Windows 7 Beta Boasts Sub-30 Second Boot Time

Windows 7 Beta Boasts Sub-30 Second Boot Time

The latest Windows 7 beta offers an even speedier startup than its predecessor: for me the beta boots to a fully functional desktop in under 30 seconds, faster than the preview.

On the same exact computer, where I’m triple-booting Vista, XP, and now the Windows 7 beta (build 7000), I ran a set of startup tests to pit the beta against the rest, using my previous measurements. Here’s what I found.

The hardware: My test system has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 3.16GHz with 4GB of RAM. Windows XP, Vista, and the Windows 7 beta build 7000 are all installed on the same, physical SATA hard drive (partitioned, of course).

The test: Since I’m triple-booting the three operating systems, I used a simple handheld timer to get my numbers, starting at the “Choose your operating system” screen (which comes after the BIOS startup) and ending at a fully functional desktop in my first set of tests, then the user login screen in my second. I timed each OS startup three times and averaged the results to account for my fat fingers.

Test Set 1: From Boot Choice to Fully-loaded User Desktop

For this test set, I created a non-Administrator user account with nothing in startup, and set Windows to automatically log into it on boot. These numbers start at the OS boot choice screen, and end at a fully-functional, user desktop. This isn’t a true test of how long a desktop would render in real-world usage, because most people DO have programs in their startup. But these tests are to compare Windows version performance, not third-party software. That all said, the numbers:

Operating System Average time to reach desktop
Windows 7 Ultimate
(Beta, Build 7000, 32-bit)
28 seconds
Windows 7 Ultimate
(Preview, Build 6801, PDC edition, 32-bit)
32 seconds
Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit, SP1) 33 seconds
Windows XP Professional (SP3) 40 seconds

Here you can see that for the first time, Windows is offering a sub-30 second start time on pretty standard modern hardware, for the first time in at least a long time (if ever, I don’t have a copy of Windows 95 or 3.1 to test). Of course, Microsoft claims that Vista boots in under 30 seconds already, but that’s not the case on my tower, or in anyone’s real world experience. The figures you see will be heavily influenced by how beefy your hardware is.

Test Set 2: From Boot Choice to User Login Screen

This test measures the amount of time from the boot OS choice screen to the user login prompt only, hence the shorter times.

Operating System Average time to reach login prompt
Windows 7 Ultimate
(Beta, build 7000, 32-bit)
20 seconds
Windows 7 Ultimate
(Preview, Build 6801, PDC edition, 32-bit)
23 seconds
Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit, SP1) 24 seconds
Windows XP Professional (SP3) 29 seconds

The Results

As you can see, the Windows 7 beta took 4 seconds off the time it takes to render a usable desktop as compared to the Win7 Preview, which adds up to a 12-second difference from Windows XP. The beta shaved 3 seconds off the boot time to login prompt as compared to the preview build.

I can hear the comments already—”are we really talking about THREE SECONDS?” Yes, neither of these are earth-shattering improvements, but they are clear and consistent speed boosts, and hopefully they’re a sign that things will get even faster since Windows 7 is still in beta.

Anyone out there move over to the Windows 7 beta full-time? What are your impressions? Post ’em up in the comments.


  • Yep, been on Windows 7 beta full time for about a week. Much quicker response time than any Windows I’ve used before. Only issue I’ve had has been with a soundcard driver, but the card is quite old so no real suprise there.

    Even iTunes isn’t having an issue (unlike the first 6 months of Vista).

    I’m sold.

  • The Windows 7 Beta 7000 build is great except that Media Centre does not seem to work in Australia. Every time I try, it it hangs permanently during the tuner set up when it goes off to Microsoft to get some guide information that Microsoft does not even provide in Australia. Very annoying

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