Microsoft is helping Windows 7 customers deal with poor startup performance in the context in which they have at least one external SATA port that is not used.

The Redmond company has confirmed an issue related to the latest iteration of the Windows client, in which customers can experience sluggish boot times on computers that have an unused external SATA port.

And while the software giant is not offering affected users an update to resolve the issue, it is providing them with a hotfix which can be downloaded from Microsoft Support.

“You experience a long startup time on a Windows 7-based computer that has an unused external SATA port,” reads Microsoft’s description of the problem.

For those not familiar with SATA, the acronym stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, and is essentially a consumer mass storage interconnect designed for the ATA command protocol. More »

By all accounts, thanks to the boot performance of Windows 7, customers should be using the operating system in a matter of seconds since they fire up their computers. However, Microsoft itself has documented scenarios in which the startup of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is unexpectedly slow. According to the Redmond-based company, at fault is the dpi display setting of the monitor.

“Consider the following scenario: you have a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. This computer is connected to a high resolution monitor. On this computer, the default dpi display setting is set to a value other than 96 dpi. In this scenario, the computer has an unexpectedly slow startup time,” Microsoft explained.

The software giant does not specify what “unexpectedly slow startup times” actually mean. Microsoft only noted that the dpi display setting is the cause of slow boot times, and that the problem is persistent. “This issue may occur when the default dpi display setting in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2 is set to a value other than 96 dpi for a high resolution monitor. In this scenario, the computer has an unexpectedly slow startup time after a change is made to the default dpi display setting. Then, the computer has an unexpectedly slow startup time every other time that the computer is started,” the company said. More »

Over a year ago, Microsoft revealed that it considered 15 seconds the ideal startup time for Windows 7 under laboratory conditions. While 15 seconds was half the time it took Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to boot, some critics pointed that the 15-second boot was a pipe dream. Well, Windows 7 did manage to provide its fair share of surprises when it comes down to boot performance, and the latest involves a startup that takes just 10 seconds. Just watch the video embedded bellow in order to get an idea of just what is involved in getting from a cold boot to a fully functional Windows 7 desktop in just 10 seconds.

“At (…) Intel Developer Forum, a company called Phoenix debuted new BIOS technology that allows Windows 7 to boot up from black screen to desktop in only 10 seconds. Called “Instant Boot BIOS,” the Phoenix BIOS uses new UEFI technology to power on several system devices at once instead of one-by-one. It also runs only those processes that are necessary to hand control over from BIOS to OS,” revealed Channel 10’s Sarah Perez (initially reported by LaptopMag).

The boot speed improvements over Windows Vista became clear very early on in the development process of Windows 7, via the now famous boot drag race. More »