Windows

Windows 7 boots more slowly than Vista

In some cases, Windows 7 seems to boot more slowly than Windows Vista. If you've worked with Windows 7, what's your boot experience been like?

Personnel at Iolo Technologies, a vendor of system utility software, have found that Windows 7 often takes more time to boot than Windows Vista.

According to a CNET News article by Ina Fried, Iolo's lab unit "found that a brand-new machine running Windows 7 takes a minute and 34 seconds to become usable, as compared to a minute and 6 seconds for Windows Vista." In defining boot time, Iolo measured how long the operating system took to become fully useable "with CPU cycles no longer significantly high and a true idle state achieved."

Iolo's results mirror the experience of CNET testers, and apparently many TechRepublic users. In August 2009, I asked members which Windows version they believe had the fastest, most stable boot process?

As of this writing, over 6,000 members have taken the poll, and Windows XP is the clear winner with 58 percent of the vote. In all fairness to Windows 7, the numbers are likely skewed by the prevalence of Windows XP among those responding to the poll.

If you've been playing with Widows 7, what's your boot experience been like? Has it been faster or slower compared to other Windows versions?

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...

63 comments
pandemoniumctp
pandemoniumctp

Ridiculous. How skewed are these results? Are they typically being done on older machines? I've been running 7 for about four months now and it boots much faster than any previous version of Windows I've ran. From end of bios IRQ settings, my computer takes roughly 25 seconds to load all startup applications and be completely usable (including anti-virus, trillian, ATI system tray, etc...). Maybe I just have a super computer that only cost $1k US for me to build myself? /sarcasm off

geekognov
geekognov

Was this done after an update?

Cloud737
Cloud737

In that case, I can probably understand, but isn't XP booting slower not because of how it's programmed to boot, but how many applications and services are needed to run at startup? Do you think that if it would have Vista or Windows 7 installed that it would boot up faster, considering you still had 2342617 applications and services that needed to boot at startup? Note: Sorry for posting this here, the site would flat out refuse to post my message as a reply (claiming either database errors, or that the message I wanted to post was a duplicate of my last).

cnet
cnet

XP booted at the office so slowly that I finally resolved never to turn off the computer. So for about 8 years I only rebooted it. Even if leaving for the weekend (in case I wanted to remote in over the weekend, it would be ready). So a slow boot time caused me to kill a lot of barrels of oil. That's how important this is.

Cloud737
Cloud737

You don't know how much 28 seconds per day can account to. Like, in one year, you'd have wasted 10,220 seconds! That means almost 3 hours!! You can't imagine the downtime businesses suffer and the boredom users have to go through, especially since booting up a computer is probably something you only do once a day! The horror!! I propose we file class lawsuit against Microsoft for stealing so much of our precious lives! [/sarcasm] Now, really, why is OS boot time so important? Unless it's, of course, longer than 5 minutes (or the difference greater than 2 minutes), what's the point? It's like the OS war: "Ooooh, I'm 0.00324523 seconds faster!! I WIIIIIIIN!" when the browser claiming that takes one second just to open or close AN EMPTY TAB! That really frustrates me, since the browser really seems like king of laziness and sluggishness. Not to mention that browser speed these days is almost irrelevant, since they're so close it'd be hard to even notice the difference. The real emphasis should have been put on usability, features and extensibility, but instead all marketing effort went into the micro-difference in speed (although they didn't exact numbers in the banners themselves, that information was somehow hidden from common folk and displayed only to the curious people actually searching for it). Anyway, I won't say names, but let's say it's related to this article. So, anyway, while are we complaining about a 28 seconds difference in boot time? More importantly, why are talking about Microsoft only? What about Mac and Linux? Oh, I forgot, they're not the scapegoat. Yes, Microsoft is more prevalent and you have more hits if you talk about it, and if you don't have anything good to talk about, there's always the pointless "Boot War" you can resurrect and skew in your favor to create sensationalism where there is none. If all OSes were to follow your stupid boot war, we would have stuck to DOS (or for you that don't know what that is, Windows 95) all these years. After all, it is THE fastest, unquestionable winner of the boot war on modern machines today... if it manages to boot on them despite the severe lack of driver support and old architecture. But that's irrelevant!

bjames105
bjames105

Nowadays it's getting to where hardware is extremely powerful for a very low price. I don't think this is completely relevant since hardware advances have decreased the boot times with these operating systems.

