Posts Tagged ‘ ubuntu ’

Start Me Up: My Windows vs. Linux Boot Showdown

Although I’ve set up dual-boot systems for other people before, I’d never made a Windows/Linux machine for my personal use before (that sentence probably has the potential for of a whole different post). The setup was relatively nightmare-free… but afterwards, I thought I might be dealing with the most embarrassing possible situation for a shameless Linux promoter: Windows seemed to be booting faster than Linux. Despair ensued.

“But wait,” I pondered to myself. “Psychology is a powerful thing. Windows 7 ‘shows’ you something almost immediately: the dancing Microsoft logo during startup, desktop icons show up waaaay before you can actually click on them, etc. Mint shows you a black screen during boot, and more black after you ether your password until the desktop is ready.”

The difference is subtle, but effective...

The difference is subtle, but effective…

Thankfully, stopwatches are not vulnerable to psychological ploys. The results speak for themselves:

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 (fully patched, no anti-virus)

Boot menu to login 29.8s Range = 1.9s
Boot menu to responsive Desktop 69.8s


Range = 48.4s

Range = 3.4s

Shutdown 18.9s N/A

Linux Mint 13 x64 (Fully patched)

Boot menu to login 26.4s Range = 0.7s
Boot menu to responsive Desktop 36.6s Range = 0.3s
Shutdown 7.6s N/A


Hardly scientifically rigorous; I just booted both systems 3 times and averaged the results (I only timed the shutdowns once, though). Once, Windows 7 took nearly twice as long to become responsive; I ran the numbers with and without that trial (hence the red entry).

Determining “responsiveness” is a little tricky. But, faithful to real world conditions, I just tried to open the default web browser (Firefox 18) as soon as I saw the icon, and waited until it opened AND populated. It’s loading a cached start page in both cases, so these times were NOT reliant on my home network (but the computer is connecting to my wi-fi automatically: again, real-world conditions).


The boot-to-login screen differences are modest, but consistent (Linux is about 15% faster).

The login-to-desktop results, though, are more interesting. My second trial of Windows 7 hung for a full 40 seconds. I was tempted to open task manager to see what was causing the trouble, but that could have made the response time take even longer, thus “dirtying” the results. Even ignoring that result, Linux has more than a 30% advantage over Windows, and a much tighter range (within the range of human error, in fact).

Windows defenders have plenty they could say here: Windows 7 came out 2 years before Mint 13, Windows was not installed from a clean Microsoft image (I used HP’s recovery image and manually removed all the bloat ware), but that’s not really the point: regardless of what was actually happening, it looked like Windows 7 was starting faster. I’m sure that’s intentional: Microsoft almost certainly spent money and development time talking about startup animations, sounds, load order, blah blah blah, all to create the perception of the best software they could sell.

Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds, and the folks at the GNU Project, RedHat, Canonical, the Document Foundation, Mozilla, the Linux Mint Team, and countless others just went out and made it. And I thank them.