I started including these will all new NB Sales I have not had one Hardware Issue for repair since. Unfortunately does nothing to stop the people who buy these things from messing up the software but at least I can stop them destroying the Hardware. ;) Col

john3347
john3347

I realize this is off topic, so I will be brief. I was having issues with my laptop that I contributed to heat. I fabricated 4 1/2" spacers to place under the base to improve airflow under the machine. This cured my unexplained shut-downs and internet disconnects, and such problems. The computer still gets quite warm to the touch in the area of the vent, tho.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

but now it is affecting system performance. It will actually shut itself down. The processor gets errors during a cpu test. I keep a notebook cooler at home and I have access to building controls, so my office stays a frigid sub 70 degrees. Up until now heat hasn't been an issue.

Slayer_
Slayer_

These new variable fans suck. I got a Toshiba Tecra next to me, the fan only bothers to engage at 80C. That's just dumb. And you cannot force the fan on, not through BIOS or programs like Speedfan. So the stupid thing overheats and shutsdown constantly. I have a 2 year old HP laptop, I can game on it for hours on end, and it won't pass 40C on the CPU. The fan is almost never on unless the ambient temperature gets over 40C. CPU temperature is 50C. So is it just quality of parts, better heat disbursing design, better fan? Or does Toshiba just suck?

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

the stove or the bottom of my pool. I've suddenly developed overheating issues. Supposedly the weird little dell guy will be here today in order to replace my mb, memory, processor and fan assembly. My issues may be hardware and not os related.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Great for quick shutdowns when your running on UPS power because the buildings power just went out.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Because I'm constantly fixing close friends' or relatives' laptops that have corrupt windows files or registries because they have been "hibernating" them for months or years with very few proper reboots other than the occasional update. I'm not sure what magic happens when you shutdown or reboot, but apparently windows needs it. I honestly wish the hibernating feature would go away. It saves time when it works, but wreaks havoc when it doesn't. Just my opinion tho. I've also witnessed this on many corporate machines as well. If I have any say so, I disable hibernation through group policy.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I had to convince users that "shutting down properly" was not by holding the power button down! Admittedly I did that most days with 95/8

Slayer_
Slayer_

You go start/shutdown And screen flashed black and it said "now safe to turn off your computer" 200mhz machine I did this on, even after the system was alive for years, it was always instant. And no, it wasn't just crashing, it really was shutting down.