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Switch on and play

A computer/OS that you can switch on and use immediately.
  [vote for,

When you switch on your PC it takes so long before you can actually use it. You can delete programmes from the startup folder (in Windows) but still there are some programmes that are necessary to start the computer. Why isn't it possible to make a computer that you switch on and immediately use, instead of waiting for all these standard programmes?
KB, Aug 07 2000

OnNow http://www.microsoft.com/hwdev/onnow/
Baked. [egnor, Aug 07 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) BeOS http://free.be.com
The Be Operating System usually is 5 times faster than Windows in booting. [lockle, Aug 07 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       ...or, is there a way of having the computer work immediately after power-up without putting the OS in ROM (like all the computers I had up until the early 80's)?
hippo, Aug 07 2000

       Well, my palm pilot has no boot up time. Anyone know how that works? I suspect that it's because everything except the built-in stuff in ROM is in some sort of RAM, and that the battery just keeps that going as long as it can between chargings.
mcfrank, Aug 07 2000

       No, your Palm just never actually turns off: When you "switch it off", it actually only just turns off the screen, and slows the CPU down to a crawl. It's more "in suspended animation" than switched off.
As for switch-on-and-play, don't laptops do that already?
Cheradenine, Aug 07 2000

       Even a desktop PC "never actually turns off", because the real-time clock, at least, keeps running. (Newer PCs also keep parts of the power supply, keyboard, and even network interface cards running.)   

       The line between "actually turning off" and "suspended animation" is fuzzy. Does the screen turn off? Does the CPU halt? Is the dynamic RAM allowed to decay? Does the power supply still draw a trickle?   


       The real issue has nothing to do with whether the computer is "really off" or not, but with whether the computer can be quickly switched in and out of a mode where it doesn't make noise, doesn't generate heat, and doesn't consume too much power.   

       As a secondary problem, desktop computers often need to be fully rebooted to put them into a known state (usually after a system crash of some kind). Arguably this should just be fixed. (Even on a Palm, a hard reset takes a while, but it isn't much of an issue because you hardly ever have to do it.)
egnor, Aug 07 2000

       Of course, the Microsoft answer to this is to switch the computer into standby or sleep mode instead of rebooting or shutting down.   

       This is very ironic- since Windows doesn't always recover completely from Sleep mode, which means you have to reboot anyway!   

       If MS Windoze takes so darn long to boot, then PC manufacturers should consider adding NVRAM or EPROM chips to their boards. While you probably wouldn't be able to load the entire OS (tons of memory- think of the size of the Windows directory) we should at least be able to load the kernel onto some form of RAM or ROM chip.   

       This could possibly also mean you wouldn't need to reboot after any major system changes or updates. Simply rewrite the info to the chip and go.
BigThor, Aug 08 2000

       Gee! on an MS system, that means you'd only have to reprogram or replace the ten or twenty EPROMs every six months or so.
Scott_D, Aug 09 2000

       One of the major problems with boot time is Legacy connections (PCI, ISA etc.) .. they are slow and take up time when booting, guess the mother board is scanning them, assigning IRQs etc. etc.   

       Recently I've been getting motherboards with EVERYTHING built it (graphics, sound, network etc.) .. they boot in seconds, all the way through to desktop stuff, and they crash less often.   

HoTWire, Aug 09 2000

       Good luck with compatibility or trying to upgrade or replace something...
StarChaser, Aug 10 2000

       It's true that much of the Windows (and possibly even Linux) boot time is spent probing for sundry ISA hardware.   

       In defense of the "legacy-free" systems HoTWire refers to, they're perfectly compatible and expandable. Instead of using a card-edge connector, you're plugging in USB, FireWire, or Ethernet connectors.
egnor, Aug 10 2000

       A Firewire video card? An Ethernet sound card?
StarChaser, Aug 10 2000

       I've seen SCSI framebuffers (for old macs that had only a scsi port for expansion), so a firewire one seems great by comparison.
reece, Aug 13 2000

       USB speakers are already quite common, StarChaser; they accept digital input and perform the D/A conversion themselves (which is nice 'cuz it's away from the interference hell of a PC case), so that's basically a "USB sound card".   

       And what's so implausible about a FireWire video card, anyway? It's already used for digital video; it doesn't seem like a big leap to use it for GUI output as well.   

       Card-edge connectors have a lot of pins, and a motherboard backplane is flat and small, but there's really nothing magical about a PCI bus that lets you do things you can't do with other interfaces. Latency is the only real issue, and on the scale of a foot or two that's really only a problem for RAM.
egnor, Aug 15 2000

       Why don't you just put your machine on standby all the time? There is no reason why you should not be able to switch on and go if you just always keep it on standby.
Vecini, Jan 16 2001

       this idea should be retitled "why does windows suck so bad?"
BertieWooster, Jul 22 2001

       Since there are already millions of websites dedicated to that, no, it shouldn't.
StarChaser, Jul 22 2001

       Raskin demonstrated with the Canon Cat, that truly instant on isn't necessary. Apparently it takes a person about eight seconds to mentally adjust to the computer being ready and begin. (apparently it's not something that people notice themselves -- it has to be externally timed)   

       He achieved the 'instant on' effect by putting a screen shot of how the computer had been left onscreen immediately. Then the Cat took about six to seven seconds to finish booting up, but users didn't notice that.   

       By the time they were ready to begin, so was the machine.   

       (as for the known state discussed above, a 'safe' RAM dump ought to be left to speed this up)
cpt kangarooski, Feb 14 2002

       Could you wire the computer to the room light switch or the morning coffee maker? That way it is already halfway booted up by the time you drunkenly or sleepily stab the not quite fake "on" switch. It could then shake a hula doll or sing a little song to distract you has it finishes booting.   

       la la la la la la la or doobie doobie doo
popbottle, Jul 14 2014


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