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Posted on September 13th, 2011 by Barry Collins

Windows 8: performance


With Microsoft deciding to push “full fat” Windows onto tablets, the operating system’s performance is going to be critical.

The company had already stated that the system requirements for Windows 8 would be no greater than those of Windows 7. Now it claims to have improved on the performance of its predecessor.

“We’re using considerably less memory in Windows 8,” claimed Gabriel Aul, director of project management for Windows fundamentals, who showed the Task Manager for Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines running side-by-side, with the latter using between 10-20% less RAM with the operating system sat idle.

Aul also claims CPU optimisations allow the processor to stay in “a lower power state for much longer”. So what does this mean for Windows 8 battery life?

Battery tests

Our early tests – albeit using far from finished code – suggests Windows 8 is going to lag far behind Android and iOS tablets when it comes to battery life. Our test tablet is an 11.6in Samsung device, with a Core i5-2467M processor running at 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. From almost the moment we pressed the power button, the tablet’s fans kicked in and the back of the tablet became warm to touch – providing far from desirable levels of noise and heat. Within only three hours of relatively light use, we were forced to plug the device into the mains. The iPad 2, by comparison, lasted for almost 14 hours in our battery tests.

Windows 8 in depth:
Find out about the new interfaceapps and the storeperformance and Windows 8 on ARM

In Microsoft’s defence, there is an element of comparing apples to pears here: Windows 8 is a more fully featured OS than Apple’s iOS, and our test tablet is running on Intel’s relaitvely power-hungry processor, not the more energy efficient ARM processors that the iPad does and Windows 8 will, so don’t draw too many conclusions from these early tests.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has introduced a new power state, called Connected Standby. In this mode the device is almost inactive, turning itself on occasionally to update web apps with new data. As a result, Microsoft claims standby times will be measured in days rather than hours.

Fast boot times

One area where Microsoft definitely isn’t lagging behind is boot times. From a completely cold start, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 8 laptops booting to the new Start screen in less than eight seconds.  It’s even faster when shutting down, switching off in less than four seconds in one demonstration. We’ve recorded similar times on our test tablet, too.

There’s more good news for people plagued by Windows Updates kicking in when they try and rush out of the door in a hurry: if an update requires a reboot users will be granted a “grace period” allowing them to choose when the update should be applied.

Task Manager

No version of Windows – even one primarily pitched at tablets – would be complete without a Task Manager. Microsoft has completely revamped the Task Manager for Windows 8. The default screen shows only the running applications, allowing users to quickly kill a stalled app.

The more detailed view, however, provides a pleasing level of detail for techies. There’s now a heatmap of resources, with applications consuming more than their fair share of memory or CPU cycles shown in a darker shade of yellow, allowing you to easily identify the resource hogs on your system.


The new Task Manager also reveals how the new Metro Style are pushed into “suspended” state when they’ve been pushed into the background. In this state, they can still retain data in memory, but don’t lock up any CPU cycles.

It’s also now possible to prevent applications from running on start-up from the Task Manager, making it easier to kill the harmful effects of manufacturer-installed crapware.

Wipe clean

Microsoft has also delivered a couple of new features for when things go horribly wrong with your PC. The new boot-up sequence includes an option to restore your device to factory settings – a process that Microsoft demonstrated taking less than five minutes.

There’s also a new option to “refresh” your PC. This retains all your files, data, favourites, and applications downloaded from the Microsoft Store, and lays them on top of a fresh installation of the operating system – again, in around five minutes.  Microsoft claims this will be particularly helpful on occasions when a rogue app takes command of file associations, and will also help cut the workload of IT support desks who are often called on to re-image a misbehaving PC.

Refresh PC

Now click here for further details on:

The new interface
Apps and the Store
Windows 8 on ARM

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Posted in: Software, Windows 8


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7 Responses to “ Windows 8: performance ”

  1. damian Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    When it comes to battery life maybe we should look at the CPU being used instead of the operating system as after all, the intel compare to the chip used in the Android/Ipad…

    As for Intel… they really need to get their backside into gear with regards to cooling specifics and someone should slap the oems for putting in silly cooling (HP Probook/Elitebook core i5 cooling anyone? Fan always on..)

  2. Gennady Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Battery use: i said this before please define “relatively light use” (i listen to your podcasts, a definition would be nice) i really really hate companies using the term, since there is no set definition, like is light use creating a powerpoint presentation, while surfing the web and listening to music, and doing some photo editing in Picasa or something?? or it is watching a HD film without anything else running in the background. Because i see these as light use. heavy use is like video rendering, photo processing, playing Games, running lots of applications (heavy on ram), testing apps, and so on. so please define light use!!!!!!!!!
    BOOT times: Well my current laptop boots up in 16 seconds to log in screen. and shuts down in 9 seconds, but hell yeah, i’ll take the 8 and 4 without question. But whats this boot to start screen (which i guess is the equivalent of log in screen), considering people want to use the computer, not just start it, and considering most people have no clue how to use msconfig.exe, microsoft should really offer a choice of programs to start up on start-up.. (since pcpro mentioned no physical turn off will be available in win8, it will only be hibernation (or similar) i guess this is not an issue)
    And the widnows update – is it not the same as windows update now, saying do you want to restart later (10 minutes, 1 hours… and so on) this is not new in anyway what so ever
    Love the task manager
    wipe clean – now accessible to not only tech savvy people (or is it) i love to do a true CLEAN install, if a virus does get in, it might do something to that wipe clean (since it does not delete all the files…) but you could really say anything about this..

  3. Ska Bob Says:
    September 14th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Why don’t they get some of this refinement into their apps ? Live messenger takes up about 60-70MB to sit there and tell me if I have any email or not.

  4. hyperspaced Says:
    September 14th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Is that a serious comparison or just plain sensationalism?
    Are you comparing battery life between a chopped OS (iOS) with a fully fledged OS (Windows 8) on different processors ?

    C’mon, seriously ?

  5. Rob Says:
    September 14th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Well said, hyperspaced. Heck, I have a phone that used stay on for days, so take that iPad

  6. Salman Says:
    September 21st, 2011 at 7:04 am

    My pc is HP.but, when setuped win 8,it make light off and it cotinue untill I setup other Opeariting System…Please, say something to solve the problem…

  7. Bean Says:
    October 18th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    This is the most retarded thing ever. Comparing completely different hardware to the iPad. Not only is the CPU in the Win 8 tablet way more power hungry but so is the RAM and many other components! Then you say:

    “so don’t draw too many conclusions from these early tests.”

    How about dont draw ANY conclusions because this is just sheer stupidity. And the OS isn’t even in a BETA stage yet to top it off! If anything you should compare W8 to Win 7 or OSX.
    You. Epic. Retard.


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