That number is even more impressive considering that Windows 8 has a built-in handicap. To measure startup time, we command Windows to open a text file in the PC’s startup folder, and time how long it takes from when we hit the power button to when that text file opens. Because Windows 8 starts up in the Metro interface, not the traditional Desktop, our testbed had to boot up, load the Metro interface, and then load the Desktop to get to that text file.The average time to get to the Windows 8 start screen (without getting to the desktop) is even faster -- just 23.91 seconds. And this is on a spinning platter hard drive – if you’ve upgraded to a solid state drive, your startup time will be even quicker.
Why is Windows 8 so quick to start up? With the latest incarnation of Windows, Microsoft has introduced a new “hybrid boot,” combining the speed and functionality of Windows’ hibernate mode, and the benefits a fresh startup session.
A bit of background: When you choose to shut down your PC, Windows closes all running applications and services and then powers down. When you choose the hibernate option, Windows writes everything currently in RAM to a file on your hard drive, then shuts down. This adds some time to the shut down process, but your PC will boot faster and be right where you left it before hibernating. In Windows 8, shutting down your PC closes all running applications, but hibernates the underlying operating system. When you turn your PC back on, Windows 8 will load that saved state much faster. The bottom line is that it's just like a clean boot in a fraction of the time. The Building Windows 8 blog details the architectural changes.
The strides that Microsoft has made in hardware acceleration and browser optimization are evident here, with Windows 8 having a frames per second score that’s 50 percent better than the same system running Windows 7.
The differences aren’t as great in our Content Creation tests, which measure how well a machine performs in encoding audio and video, and editing images. Our system running Windows 7 was a bit faster than the same system running Windows 8. Those differences are rarely greater than a few seconds, though, and the results could change dramatically once updated video drivers are introduced for Windows 8.