JoeG2680
JoeG2680

Yeah right, it boots ten times faster, depending on what version of Vista you compare it to, I have WIndows 7 ultimate and it screams on a dual core 3gb ram, which I had when I have Vista Ultimate which bogged down my sister still. Windows 7 is vista on steriods

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

Eversince Windows 7 is around from Betta,RC,RTM and up to this moment my machine is a dual boot with Ultimate Vista and and Ultimate Windows 7. I am even once tried to triple boot my machine with XP pro sp3 and the said two other windows for about a week during the time of RC, but what I found is to lean on windows 7 not only much more faster to boot but more easier to use and yet the most advance and elegant in features.

toolongregisterform
toolongregisterform

are you serious? couple of seconds?? that's of course might vary based on the machine. even if not, it does not matter much. vista is terrible. Windows 7 is faster than XP and more stable.

aboulhjh
aboulhjh

No it doesn't. You need a new computer, Seven always boots faster than Vista. Sorry.

Hans.Hilberink
Hans.Hilberink

If you have Windows Vista on a netbook and installed correctly to run on a netbook smoothly, with readyboost etc installed and some other stuff removed, you can get Vista started on a netbook within 45 seconds, yes indeed but only a normal boot, when you updated after a usual Windoes update a boot can take 3 minutes. Here is proof that Microsoft knows what its doing, but does not tell that to the user. The user has to find out by himself. Behaviour of Microsoft as awkward as Windows UAC......... kind regards, PE1MMK

tenrozz2004
tenrozz2004

Not a chance.....windows 7 boots twice as fast as vista ever could!!!! Where do u get your facts?

Technous285
Technous285

Interesting... I'm dual-booting between XP SP3 & Win7 RC1 (both 32-bit) on a (rather crappy) Dell GX520 (64-bit board & 3GHz CPU) with 4GB of RAM installed. From cold boot to OS selection (eg: GRUB or Lilo) it is about a minute or so, however AFTER the OS selection (XP or 7) is where things really get interesting. From selection of Win7 to login is about a minute to a minute and a half, usually long enough for me to get a drink from the fridge and get back before logging in. From selection of XP to login varies anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes (not including time for if it wants to force drive checks), which is enough time to get a drink and make at least one sandwich before the system is ready to log in. Something tells me there has GOT to be something screwy here, as XP Pro SP2 on a dual-core (32-bit) 3GHz P4 with 3GB would load about as Win7 does on this current rig of mine.

kleczerx
kleczerx

I prefer Windows 7 to any previous Windows version thus far; and I have used, for length of time, each of the previous. I have used Windows 7 through the beta process and build 7600 from conception to today. BUT, with build 7600 my boot time, counting from first appearances of the DOS fonts to first showing of the desktop is 3-minutes constantly; I do not login. I have my sytem up 24x7 therefore booting times are not important in my operation; but I would like to know what my reason is. I have included numerous suggested internal fixes to speed booting and operating, nothing knocks it off the 3-minute mark. Yet, my desktop configuation is: Win7600 x64 Ultimate, Rampage II Extreme Montherboard, Intel Core i7 Processor Quad-core desktop and 12.0 GB of RAM. The boot time is consistend after a fresh install of ONLY Win7600, and Win7600 with a load of peripheral software. The extended delay is with the Windows 7 cycle prior to entering the desktop. I have done everything from a Safe Boot, without services boot, maintenance boot etc and the time of 3-minutes stands. All my devices are in service. Any comments or ideas. Added Post: Since the original post, I have solved my problem of the 'slow boot' by recognizing that one of my 4 hard disks was incorrectly formatted. My F-Drive had left-over's of a boot sector thus having my OS system take the extra time to look at it during a boot; totalling 3-minutes. Since reformatting the hard drive without a boot sector present, my desktop now boots at 45-seconds before being able to use it without the system or start-up applications interfering. To get to this state did not require me taking-down applications or other setups.

