Shouldn’t regular reboots be a thing of the past ?

A few days ago I linked to a post of Viral’s which showed some of the holes in the hype around Google’s “Chromium OS” or more accurately just-enough-os-to-run-a-browser.   He had an interesting link showing the work from Phoenix to slash the POST time – and you can’t help but be impressed when Windows starts booting within 2 seconds of hitting the Power button, but has booted and loaded a local HTML file into IE in about 15 seconds. I suspect a lot of the speed improvement comes from loading the OS from a solid state disk. But I keep wondering who is it who keeps booting their machines over and over. I often say in my presentations that when I travel by train I notice people starting their laptops up from cold, and shutting them down cold, and under XP up to SP2 I had problems with a machine with loads of memory refusing to sleep, so I can understand that.  I’m a pretty heavy user of my PC, but I don’t reboot for weeks on end. I see it as  like retuning the TV, something you do every few hundred hours of use. When I do, I start outlook, communicator and IE and they remain open pretty much until an update needs me to reboot.

I got to thinking “How long have IE and so on been running”. I’d make excuses for Outlook as I’m running the Beta of 2010.  I put the following command into PowerShell

Get-Process| sort starttime  -ErrorAction silentlycontinue | format-table –auto -property name, starttime, @{name="CPU"; expression={("{0,10:n1}" -f $_.cpu)}}

and it came back with the following

Name                  StartTime                  CPU
----                  ---------                  ---
taskhost              16/11/2009 19:45:24       21.6
dwm                   16/11/2009 19:45:24   10,451.2
explorer              16/11/2009 19:45:25    3,404.1

iexplore              16/11/2009 19:46:25    1,012.0
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:46:33    4,644.0
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:47:44    7,187.0
FOXITR~1              16/11/2009 19:51:33        8.5
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:53:08    3,025.5
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:53:41    2,744.7
iexplore              16/11/2009 19:55:28    4,553.5
mobsync               17/11/2009 10:14:04        2.3
iexplore              17/11/2009 11:14:48    4,331.6
communicator          19/11/2009 11:26:43    2,313.3
OUTLOOK               20/11/2009 11:45:33    4,614.2
FOXITR~1              20/11/2009 13:33:01       32.8

powershell            29/11/2009 13:02:00       22.1

As you can see it’s about two weeks since I logged on, (although the machine has been an out of hibernate and sleep a few dozen times) and I started IE pretty much at once – one of the web pages was PDF which opened in Foxit reader and has remained open (IE 8 spawns multiple instances of itself). Outlook – beta status not withstanding - has been open for 9 days. Some days I wonder if the problem is in the naming of the functions – that we’re somehow conditioned to shutting things down. I should propose to the Windows team they change the labels “Shut-Down” and “Hibernate” and possibly “Sleep”, calling hibernate something like “Save Windows”, so they convey Power-off-and-start-from-nothing-next-time, Power-off-and-resume-next-time and so on.

So I’m curious to know how many people want to see faster boots and how many people see my way of working as one they use now / will use ?

Comments (7)

  1. James ONeill says:

    thommck , I’d go and check what was taking 10 minutes to time out because all those people I encounter booting their XP machines on trains aren’t going through that pain…

    It’s quite a small number of updates that need a reboot, but the more critical they are the more likely it is the file being changed is loaded and so requires a reboot to swap it.

    Hybrid sleep is what you need if there is a risk of the machine being turned off. It writes the hibernate file and goes into sleep. If it is powered off it comes back from the hibernate file. You do save the last 5% if you go for Hibernate over sleep but the machine can’t wake to run a scheduled task.

  2. James ONeill says:

    Harold, Honest answer is I don’t know. On my windows 7 system I don’t see a Time next to system. If I were to try guessing, that time  is a conversion of zero. So system may be responsible for reading the time from the real time clock and setting it for the OS – when system itself starts the OS has not yet got a clock, hence it starts with the clock at zero.

  3. ThomMck says:

    I’ve used hibernate as my default "Off" setting for at least 5 years.

    However, this is exactly because it takes soooooooooo long to log in and get a working environment.

    Microsoft haven’t done any favours by still requiring restarts when almost every update is applied. It also takes about 10-15 minutes to log on to my work laptop if it isn’t connected to the LAN (i.e. at home or on a train). They also could have made the default Windows 7 setting to "hibernate" rather than "shutdown".

    The reason hibernate wins over standby is because a) it’s more enviromentally friendly and b) people in my house (and i’m sure other’s too) always switch the computer off at the wall before checking what state the PC is in.

  4. jan says:

    I set the poweroption so that it either goes to sleep or hypernates when I close the lid of my laptop – depending on whether its pluged in or not. So I can differentiate pretty easy between "going off my table to meeting (–> sleep)" or "going home (–> hypernate)".

    I also do boot only when updates have been installed – no issues so far with W7.

  5. Harold says:

    Mine came up with:

    Name                  StartTime           CPU

    —-                  ———           —


    System                1-1-1601 1:00:00         313,3

    smss                  25-11-2009 15:25:20        0,3

    csrss                 25-11-2009 15:25:23      295,5

    What’s up with System?

  6. Blake Handler says:

    At first when I began testing Windows 7, I didn’t noticed that I was NOT turning the computer off. The Hybernate feature was turned-on – and I simply began using it!

    It was only after a week that it dawned on me that this (pupdated) feature was not only enabled . . . but working great!

    This feature never really worked 100& on XP & Vista . . . but MS nailed this one for Windows 7

    Blake Handler – Microsoft MVP

    "The Road to Know Where"

  7. William Hilsum says:

    You beat me by about two days!

    After a list of services and such I have –

    dwm                 18/11/2009 18:34:07    7,368.1

    explorer            18/11/2009 18:34:07    1,601.1

    taskhost            18/11/2009 18:34:10        8.2

    SynTPEnh            18/11/2009 18:34:12      181.6

    Although, I am starting to find various bugs which I can only attribute to the time that the system has been up.

    For example, if I create a folder anywhere through a GUI, that program seems to just hang randomly for between 30seconds to two minutes (This can be anything GUI, I tested on explorer and open/save dialogs). The same happens when I rename a folder – however, I have no problems from powershell or command prompt.

    Also, randomly, if I do anything that requires elevation, the whole system hangs for up to three minutes and any window I click on simply "locks up". Then, I see the UAC window on the taskbar, click it and everything returns to normal.

    That being said – I love Windows 7!… If I didn’t have so much cr** open, I would restart more often!

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