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Hyperboot cuts Windows boot times in half

Diskeeper licenses software for Asus' Eee PCs

Diskeeper says its new HyperBoot app can cut the start-up time on Windows by more than half.

Best known for its disk defragmentation software, Diskeeper has licensed HyperBoot to Taiwanese PC maker Asus, which will install it on its Eee netbooks and other laptops running Windows XP.

Diskeeper is working on more deals, including with large US PC makers, said Derek De Vette, vice-president of global alliances for the company. It may eventually sell the software to consumers and other end users, but not anytime soon.

Long a nuisance for users, lengthy startup and shutdown times for Windows ballooned with Vista's release several years ago. Microsoft and PC vendors have tried to respond.

Last week, Lenovo said its computers will load Windows 7 up to 56 percent faster than when loading XP or Vista.

Diskeeper, which has sold 36 million copies of its defragmentation software, began working on HyperBoot six months ago. The software rearranges the order in which applications and services are loaded by Windows to minimise delays and maximize efficiency.

A HyperBoot-enabled PC will average 100 percent CPU utilization during the Windows loading process, said Ed Beckman, vice-president of development for Diskeeper.

Hyperboot also physically remaps how Windows boot data is stored to bring it closer together, so as to minimise access delays caused by the hard drive spindle having to move from one part of the disk to another, Beckman said.

Even after optimising a PC the first time, HyperBoot will continue to monitor and re-optimise Windows as it continues to run, and more apps are installed, preventing the sluggishness most users are accustomed to, Beckman said. The software can also cut shutdown times by about 10 percent.

Version one of HyperBoot was optimised for Windows XP and conventional hard disk drives. Version two, which Diskeeper is now offering to PC makers, works with Windows 7 as well as solid-state disk (SSD) drives, which many performance hounds are turning to for even faster boot times, Beckman said.

Unlike Lenovo, HyperBoot does not tweak the PC device drivers nor its BIOS. HyperBoot is not yet good at accelerating the loading of Windows virtual machines on Macs either, Beckman said.

HyperBoot does delay the loading of some services and apps until after the Windows desktop appears. Those continue to load in the background, meaning that applications that users try to open immediately after the startup will load up slower than normal, Beckman said.

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