Yes, that headline says exactly what you think. We know faster boot times are one of the key goals for Windows 8 (and early testing suggests that goal is being met). So much so that, as Microsoft puts it: “Windows 8 has a problem – it really can boot up too quickly.”
We’ve already discussed one potential problem with a super-fast boot time on Windows 8: it can be hard to access BIOS settings using function keys if there’s no pause before Windows starts loading. Windows 8 is handling that issue by letting you change the boot drive inside Windows itself. Given that one of the most common BIOS alterations is changing the boot drive, that’s a useful start.
The latest post by Microsoft engineers on the Building Windows 8 blog highlights that issue and then discusses some other unexpected consequences of super-speedy booting, such as not being able to use the F8 key to access Safe Mode. To solve this problem, Windows 8 will include a ‘boot options menu’ that can be easily accessed once Windows has already loaded. If there’s a driver problem that actually prevents Windows 8 from loading in the first place, the boot options menu will also automatically be loaded.
The menu relies on newer UEFI hardware, so if you’re running on an older machine, you’ll still need to use traditional keystrokes to get to Safe Mode or change BIOS settings. However, those machines won’t see super-speedy booting in any case, so it’s less likely to be a drama.
If you want to access it the new menu from your machine once Windows has loaded, it’s under the PC settings –> General –> Advanced startup. You can also trigger the menu’s appearance by holding down the Shift click while selecting Restart.
Designing for PCs that boot faster than ever before [Building Windows 8]