Lenovo, makers of the ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops, is claiming a significant improvement in the boot times of their new Windows 7 PCs. How significant? Up to 56% faster, the company reports. According to the press release, these enhancements are a part of a new feature called the “Lenovo Enhanced Experience,” which not only improves the boot up process, but also allows the system to shut down in as little as 5 seconds, too. In order to accomplish this feat, Lenovo says they’ve optimized “system files, processes and hardware settings.”
That sounds a little vague, to be honest, but ComputerWorld has more of the nitty-gritty details on exactly how this was accomplished. According to Howard Locker, director of new technology at Lenovo, the company took the following steps:
- Fixed the drivers of onboard hardware components that were cumulatively causing massive delays. For instance, Lenovo discovered that a driver for a "popular wireless device" had been written to pass worst-condition certification specs and thus would grab 4MB of continuous memory from the system in 4KB chunks, Locker said. This added five seconds to the time it took for a PC to go to sleep. After getting the third-party vendor to fix the driver, Lenovo cut the driver's overhead to just 200 milliseconds.
- Tweaked the BIOS phase of start-up to temporarily hide some devices from Windows 7, so that the operating system loads the drivers only after the boot is finished.
- Tweaked Windows 7 to delay the loading of nonessential services and applications until after start-up. Those include automatic-updating apps for Adobe and Microsoft, or even Windows features. While users can try to fiddle with Windows themselves, Locker warned that do-it-yourselfers likely won't achieve the same improvements.
- Rewrote its power manager to be easier to use. It also included an extra chip in its notebooks to more precisely measure the remaining battery life than Windows 7 can, and to help you make it last as long as possible.
However, analyst Jack Gold was cited in the same article as saying that while this work has led to improvements in the start up/shut down, other computer manufacturers including HP, Toshiba, and Dell had taken similar measures. In other words, it’s not clear that Lenovo has actually done more work or if they’re just marketing themselves better.
In any event, it’s the consumer who wins here. If indeed all major manufacturers have taken strides to address the lagging boot times in Windows, then all those new Windows 7 PCs are going to seem extra speedy, no matter which vendor you end up buying from.