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Vista's Long Install & Boot-Up Times Cost Users $81 Billion

Updated on May 25, 2009

This report clearly shows that the total value of the productivity hours completely wasted due to installing and booting up Vista by its worldwide users equal upwards of $81 billion to date.

This is not just a vacuous or spurious claim. In the two and a half years since Vista's release, the majority of users have complained about its overall slowness, especially on lower powered PCs.

Windows Vista's prolonged boot times have even caused a lawsuit against Microsoft. Richard Rosenblatt from the Princeton, NJ law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius estimates that many users are experiencing boot times of between 15 and 30 minutes.

I would hate to disagree with Mr. Rosenblatt, Esq., but through my experience the only way any Vista version is going to take upwards of 15 minutes to boot is if it's running on a Celeron 500 MHz with 256MB RAM, which is far below Microsoft's stated threshold for running Vista anyway.

I wanted to get the bottom line on Vista boot times on a wide range of hardware, and make it as statistically accurate as possible. So I rounded up a total of six computers and spent all weekend installing Vista on five of them. This was a particular pain as only one of them, my main Core i7 920 system, was already running Vista, four of the others were on XP, and one was on Windows Seven RC1.

Computer System A: Intel Core i7 920 2.67 GHz, 12 GB RAM
Computer System B: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13 GHz, 2 GB RAM
Computer System C: AMD Athlon X2 4800+ 2.5 GHz, 3 GB RAM
Computer System D: Intel Pentium IV 2.8 GHz, 2.5 GB RAM
Computer System E: AMD Sempron 3000+ 2 GHz, 1 GB RAM
Computer System F: Intel Celeron 1.8 GHz, 1 GB RAM (Laptop)

Keep in mind that only System A was running Vista 64 Home Premium. All the others had Vista 32 Home Basic installed on them. Also note that System A has a VelociRaptor 150MB Boot Drive, while the others are all more or less garden variety SATA and IDE HDs. Oh, and before you start throwing around software piracy allegations, realize that I ran five timed boot up tests alone and then immediately reinitialized all five drives to eliminate the Vista Home Basic (and reinstalled the original systems' Operating Systems).

I realize that six computers chosen essentially at random are not really a sufficient statistical basis for scientific accuracy, so I added various other data. I reviewed dozens of online forum sites where Vista owners are reporting their boot times and entered each and every figure. I averaged out this total and came up with a time of 1 minute 23 seconds. In order to take all my data into consideration I weighted these results in ways that would allow for the suppression of "internet bravado claims", as well as Mr. Rosenblatt's apparently excessive time claim.

Therefore I weighted each one of my proven accurate results as a 1, the average of the internet claims as a 5, and Rosenblatt's average as a 1. See the chart below for a clarification:

These are the results that I've accumulated in seconds:

My System A: 78
My System B: 86
My System C: 71
My System D: 75
My System E: 143
My System F: 316
Rosenblatt: 1350
Averaged Forum Claims: 83

Now let's look at Windows Seven boot up times which are considerably faster. The "internet bravado claims" seem to jibe quite well with the times I'm getting on my Core i7 system of 26 seconds when running Windows Seven RC1. (I only run Vista 64 awaiting the RTM of Windows Seven and begrudgingly at that!) Note that it seems according to the online forum users that this boot up time is just about as fast on much slower hardware as my state of the art Core i7 CPU with massive RAM.

With that data established, now we can calculate the amount of boot up time difference between Vista and Windows Seven:

My System A: 52
My System B: 60
My System C: 45
My System D: 49
My System E: 117
My System F: 290
Rosenblatt: 1324
Averaged Forum Claims: 57

All these figures come up with a properly weighted average total Vista boot up "wasted time per user per day" of 185 seconds, or three minutes and five seconds.

We also have to note that I am counting total boot up time from the time the power button is pushed until the last sidebar widget appears on the desktop. I did not use logon passwords, and I am also well aware that diffferent systems take longer to go through their BIOS boot up routines than others. I had to average everything in. I also have to take into consideration in the opposite direction that there are a lot of startup routines and anti-virus loads on the typical computer that slow the heck down out of the desktop loading time, so these figures may be even more accurate than I'm willing to give them credit for.

I also did not even begin to tackle the shutdown process which on some computers can take several minutes. The logic behind that decision is that if you're shutting down your system you're likely off to do something else non-PC related. 

It is important to note that boot up and shutdown is not the only time wasting factor in Vista. Installing the system is also an extremely prolonged process as I demonstrated in my Windows Installation Hub.

That result is for XP Pro which takes marginally longer to install than Vista, and I do admit that I do have a fair amount of software and drivers that needed to be installed, so I'm willing to call the total time from shutdown on an old Operating System to desktop load on a new Operating System with all your software installed and ready to go at four hours.

However, this is four hours wasted for what was an essentially useless and begrudgingly rectified misissuance of an Operating System. There is essentially no technological reason why XP's successor could not have been Windows Seven which is a far more capable, faster, and compact Operating System. It's what Vista should have been.

How do all these wasted hours calculate out to $81 billion? The answers are in the Conclusion.

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