Lifehacker tested the boot speed of Windows 7, Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 and Windows XP Professional SP3 on a triple-boot system. All tested operating systems were 32-bit versions. Test 1 measured the boot time from boot choice to a fully loaded desktop while test 2 measured the time from boot choice to user logon screen. No additional software was installed on the operating systems, the autostart folders were empty and all settings were left on their default values.
Windows 7 Ultimate needed 32 seconds in test 1 from boot choice to a fully loaded desktop while Windows Vista Ultimate used 33 seconds and Windows XP SP3 40 seconds. The test from boot choice to login screen saw similar results with Windows 7 Ultimate leading the field with 23 seconds, Windows Vista Ultimate following suite with 24 seconds and Windows XP SP3 in third place and 29 seconds.
The results are interesting: Windows 7 is already leading the field even though the tests were conducted on a pre-beta build of the upcoming operating system. More surprising for some users, especially the die hard faction that does not like Windows Vista, is the excellent result for Windows Vista which was way faster than Windows XP SP3 in both tests.
It would be interesting to see how the operating systems would fare with a basic set of software, like anti-virus scanners, email clients, web browser or a photo editing program, installed. Would the results be similar except that the boot time would surely increase?
The result looks very promising for Windows 7. It is safe to assume that Microsoft will further optimize the operating system. It remains to be seen if this will make a huge difference in the end. Currently it does not for Windows Vista users but surely for Windows XP users.