24 May 2012

The Microsoft team has been busy talking about Windows 8 boot times.  And the most recent discussion surrounds the fact that the system can boot too quickly at times.  How is this a bad thing you ask?  Read on to find out.

Microsoft claims that Windows 8 can boot in as few as seven seconds at least with an SSD drive.  Cheers erupt from the crowd upon hearing this statement, but Microsoft says this isn't necessarily a good thing, especially if you need to interrupt the boot.  Apparently things boot so quickly there isn't even enough time to detect keystrokes such as F2 or F8 according to Microsoft's Chris Clark.  Clark says that Microsoft is not about to cut the fast boot time to preserve keystrokes, but there is a solution for those of us that like to press F8 or see the "Press F2 for Setup."

To work around this issue Microsoft uses a combination of three solutions to do everything that could be done before.   This includes booting from an alternative device, accessing the BIOS, using System Restore, or troubleshooting.

Windows 8 now has a boot options menu that contains all of the troubleshooting tools, developer-focused options for Windows startup, methods for accessing the firmware's BIOS setup and a method for booting to other devices.  This boot options menu lives in a realm that is called WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment).  In addition there is now specific "failover behaviors" that will automatically bring up the boot menu when there was an issue booting to Windows.  There are ways to reach the boot options menu even if nothing was wrong with Windows on the last load, including the new flag prompt "/o" to shutdown.exe, holding the Shift key while clicking Restart, or selecting "Advanced Startup" under general settings.  For instance you can issue shutdown.exe /o /r to restart and then trigger the boot options menu.

Microsoft is slated to deliver a "release preview" of Windows 8 the first week of June and the final version is expected to ship later in the fall.

Source: Building Windows 8

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