I’ll believe it when I see it, but Microsoft is considering a feature for Windows 7 that would boot up to a limited functionality environment in 8 seconds. With a development like this, Microsoft would be pushing PCs well into the appliance space, especially considering some TVs take longer than that to power up. And, it would be a significant differentiator from Microsoft’s open source nemesis, Linux.
Microsoft isn’t promising anything yet, but a recent survey sent out by Microsoft to a group of select users reads:
We would like your feedback on a new concept. The concept is called “Instant On”. Instant On takes your computer from being completely powered down or “turned off” to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time. According to Engadget.
Improving boot up times could do some good in overcoming the perceived flexibility gap between Windows and Linux. Microsoft could be on to something. Most PCs running Windows XP or Vista take a minute or two to boot, and compared with turning on a lamp or microwave, that’s a long time. Users have been willing to accept the slower response time because of the eclectic functionality PCs provide. But that doesn’t make them any more patient. How many times have you grabbed a beverage, filled the dishwasher or played with your pet while a PC clunks to life?
Of course, Microsoft certainly isn’t the first to think about this feature. SplashTop has been working on it for a while now and integrates with the hardware on ASUS PCs, some of which are powered by open source Linux. With SplashTop enabled PCs, it’s possible to quick boot into a set of specific applications like web, image sharing, and online games.
Microsoft is considering similar functionality for its twist on this in Windows 7, focusing specifically on web browsing, media playback, and instant messaging.
Linux has and Windows seem to have fairly comparable boot times right now, here’s a video comparison between Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista: