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Study: Windows 7 doesn't boot faster

Despite positive reviews of the new operating system's snappiness, PC tune-up company Iolo Technologies says its actually takes longer than Vista to get going.

Although Windows 7 has been praised for loading and shutting down faster than prior versions of Windows, one software company says that, in many cases, the new operating system can take longer to get started than Windows Vista.

Iolo Technlogies, which sells PC tune-up software, said its lab unit found that a brand-new machine running Windows 7 takes a minute and 34 seconds to become usable, as compared to a minute and 6 seconds for Windows Vista. Iolo notes that it measured not the time it takes for the desktop to appear--which can be as little as 40 seconds on a fresh installation of Windows 7--but rather the time it takes to become fully usable "with CPU cycles no longer significantly high and a true idle state achieved."

The results are also fairly similar to what CNET found in its testing of the operating system. A Microsoft representative was not immediately able to comment on Iolo's findings.

Iolo plans to release more details on its findings and methodology next week. Although it remains to be seen just how it reached its conclusion, the report is clearly not good news for an operating system whose primary selling point is doing the basics better than past versions of Windows.

I will say that for my part, I have been using Windows 7 for months now and find myself rarely doing a full reboot and instead going in and out of sleep for days at a time--a process that moves particularly quickly.

As is often the case with Windows, Iolo found that things only get worse over time. It found that a three-month-old machine can take up to a minute longer to boot, or 2 minutes and 34 seconds. Windows 7 did outperform Vista at the three-month and six-month marks, Iolo said, but it generally "trailed the older version significantly" in its boot-up tests.

I plan to follow up on this on Monday, when more details about Iolo's conclusions--and how they were reached--become available.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. PDT: On the plus side, Wall Street Journal reviewer Walt Mossberg is out with his review of Windows 7 and gives it high marks, saying Microsoft now gives Apple a run for its money.