carlsf
carlsf

I did get a good boot speed I booted WIN7 off my system, it works great NOW.....

info
info

You make an article saying that windows 7 boots more slowly than Vista, and then you can vote on windows 95 and xp? Whats up with that! Well, i have been running windows 7 RC1 since the release date, and RTM since it came on my companys MSDN, and in all my cases windows 7 is much faster than windows vista.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

My experience over the last couple of months has been that it does generally boot slightly faster than Windows Vista.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

I've found Windows 7 to be far faster than XP Pro. Now some folk might think that's because I'm booting with less than XP Pro booted with, but in actual fact Windows 7 boots with MORE auxiliary programs and still boots faster. I have a feeling that this survey may not be entirely true to form. To glean a definitive result, it would really be necessary to compare the computer systems that Windows 7 was being launched on! Without that comparable value the entire Poll is an utter waste of time. ;)

zookrod
zookrod

When I boot to Win7 I have the most stable OS I've ever seen. That's more important to me than whether it boots faster than Vista! I've got my Vista install tuned to boot really fast. But so what, I boot faster to an OS that sucks! I'll wait a couple of milliseconds longer for a decent OS. And I bet with a bit of tuning it will be equal or better. This is just hype for another headline really.

jeffwp27577
jeffwp27577

For me Win 7 is the fastest of all versions by a mile. It even boots faster than Ubuntu for me. And I'm not talking about a clean boot either. I've got about 10 programs that run at start-up. And doing a restart is almost instant. With Vista, I could tell it to restart, get up and go to the kitchen and get a drink and when I got back it still wouldn't be finished. With 7 I can barely even get out of my chair before it's done.

jpdecesare
jpdecesare

I now use Win 7 Ultimate (from my MSDN) after 2? years of Vista, and one of the biggest joys with 7 is how FAST it boots up. Maybe I'm missing something... Now, the "trick". Some folks aren't aware that Vista and 7 only use ONE CORE to boot up on. Why is that the default?? C'mon Microsoft, that's an easy fix! Here's how to boot up on ALL cores: -MSCONFIG at the Run Command -Click on the Boot tab -Click Advanced Options -Click the "Number of Processors" CheckBox to "on" -Select the max number from the drop down list. Reboot and see if you get faster boot times!

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Eeesh. Why Win 95 or ME? I think Win 98 was more popular than either. :-)

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

Then TR link to them! That is just a plain advert opp. Is this what it has come to TR, really?

wbranch
wbranch

I think there can be other factors too. My work PC has a horrible boot-up time on Vista (much slower than the reported 1:06 reported above). However, there are various work-related programs installed that have to kick on at start-up, so I think that skews things. My home PC is XP, and I'm logged in within a minute, but there is a loading time thereafter before I can launch an app (about another 30 seconds to a minute) and then IE takes a little time the first time because of my firewall (about 10-20 seconds the first time). It all depends on what you have running on your machine, not just the OS. I'll bet if you didn't install any AV/Firewall or any programs at startup, you could probably have any of these OSes come up in a minute without issue, given the right hardware.

