Saturday, October 3, 2009

Key to Faster Bootups: Don't Test the System (it really does make sense)

"Computer Makers Aim to Banish Boot-Up Blues"
Gadget Lab (October 2, 2009)

"In the time it takes your computer to boot up, you can probably make some toast or a cup of tea before the thing is ready to use. In the near future, you might only have enough time to take a sip of that tea or check your watch.

Mindful of how frustrating the wait is, makers of PCs' basic input/output systems (BIOS) are working on bringing instant-on computing closer to reality with promises of significantly faster boot time.

" 'People want PCs to be like their toaster. Push a button and it is ready,' says Steve Jones, vice-president and chief scientist of core systems at Phoenix Technologies, one of the biggest BIOS makers.

"The BIOS is the first piece of code that a computer runs when it is powered on. Before Windows or Linux can start, the BIOS identifies, tests and gets system devices such as the video display card, the hard disk and other hardware up and running. But running the tests every time the machine powers on can be time consuming...."

Some operating systems, like Windows, have been running tests of the system too - which means duplicated effort. Not particularly efficient.

It's not that the tests will be eliminated - just that they'll be run more efficiently and intelligently.

"...That's why PC makers are pinning their hopes on a new standard called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. UEFI hopes to improve the intelligence of the BIOS so it doesn't have to perform all checks every time the computer is powered on. Ultimately, the idea is to run fewer initializations as the computer boots...."

Okay: that seems to make sense.

I haven't been all that bothered with how long it takes my computer to boot - but then, I leave it on all day, and have a routine of doing something else while the computer's system sorts itself out.

All in all, this looks like a good idea.

I just hope it gets thoroughly tested before it's released.

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