Vista start-up and shutdown speeds 'slower than Windows XP'

Users of Windows Vista users are finding that the operating system takes longer to start up, shut down and load applications than Windows XP, complaints posted on Microsoft’s support forums have revealed.

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Users of Windows Vista users are finding that the operating system takes longer to start up, shut down and load applications than Windows XP, complaints posted on Microsoft’s support forums have revealed.

The users, who appear to be largely pro-Vista, have complained about a variety of speed issues on Microsoft's performance and maintenance forum. "I have XP and Vista running side-by-side [but] I twiddle my thumbs waiting for certain apps to load up on the Vista machine while the load is instantaneous on the older XP machine," one user, identified as William, said. "I've tweaked it as best as I could with the info available and I am still very disappointed."

Another user, Kris, added: "Recently I upgraded from XP to Vista [Home] Premium. When I start the laptop and I see the last BIOS info and Vista starts loading, then I have to wait a full 6 (six!) minutes before I can open my first application (for example Outlook or IE or whatever)."

Some users accepted the slower speeds as the price of getting the latest operating system, with more functions. A user called Jon said: "XP is undoubtedly quicker than Vista. I don't think there will be a way around that. You'll never get extra functionality, without some performance cost, assuming the same hardware."

Other users, including some tagged as “Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals”, posted suggestions for tackling the slow speeds, such as adding more Ram or running Vista's Performance Information and Tools control panel. But replies to these messages suggested that users had 2GB or more of memory, and that the operating system’s diagnostics were not reporting problems.

Start-up and shutdown times were particularly annoying to posters on the forums. "Takes about 10 minutes to boot, then 5 minutes after login before you can use it," a user named Bengt said. "If no improvement I have promised my family to return to XP. But I want Vista!"

One user had a worse tale to tell. Martin Racette wanted to know if it was normal that Vista took more than an hour to shut down and to restart.

Others demonstrated a sense of humour. "I've compared it to a Commodore 64 loading programs from tape, but I think the Commodore was faster," said Steve Franks. "I'm currently writing this on my other PC, because nothing has happened on my Vista machine for about 15 minutes."

Users, software reviewers and some analysts have criticised Vista for its high-powered hardware requirements. But comparisons between XP and Vista start-up and shutdown times remain anecdotal.

Microsoft denied that Vista was slower to boot, reboot or shut down. "Start-up and shutdown times will vary based on the configuration of the PC by the OEM," a company spokesperson said. "But we have seen, based on both internal and external measurement and testing, that most Windows Vista users experience very quick responses when using sleep, shutdown or restart.”

She added: "In fact, the majority of users will have start-up and shutdown times that are faster than they would have been with Windows XP. If users take advantage of Windows Vista's default sleep setting, they can achieve two-to-three second resume times."

Microsoft has positioned Vista's new sleep mode -- a hybrid state that combines Windows XP's separate hibernation and standby modes -- as the default setting, conditioning users to not power-off their PCs. Some have reasoned that the move was made to mask Vista's long boot and shutdown times.

Although Microsoft has not admitted as much, last December, Jim Alchin, then the head of Windows, while describing sleep mode, said: "The bottom line is that because there is no reboot, the PC can respond much more quickly."

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