Piets5983
Piets5983

My company has been moving over to Win 7 steadaly and if the hardware is up to scratch then it is faster.Even with 2GB ram.I believe it to be stable as well.If Laptops like Dell that get's blue screen - you must look at graphic card and update and sound card. that was the only problems. Thanks Maveric

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the above blog post, I mention reports from Iolo Technologies and CNET that show Windows 7 boot more slowly than Windows Vista. Original post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1075 But does the difference really matter if it's measured in seconds? According to the Iolo report, Windows 7 takes a minute and 34 seconds to become usable, as compared to a minute and 6 seconds on Windows Vista--a difference of 28 seconds. Is 28 seconds really a game changer when it comes to booting an OS? Would you even notice the difference?

kleczerx
kleczerx

I kept searching for a reason why my Windows 7 was booting to three-minute. I now have it booting to a respectful 1.5 minutes. It seems that one of my hard disks (other than the C: drive) was incorrectly formatted. Though it operated properly otherwise, I suspect it had an old boot sector that both Vista and Win 7 responded too and may have wasted time looking at during the boot. I removed my data off the drive, reformatted and then returned the data. All was well after this.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Between a Gigabit and a Gigabyte. 12 Gigabits, as you keep saying, is pretty low for this day and age. You'd have trouble running vista with that. 12 Gigabytes however, is vastly excessive and I can't ever see a use for that unless your running a shit load of VM's, each requiring a lot of memory.

Slayer_
Slayer_

You only have 1.5 gigabytes of RAM (12gbits).

santeewelding
santeewelding

My quantum, light-wave system has it up last week.

isijackson
isijackson

I am all for windows 7 its is faster for me by far, i used to have programs crash if i had many windows running in earlier operating systems, with windows 7, the sky is the limit, when it comes to shutting down the computer you can even force it to close all the windows that are currrently open.

Aragorn7
Aragorn7

I, too, am dual-booting XP Home and Windows 7 Ultimate on an Asus eee pc 1000he netbook with 2GB RAM. XP Home boots in about 35 seconds and Win7 takes about 50, which is still way faster than my Vista PCs. Once Win7 boots up on my netbook, it works far more efficiently than XP Home. I think the makers of System Mechanic need to re-evaluate.

woomera
woomera

Don't you read the adds? "With Windows you can do more in less time." LOL - who goes to work and uses a pc full speed all day? A little time to drink your coffee would be a bonus. ^^ Seriously Win7 wins hands down without a doubt as long as start up programs are reduced to a minimum!

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Hello, My Win 7 pro uses both cores of my dual core to start right out of the box. Maybe it is a 32 vs 64bit thing?

GreyFoxTech
GreyFoxTech

You are incorrect. If you leave that option greyed out, which is the default, it exploits every core. That option is for the rare times you need to LIMIT the number of processors (it only ever came up on dual-processor motherboards) it uses on startup and should only be used by competent service technicians. It's not booting faster for you, you are imagining it.

Ron_007
Ron_007

It's a reflection of MS's very conservative approach. I've seen it before in other areas. For example, up through XP (didn't see enough Vista installs to be sure) for CRT monitors Win would install with the lowest refresh rate, 60 khz, and a relatively low resolution, regardless of the hardware capability. People would buy upgraded video cards and high end CRT monitors but would not get the full benefit of their investment in hardware. Every XP PC that I looked at worked "better" after doing those 2 minor tweaks. Better image due to higher refresh rate, and more "working area" due to higher resolution. Granted, it is less of an issue now that most monitors are LCD rather CRT. LCD refresh rates and resolutions are much more limited than CRT.

ryan
ryan

I'm not sure why we are trying to compare any aspect of Xp/vista/7 to Windows 98 or Me. Me and 98 are both very old OSs and their structure is completely different from the newer OSs. 98 and Me should be forgotten about and laid to rest. This is like comparing a 2010 Corvette to an 75' Pinto.

