Windows Instant On

Something I picked up on slashdot today: Microsoft is checking if people would want an ‘instant on’ version of Windows.


As compelling as it sounds, I don’t think it is that big a deal, and they shouldn’t waste their time with it. These days, evey computer and laptop supports Standby or Hibernation. Between the 2 of those, there is no reason why Microsoft should invent an ‘Instant On’ option that is limited in what you can do, if it is perfectly possible to resume from hibernation or standby in the same amount of time and have a fully functional system at your fingertips.


But let’s for the moment assume that my computer support neither of those options.


My home laptop is an old P3 1GHz with 700 MB RAM. It is not part of a domain , and is fully usable 15 – 20 seconds after I touch the power button. Instant enough for me. My workstations are the same, only it takes 20 seconds or something like that for the system to POST. So even the instant on feature would not save me from having to wait.


Then there are my machines at work. They are part of an enterprise domain. Booting windows takes a relatively short time. It’s only when I log in that the wait begins. The delay before I can actually use my laptop is long enough that I can go to the coffee machine, get hot water and brew my own coffee by manually pouring hot water over a drip filter with hand ground beans. By the time my cup of coffee is full, it can happen that I can access the start menu, though that is not a given. Usually it takes another 5 – 10 minutes before the system has finished doing whatever it needs to do.


The reason of course is that -as in a typical enterprise- there are so many group policies which are refreshed. Then there is the virus scanner that is starting its scan, remote management software (sms) that is started, system checks that are performed, services that are started, …


So Instant On wouldn’t help me much there, because the amount of stuff that is going on would be the same. Of course they could prevent this prom happening, but I am pretty sure that no domain admin wants to allow a computer on the network if it hasn’t jumped through all the hoops to make sure that it is compliant with all the policies and limitations that are required by the corporate policies.


It would probably best if they ditch Instant On right now, and start focusing on Windows 7, making it robust and responsive.

One thought on “Windows Instant On”

  1. We need to rid ourselves of mechanical hard drives before we’ll see instant-on computers. However, this is something that does need to happen, in my opinion. If you’ve had any experience with the end-user side of computers, you’ll realize its not the logging in part that is the delay. Sure it adds a little extra bit of boot time, but the speed of a computer degrades over time, no matter how effective you are at managing performance through diagnostics and tune-ups.

    I’d gladly welcome Instant-on.

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