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Windows 8 Introduces ‘Faster, Fluid, Seamless, and Beautiful’ Boot Experience

The Windows 8 Boot experience will reflect the personality of Windows; it will be fast and fluid, seamless, and beautiful every time, said Steven Sinofsky in a September 20 blog post titled “Reengineering the Windows boot experience” authored by Billie Sue Chafins.

Adding, “I remember a meeting many years ago where Bill Gates said (paraphrasing) “Boot is a one-line function call that computes a constant yet takes forever: fBoot = SystemBoot()” At the same time it seems like everything boots these days–phones, TVs, cable TV boxes, even my TV remote boots.”

“In building Windows 8, we set out of take advantage of some new technology and revisited some old assumptions to totally rethink the boot experience. […]With continued innovation in the hardware ecosystem, the biggest shift in firmware in 30 years, and software changes leading to boot times of ~7 seconds on machines with solid-state drives (SSDs), we decided it was time to bring the PC boot user experience into the 21st century.”

He said “Windows 8 boot experience will reflect the personality of Windows; it’ll be fast and fluid, seamless, and beautiful every time. By leveraging the capabilities of UEFI and working together with the ecosystem, our goal is for the PC to power up to the manufacturer’s logo and stay on that screen all the way from POST to Windows logon UI. The logo should be beautiful and reflect the brand you trust when you purchased your PC. Firmware renders the logo during POST, the logo persists on screen when Windows boot takes over, and remains through OS boot. In effect, we are bridging two experiences (firmware + operating system) to deliver one experience.”

Dual booting your PC, Sinofsky explains that “In Windows 8, you’ll be presented with a high-fidelity, immersive, touchable UI where you can select which OS to boot with a single tap (or mouse click, or tab-key navigation).

There’re often reasons to change your default OS, instead of remembering/editing Boot Configuration Data (BCD) as of today, in Windows 8, you can easily configure the default OS and timer settings right within the boot UI.”

“You may need to boot into Windows RE to troubleshoot a startup problem or to restore Windows to a previous restore point. Even for such advanced functionality, we wanted to ensure that you would have a consistent and touchable experience. Let’s assume you need to launch a command prompt window from within Windows RE (to check the access control lists (ACLs) on some files, for instance). We’ve even made the soft keyboard available from the command prompt in Windows RE if you need that (imagine a field repair of a device with no keyboard!),” explains Sinofsky.

Booting to a device: “Today, this requires entering the BIOS boot options menu which could be under one of many Function keys, depending on the hardware/firmware vendor. But with UEFI firmware, the OS can call back into firmware to enumerate the BIOS boot options. This means that advanced boot options that were formerly only available from BIOS menus will be available alongside the Windows-provided functionality,” stated Sinofsky.

You can see a complete demonstration in the video below:

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