Windows 8 Boot

Windows 8 Faster Boot

Windows 8 will boot even faster than Windows 7, it may be as quick as 20 seconds as opposed to about a minute for current Windows machines.

Windows 8 Boot Topics


Faster Windows 8 Boot

The key is that a Windows 8 shutdown will involve elements of existing hibernation technology.  Even though the shutdown machine uses no power, it will have settings stored in a hiberfile, thus the new hybrid fast start will only take half the time of a Windows 7 machine, or a ‘cold start’ in Windows 8.  There are also improvements in Wi-Fi networking so that Windows 8 machines connect to the internet in less than 2 seconds from emerging from sleep.

It will also be possible to select programs or services for a Delayed Startup, the result is you get the programs you need immediately after booting that bit quicker.  Awakening from sleep will also be less hesitant. Naturally the hiberfile will consume disk space, but even if it needs a physical file equivalent to 25% of RAM that should not inconvenience most modern systems.

For extra security you can use an encrypted hard drive to boot Windows 8, and they’ll integrate with BitLocker and third-party security apps.  There are also better recovery procedures if you have to repair/reinstall.

Windows 8 Boot

Shift in Thinking For Windows 8
I wonder will the faster booting encourage more people to turn off their Windows 8 machines each night.  Or counter-intuitively, will realization of the technology mean that more people leave their machines on semi-permanently?

Fast Startup Problems in Windows 8

  • The computer hang when shutting down. 
  • Computer restarts of it's own accord as soon as the sign in screen appears.
  • Dual Booting with Windows 7 or Vista results in a hang when you revert to Windows 8.

To turn off Fast Startup, seek the Power Options in the Control Panel.  Start with 'Choose what the power buttons do'.  Remember to 'Change settings that are not currently available'.  Remove the tick next to 'Turn on fast startup'

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SolarWinds’ Orion performance monitor will help you discover what’s happening on your network.  This utility will also guide you through troubleshooting; the dashboard will indicate whether the root cause is a broken link, faulty equipment or resource overload.

What I like best is the way NPM suggests solutions to network problems.  Its also has the ability to monitor the health of individual VMware virtual machines.  If you are interested in troubleshooting, and creating network maps, then I recommend that you try NPM now.

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Windows 8 Boot LoaderWindows 8 Boot Loader - F8

With all Microsoft operating systems the boot loader screen does not normally appear, however, there is a well-known technique to check the options at start-up:

Press F8 (Function key 8)
If you see the Windows 8 logo then you have missed the boot loader screen.  Shut down and try again.

My technique is to keep the F8 key depressed, then let it up for 5 seconds, down, up for 5 seconds until I saw this screen:-

The result is a new GUI for familiar F8 tasks; for instance, one common tweak is to re-order the operating systems on multi-boot machines, for example to switch the default from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

How to Boot Into Windows 8 Safe ModeWindows 8 Safe Mode

  1. Launch MSCONFIG. (From the Start screen, type MSCONFIG, and click MSCONFIG.)
  2. Select the Boot tab.
  3. From the Boot Options, check the Safe Boot box.
  4. I recommend you select the radio button: Minimal.  However there are other options as you can see from the screenshot opposite.
  5. Click OK and then restart your PC.

Windows 8 BCD (Boot Configuration Data)

Boot.ini settings have been replaced with BCD (Boot configuration data).  These settings provide complete control of what happens once you power-on your Windows 8 computer, for example -timeout 10, or -displayorder on dual boot machines.

Compared with the pre-Vista boot.ini making changes is tricky until you understand the settings.  See more on Windows 8 BCDEdit.

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LEM will alert you to problems such as when a key application on a particular server is unavailable.  It can also detect when services have stopped, or if there is a network latency problem.  Perhaps this log and event management tool’s most interesting ability is to take corrective action, for example by restarting services, or isolating the source of a maleware attack.

Yet perhaps the killer reason why people use LEM is for its compliance capability, with a little help from you, it will ensure that your organization complies with industry standards such as CISP or FERPA.  LEM is a really smart application that can make correlations between data in different logs, then use its built-in logic to take corrective action, to restart services, or thwart potential security breaches – give LEM a whirl.

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Windows 8 Delayed Startup

It is now easier to delay the startup of non-urgent programs on startup.  Here is a diversion to look at a PowerShell script to show the order which programs launch.