dougogd
dougogd

Then my start up went to 2 min 30 seconds. I am talking cold boot to full usage.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Hello, A user may be frustrated that they have to wait a half a minute longer for an OS to load. Loading is a very subjective thing when you measure a boot up. I've seen XP machines load very quickly and I've seen them load in a few minutes. The real factor seems to me to be how much software you are loading at start up. If you have a full Adobe suite and a full MS Office suite and a myriad of other programs installed; the processor is going to be slammed and RAM is going to be choked. The delay loading that can be used in Win 7 (pro for me, not sure of the other lower versions) to delay chosen program starts. A selective start up can really help boot time;XP seemed to only allowed tweaking that through msconfig or via started services. Many of installed applications also use a helper service to allow quick program start during normal use. I know that many such programs have boot start helpers which can be disabled if you are willing to wait a few extra seconds for the program to start after a boot. To return to Mr. Detwiler's discussion: Waiting a few extra seconds for the OS to load seems almost without perception. Many users will complain loudly if their machine takes a minute and a half or more. I believe it is a matter of configuration and hardware used. Somehow I seem to dislike my XP start up when I have Win 7 going :D.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

28 seconds is 28 seconds. If one is just sitting at home on one's a**, goofing off, not on a time clock schedule, and only booting up once a day. It's not a big deal. If however, one is doing work of a nature such that you need to boot up from a cold start or re-boot repeatedly during the day, ANY extra boot up time can become very annoying quickly. A couple of seconds ... no big deal. But if, for instance, one is troubleshooting/fixing a problem that requires numerous re-booting sessions ... an extra 28 seconds can seem to take forever. After all, one wishes to get on with it, see the results of the last action, and get done and move on to the next bit of work. Or, if one needs to routinely shut down one's laptop, move to another location and then fire it up again (as is the case in much of my work) any extra boot time can be annoying. All that said, the extra 28 seconds would not necessarily be a "game changer" for me. I haven't tried Win 7 as of yet. And my experience with Vista has been limited. However, what experience I HAVE had with Vista, hasn't impressed me in the least. If Win 7 is a significant improvement over Vista, I'd rather put up with the extra boot time (IF there is truly an extra boot time involved) than to deal with Vista. Stability, usability, and reliability are more important to me in an OS than such things as boot up times.

wizzardsblog
wizzardsblog

28 seconds isn't really big deal, by the time you've gone to get your first coffee of the day, Windows 7 will have booted up.

billfranke
billfranke

Yes, it does in some situations. I don't have Vista on any of my desktops, notebooks, or netbooks, so I can't compare Win7 with Vista. I can, however, unequivocally say that Win7 boots significantly faster than XP Pro on all the machines in my house. My son's laptop has Vista, and he's happier with that than with XP Pro and Win7, but he hasn't said anything about boot time. Before I retired from my teaching job, I often remembered at the last minute that I had forgotten to copy a file crucial for that day's lessons to my portable USB HDD. Then I'd have to boot up XP, wait and wait and wait, and then copy the file. (Now I use Dropbox.com to store all those critical files on the Net.) I didn't want to wait any longer than I had to, because I didn't want to be late to class.

SoldierJedi
SoldierJedi

Try sitting at your desk, staring at your computer, *without touching a thing*, for half a minute. Then imagine having to do that every day. The huge problem with all of these OSes is that what's on-screen doesn't necessarily reflect what you can *do* at that point. How often have we seen an install progress bar zip through 0-99% in seconds, then take two minutes to complete that last 1%, effectively weighting that last "1%" much higher than the previous 99%? Seeing a desktop, Start button, and all tray items and yet still getting no response because Windows is *still loading* is highly frustrating, especially for techs who tune themselves to detect minor fluctuations in performance ("I'm sure this PC never took this long to load yesterday - better check the logs and startup items - see if I've picked up some malware", etc). How about getting in your car, starting up , but being unable to put the car in gear and drive off because the gearbox sensors hadn't initialised, or the dashboard hadn't completed "loading". 28 seconds might sound insignificant in the overall scheme of things, but it's the difference between "expected" and "actual" - which can be so small it's only registered by the subconscious, which will then nag you to try to work out "what's wrong"...

bboyd
bboyd

Turned off the services I don't need and others set to delayed start. Boots nicely but on startup thing getting check immediately like email are up and running before some of the services like print spooling on the personal machines i have.

