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For years Microsoft has talked about making Windows PCs boot up faster, trying to get as close as possible to the instant-on startup of many consumer electronics devices. A new approach in Windows 8, detailed overnight, appears to be a big step in that direction.

The new Windows 8 start screen (Credit: Microsoft)

The trick is a technique for shutting down the computer that’s a hybrid of the current full shutdown and hibernate modes, which changes the process of starting back up.

See this post on the Building Windows 8 blog by Gabe Aul, a Windows program management director, for all the nitty gritty technical details. He gives a great explanation of the current process for shutting down a Windows PC, and how the new fast startup process compares.

Bottom line, Microsoft says boot times are significantly faster across the board. “This new fast startup mode will yield benefits on almost all systems, whether they have a spinning HDD or a solid state drive (SSD), but for newer systems with fast SSDs it is downright amazing,” writes Aul.

Here’s a chart from Microsoft’s testing. (Click for larger version.)

The post last night was the latest in a series of sneak peeks at Windows 8. Features previously shown by Microsoft include smarter file copying and a Windows Explorer ribbon.

Microsoft will be lifting the curtain on Windows 8 at its Build conference in Anaheim next week, and I’ll be there, reporting from the scene for GeekWire throughout the week. The company hasn’t given a release date for Windows 8 yet, but it’s generally expected sometime next year.

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