Speed seems to be something that Microsoft intends to improve further in Windows 8. Especially the boot performance will be noticeably faster, according to reports. While I cannot really say if that is true or not, considering that there are no official versions of the operating system available, I can show you how you can analyze the boot and shutdown performance of your operating system without third party tools.
The Windows Event Viewer logs many system events automatically. This includes installations, hardware errors and events that are important to diagnose a system. Two of those values that get recorded automatically by default are the boot performance and the shutdown performance of the Windows operating system.
Launch the Event Manager the following way. Bring up the run box with the hotkey Windows-r, type in eventvwr and hit enter.
The program displays a tree structure in the left sidebar, the contents of the selected folder in the middle and actions on the right. I suggest you click on the hide action button in the toolbar to increase the available room.
Microsoft has changed the Event Viewer significantly for Windows Vista which means that Windows XP users will see a different layout than Vista or Windows 7 users.
The events that we want to analyze are event 100 which logs the boot performance, and event 200 which logs the shutdown performance of the Windows system.
Follow the tree structure to the following folder:
Applications and Services Log > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnostics-Performance > Operational
Windows XP users can sort the system events to find all events with the numbers 100 and 200.
The event listing list the date and time of the event, the event number and the task category. If you click on an event you see detailed information about it in the lower half of the interface. Locate the entry Boot Duration for Boot Performance events, or Shutdown Duration for Shutdown Performance events.
Divide the time by 1000 to get the boot or shutdown time in seconds. The value listed is milliseconds.
Now what can you do with the information? You could analyze boot performance optimizations for instance, or analyze the system's boot time over time. I personally like to use the information to measure the impact of newly installed software on the system boot time.
What's the boot duration of your computer?