darklinx
darklinx

To be honest I think Win7 boots faster then Vista or XP. I think the best way to rate the boot speeds is to go from cold, to the logon screen, which feels much faster to me. However, I hardly have to reboot my machine with 7 on it so I hardly notice.

kleczerx
kleczerx

I yield to the learned fellow for putting out a question and not willing to follow-up with the answer; but of course everyone knows the difference. The gigabit is a measure of data transmitted and the Gigabyte measures stored information like that on a hard drive. What you say? Explain more of the difference? The difference eluded too by my overseer is about 8-times; 8-bits make up a single byte or the size of a single text character. Thereby, with me having suggested 12.0 gb rather than 12.0 GB (note the case difference) I misrepresented my RAM by 96-billion bits of data. I extend my apologies.

kleczerx
kleczerx

A description of the PC's makeup is in support of the question why it takes 3-minutes to boot. Rather than write for the sake of writing and not present an in sight to the problem, you detour and question why that amount of RAM? Please be more focused, otherwise open a new stream of thought on the question in hand...Booting in Windows 7. Thanks!

woomera
woomera

Posted in the wrong place! :-(

jpdecesare
jpdecesare

Gee, do you think you could be a bit more unfriendly? Then we wonder why people have a bad attitude towards IT folks. No problem, I'll go back to La-La Land and float around on a cloud because of the horror that we don't get the boot times we all want. Oh, we are so inconvenienced, how DO we ever make it day to day?

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Speaking only about XP Pro, I've noted an increase in boot time with SP3. But nothing like 2 min and 30 seconds, on a machine with a lean boot up configured (no excess/unneeded apps/services loading automatically on boot). Which is how I keep all machines used to accomplish real work configured. Its the nature of the work I do that which apps I'll need to use at any particular session varies considerably. So I keep things configured to auto start only necessary services. And manually start up apps only as I need them. This is not as inconvenient as it might seem at first blush as I use a variety of shortcut methods to make the launching of needed apps fast, requiring minimal keystrokes or mousing around. This discussion of boot times is interesting and I'm following it, for informational purposes. But the fact is that booting up from a cold start is so affected by so many factors that I always take the quoted boot up times with a grain of salt.

dougogd
dougogd

If you have to wait for the computer to boot and you are in a hurry then it can be a big deal. If you are just loafing around then it isn't a big deal. So do you loaf around on the job or do you work and get more work done because you save a few seconds here and there. Another example 38 seconds every 2 minutes wasted is how much time wasted out of an eight hour day. Waste not want not.

Jye75
Jye75

My boot speed decreased dramatically when moving from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate. Shut down speed also decreased dramatically. I'm loving Windows 7.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I know Video card software adds a lot of time. Sound card. Startup services, etc. I know its annoying, but it's all about what you have installed. You think it make sense that my parents computer, which is a 1.3ghz machine with 1 gig of RAM running XP home, with all manor of security software, can boot up from Post to desktop in less than 30 seconds? While my 3ghz machine with 3 gigs of RAM takes almost 3 minutes to boot? The only real difference software wise on our machines, is the size of our registries, mine is massive. But if I disable some startup programs, like the nVidia driver programs, it boots hella faster. On a fresh install of my system, without any drivers installed at all, it booted up in 16 seconds flat, from post to desktop. Also, Windows 7 is a beta, wait for the final version. Remember Vista was fast when it was Beta, but in the final release it was slow. Oh wait, that won't help you... Then just hope that it's immature drivers that are slowing you down.

ftemplin1465
ftemplin1465

When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity.

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

Shutdown is WAY faster on 7 (RTM) than XP or Vista. 7 is also faster at booting for me. I'm much happier with 7 in terms of performance and usability than either XP or Vista. IMO (and assuming new hardware), the people that are still clinging to XP for performance or usability reasons are just being closed minded and/or resisting change. Windows 7 has been great already (I'm not implying it's perfect).

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