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  1. #1
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    How to measure boot time

    What is the best way to measure boot time, from power on until my computer is fully functional (i.e., everything is completely loaded, I'm connected to the internet, and my desktop is ready to use)? I know that I can start using the computer almost as soon as the desktop appears, but I also know that other things are still loading in the background. What I really need to know is how I can determine exactly when the computer has reached a quiescent state, so that I can accurately and consistently measure total boot time.
    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Hardware (Bios/UEFI) boot times vary enormously, Windows boot time is what you have most control over and can be compared across similar PC specs. I simply use TaskMan's uptime from the Performance tab to check the initial Windows startup time (usually ~ 15-18 seconds here with W7 and SSD). The completion of Windows boot operations doesn't really happen for me until ~12 minutes or so later.

    As far as I know, there's no easy method to check how long all Windows boot operations take to complete.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, satrow.

    TaskMan uptime doesn't necessarily show Windows startup time, because it just keeps running, and it depends how quickly you actually view it to even come close to the startup time.

    In any case, a more accurate boot time for Windows itself can be gotten from the Event Viewer. The times for my machine (which does not have an SSD) vary between 31 and 42 seconds.

    But this is not of particular interest to me. I'm dealing with my specific machine, loading whatever I've specifically chosen to load (in addition to what Windows chooses to load). In other words, if my antivirus program (for example) takes a certain amount of time to do a scan on bootup prior to connecting to the internet, I want to include that in my boot time measurement (but NOT the time it takes the AV program to update its definitions, if that should occur immediately after boot). The actual Windows startup time is of only academic interest to me (unless it's significantly out of line with what's expected, which it isn't in this case). I really just want to know what boot times I can expect from my machine, from power on to a stable desktop.

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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi Les, Try this.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

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    Thanks, Roderunner.

    That worked, but it still doesn't get me where I want to be. After the restart, and after the VBS file popped up the start time, there were still things happening (a disk activity indicator and a core temp monitor program loaded, and my network connection completed after VBS said I was finished, and there may have been additional things loading). Also, measuring startup from a restart doesn't take into account machine startup time, including POST.

    So I don't think this answers my question.

    But thanks anyway, that was an interesting approach.
    Last edited by LesF; 2013-10-06 at 22:19.

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Les, there is no point that I know of where you can definitively state that Windows has stopped loading. I just skimmed through some areas of W7 that I haven't visited seriously since soon after the first public Beta was released; result? An action that's triggered 25 minutes post boot up, on every boot. So Windows should be fully loaded and idle at some point after 25 minutes plus any time taken to log the event finishing, plus NTFS logging.

    I'll stick with my easily visible method of checking how soon it's ready to use.

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    OK, satrow (and others who responded), thanks.

    Maybe I'll just give up here.

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    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Hi Les,
    If you rerun my test then go to Event Viewer - Applications and Service logs - Microsoft - Windows - Diagnostics - Performance/Operational and compare the results in 100 for Boot Time / 200 for Shutdown.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    To a casual observer, from your dialog, it sounds like you have way too many things starting up when you turn on your PC. On Windows 7 I shut down almost 40 Services that are totally redundant. Then I UN-Check everything in the Startup list that is not Absolutely Necessary to be running from boot-up. I usually get my boot time down to 30 seconds or so.
    You can also watch your HD light, to see when it stops flashing. Eh?

    Now if you're trying to do things to improve your boot speed, run MSCONFIG >Boot InI, and change the boot delay time from 30 sec's to just 3 sec's. Than knocks off 27 sec's right there.

    You can also download this little script, to your desktop, and run it to time a reboot sequence. Then make some change and run it again, to see if you're making any improvements. This little script has settled a lot of arguments, about who has the faster PC.
    https://app.box.com/s/ff2h1fz8ns0tqflphejm

    Good Luck,
    The Doctor
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  10. #10
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    Roderunner, here are some numbers:

    Restarting using your test program: 44 seconds indicated.

    My observed time to completely restart to where I want to be (as best as I could determine): 55 seconds. Note that this is measured from actual restart, and does not include the shutdown time prior to restarting.

    Restart time from Event Viewer: 29.4 seconds.

    None of these measurements is from a totally turned off machine, so it doesn't take into account machine startup/POST times.

    Actual time from powering on a dead machine until I get to the desktop that I consider ready (with all the apps loaded and connected to the network), again, as best as I could determine: 60 seconds

    I can't explain the difference in startup time between your VBS script and the Event Viewer.


    Doc, I'm not trying to absolutely minimize my boot time. I do want to minimize the time it takes to boot to a configuration that I consider minimum for my purposes, specifically, over and above the minimum time it takes Windows to load, I also want my antivirus, mouse and keyboard drivers, graphics driver, disk activity indicator, core temp monitor running, and my machine to connect to the internet. So my initial question was, how do I determine when I've reached that point? By elimination of the answers received, it appears that the best way to do this is to observe the visual indications that these events have occurred (specifically, I can see these indications in the systray).

    I'm aware that there may be other things going on behind the scenes that give no visual indications, but that probably happens on a continual basis, and I find my machine ultimately totally ready to be used when I have reached the point mentioned.
    Of course, I am interested in eliminating unnecessary operations during the loading of Windows, among those loading unnecessary services. But I am not smart enough to know which services I can safely disable (although I can make an educated guess at some of these), which should be set to start automatically, and which should be set for manual activation. And I'm not yet convinced that if I set a service to manual, it will actually be started when needed by a program.
    If you've got information to help me make these choices, I'd appreciate having it.

  11. #11
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Going all the way back to the early days of Windows XP, the "Black Viper" website has had a list of all Services and what can be done with each one.
    http://www.blackviper.com/

    I took that information and wrote a batch file, to shut down un-needed services for XP, Win-7 and Win-8.
    There were only 24 services in XP that needed to be completely disabled or set to manual. On Win-7, that jumped to nearly 40 services.

    Of course the self-proclaimed experts will tell you that disabling services does nothing to speed up a PC.
    I heartily disagree. Any time you remove work from a CPU, you increase its efficiency.

    Good Luck!
    The Doctor
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    Thanks, Doc.

    I'm familiar with the Black Viper site. Of particular interest to me was his statement: "Manual mode allows Windows to start a service when needed. However, very few services will start up when required in Manual mode."
    This tells me that if you will need a service at any time after boot-up, you'd best set it to "Automatic" to be sure that it starts.

    So, as a practical matter, all services should be set to Automatic (or Automatic - Delayed Start) or Disabled.
    I don't understand the advantage of Delayed Start (and how long is the delay?), except maybe to shave some milliseconds off the boot time. And without some (very time consuming) trial and error, I'm not sure which currently active services I can completely disable, although I can make an educated guess for some of them.

    Bottom line, I get the sense that there won't be much to gain in the way of noticeably shorter boot times or quicker response times by playing with Services.

    Still, I'd like to take a look at your batch file, if you can direct me to it or provide it.

    Thanks.

  14. #13
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Of course the self-proclaimed experts will tell you that disabling services does nothing to speed up a PC.
    I heartily disagree. Any time you remove work from a CPU, you increase its efficiency.
    I guess I'm one of those "self proclaimed experts". I run both my Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers with the windows Services set to thier default state and have no noticeable slow downs. One of the problems with some of the disables is that you disable one because its not needed at the time but then you add something that needs it later and you forget you disabled the service. An example is the disable of some networking services because you have a single computer and then later add a second wireless computer at a later time. As I said, I haven't seen any performance impact running my PC services set at their defaults. YMMV.

    Jerry





















    '

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    Thanks for your reply, Jerry.

    Actually. that's where I am now (running Win 7 with the default services), with pretty good results. I'm a tweaker by nature, but unless and until I get a lot smarter about Windows services, and can show a noticeable improvement in performance by playing with them, I'm inclined to leave things the way they are.

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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesF View Post
    Thanks for your reply, Jerry.

    Actually. that's where I am now (running Win 7 with the default services), with pretty good results. I'm a tweaker by nature, but unless and until I get a lot smarter about Windows services, and can show a noticeable improvement in performance by playing with them, I'm inclined to leave things the way they are.
    How many people have to tell you, that the 500# of rock in the trunk of your car is slowing you down?
    Having 50 redundant services running in the background and taking up RAM and cpu time, is NOT improving your overall system performance. If you don't need it, shut if OFF!!!

    One guy that I can't thank enough for his help, is the "Black Viper". He has taken the time and effort to go into the Windows Services and separate the wheat from the chaff. I've been following him since I first found him back in the early XP days. By Default, MS puts in every service, that any person in any workplace could ever want. Most of us sitting at home, don't need all that stuff running all the time.
    For instance, if you will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER run wireless on your desktop computer, why would you need the Wireless service running? Never FAX? Then why run the FAX service? It just goes on, and on, and on!

    So for the best advise about services (you certainly won't get it here) go to the Black Viper's web site and be advised. I'm sorry if that ruffles a few feathers, but facts are facts! Eh?

    Cheers Mate, and Happy Computing!
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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