Get-Process | where {$_.StartTime} | sort StartTime | Ft Name, StartTime -auto

See more on Windows 8 PowerShell

Troubleshooting Categories:Windows 8 Boot Loader - F8

Another use for intercepting the boot process is to affect a repair; here are your options:

  • Refresh your PC – Reload Windows 8 keep your personal documents and photos
  • Reset your PC – Return to original configuration
  • Advanced options – System Restore, System Image Recovery, Automatic Repair, or Command Prompt.
  • Note: Surprise!  There is no Last Known Good in Windows 8.

Windows 8’s Soft Keyboard

One constant feature of Windows 8 is support for tablet and other forms which don’t have a keyboard.  If you are trying to repair a tablet from the command line it would be frustrating to have to find a physical keyboard, hence the ‘Soft Keyboard’.Windows 8 Boot Loader - F8

Underneath the password box is a white dot, on a touchscreen, as you drag the dot down, so the soft keyboard appears.  It’s now a trivial task to touch the keys corresponding to your password, or any other instructions you need to give the boot loader.

Note a red arrow on screenshot to the right.

Old Vista / Windows 7 Style Menu

Windows 8 Boot Loader - F8

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Encouraging computers to sleep when they’re not in use is a great idea – until you are away from your desk and need a file on that remote sleeping machine!

WOL also has business uses for example, rousing machines so that they can have update patches applied.  My real reason for recommending you download this free tool is because it’s so much fun sending those ‘Magic Packets’. Give WOL a try – it’s free.

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Related New Features

Create a Bootable USB Drive
If you want to Repair an existing Windows 8 installation, or just fancy ‘Windows to Go’, then with the help of Microsoft’s USB/DVD download tool you can create a bootable USB stick.  See more on creating a bootable USB drive.

Microsoft Windows 8 Requirements
No new features here!  Windows 8 will need the same or lower system requirements than its predecessors.  One of its cleverest features is the way Windows 8 adapts to a huge variety of form factors, it recognises computers with our without keyboards and different screen widths, and adjusts accordingly.  Nevertheless, if possible choose a recommended screen size, so that you can activate the menus near the screen edge.

ARM (Advanced RISC Machine)
This will be the first Microsoft operating system to run on ARM hardware, the benefits are for laptop and tablet computers, for example, extended battery life.  While the ARM versions of Windows 8 provide the full Windows experience, they don’t have backwards compatibility with existing apps.

Windows 8 will also support 128-bit processors, however after my problems with 64-bit drivers will make me reluctant to be an early adopter next time we have a change in architecture.

MinWin Windows Mini-kernel
MinWin’s role is to reduce operating system dependencies, and thus minimise the Windows Core.  Windows 8 improves on work on MinWin which started in Windows 7.

Windows 8 UEFI
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is a 2010s specification.  It interfaces between the operating systems and platform firmware and one day will replace the BIOS.  The main benefit of UEFI to Windows 8 is speed of loading, a welcome side effect is less distracting flashing screens as the operating system initializes.

The Windows 8 ‘Jupiter’ application model will encourage developers to create Silverlight based apps deployed as AppX packages.

Windows 8 Has Location Sensors
Microsoft provide the technology for a laptop, tablet or phone to make use of physical sensors to detect light, temperature and physical location, however, only if the laptop manufacturers incorporate sensors will this really improve the user’s experience. 

USB 3.0
One welcome feature of Windows 8 is native support for USB 3.0 devices.  As a result we’ll get data transfer speeds at least 5 times faster than USB 2.0, and the theoretical limit is raised to 5 GB/s.  As a bonus USB 3.0 also uses less power. 

Now you can use USB 3.0 ports in Windows 7 already, but in Windows 8 you will get native support for USB 3.0 thus avoiding having to download third-party drivers.

Not a new, but a great feature to speed-up Windows 8 booting, just as it did in Windows 8.  Worth examining the \windows\prefetch\ folder.

Next: See how to make a bootable USB drive. »

Summary of Guy’s Windows 8 Boot

All that you need to know is that Windows 8 will now boot in less than 30 seconds.  If you need to make changes to the Boot Configuration then check out BCEDIT »

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Microsoft Windows 8 Boot Topics

Windows 8 Overview  • Windows 8 BCDEdit  • Windows 8 Dual Boot  • Windows 8 Bootable USB Drive

New Features Windows 8  • Windows 8 Uninstall  • Windows 8 Install & Boot  • Free Wake-on-Lan Tool

Windows 8 MSConfig Startup  • Windows 8 Event Viewer  • Windows 8 Boot  • Windows 8 MinWin