It’s not magic, it’s physics: you’ll start your laptop without touching any buttons

Every day PCs are faster, with greater processing capacity and faster memories. However, we still have a few starts, they are not instantaneous and they are not very different from what we had a decade or even more ago. Why does it take so long to boot up the PC? Shouldn’t it be much faster considering the high speeds of SSDs?

You sit in the chair, turn on your computer with state-of-the-art components and although once everything is ready to be able to interact with it, we find that we must wait at least a few minutes from when we press the start button.

How does booting a PC work?

To understand the reason why your computer’s startup is slow and has barely evolved in all this time, you have to understand how it works, since there are a series of startup steps that are carried out sequentially since We press the power button until the operating system is loaded, be it Windows or Linux. In the case of Apple, they have an advantage, since they do not have to follow a common standard.

The boot sequence on all PC goes through BIOS boot first, whose information is usually found in a very low speed ROM or flash memory. Once this has happened, what is done is to run the MBR, which starts the hard drive or SSD where we have the operating system installed to start loading it.

Ideally, the BIOS would be in a much faster memory today, such as the NVMe SSD, however, if this were the case, if said memory failed we would lose at boot. Apart from the fact that the regulations and standards require that the BIOS can work with very little consumption in the face of sleep mode.

Could the PC boot up instantly without pressing a button?

Well, for that we would need the storage memory and the RAM to be the same and, therefore, not having to dump the data from the storage to the RAM through PCI Express, apart from ignoring the issue of latency with memory. That is, if we are talking about something instantaneous, that is, without waiting, because technical limitations do not allow it to be done.

The added problem is that hard drives are now the standard for computer storage and high-capacity SSDs don’t support as many write cycles throughout their lifespan. The ideal? Having an SLC-type Flash memory with a large number of write cycles, low latency and high bandwidth that allows us to restart the PC where we left off. With this, it would not be necessary to turn off a computer at 100% and turning it on would be a simple memory dump. However, if there is a total system crash, it should be rebooted normally from the beginning. The good thing about this solution is that booting the PC could have the BIOS inside it and speed up the boot process.