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PCLinuxOS 2007 vs openSUSE 10.2 vs Windows XP: Comparing Boot-up/Shut-down timings May 28, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Windows, Working with Linux.

I recently installed PCLinuxOS as the third distro on my system (incidentally overwriting Ubuntu). And since I’m an openSUSE (fan) user, I’ve been jumping distributions a lot recently to get things done… just to give each distro a fare usage. Anyway, the moment you regularly jump distributions, the boot-up (and subsequently shut-down) timings become an issue. And I thought it would be interesting to compare the three operating systems from a ‘timing’ perspective.

Testing Method: There’s nothing too technical in my experiment. I used the stop-watch on my wrist-watch. I gave each operating system about three times to load and look the last reading. If the last reading was way off the other two, I took the middle reading. For boot-up, I timed from the moment I clicked the distro in GRUB till the Login screen. For shut-down, I timed from the Logged-in stage (hence the distro would have to logout and shutdown in one go). My desktop is one of those AMD 64bt, 2800+ machines, with 512MB RAM (and a normal hard disk, ie not SATA) So on faster machines the boot-up/shut-down times will definitely be faster.

nb: Please note that while I’m a openSUSE fan, I’m not trying to skew the numbers in it’s favour. Which is why it comes out the ‘worst’ of the three.


PCLinuxOS 2007: 37.33 seconds
Interestingly, all three times I booted up to PCLOS, I always got 37 seconds, it was the most consistent.

openSUSE 10.2: 1 minute 5.43 seconds (65.43 seconds)
I like openSUSE, but this is atrocious. All I can say is that I’ve heard a rumour that openSUSE is trying to speed things up. More power to that!

Windows XP: 25.64 seconds
Windows has always been the faster booting system I’ve seen. These seconds actually matter because you (I) tend to choose Windows when you need to quickly check something.

SHUT-DOWN TIMING: (From LOGGED in position to computer TURNOFF)

PCLinuxOS 2007: 22.81 seconds

openSUSE 10.2: 28.93 seconds
A much improved performance!

Windows XP: 35.44 seconds
This was surprising, and I feel I must qualify by saying that possibly Windows was trying to close all the background programmes running in Windows logged in mode (there were no open programmes), which is why it took so long. But I guess that is a Windows problem, so why give excuses, right? :)


My personal favourite openSUSE failed big-time, though the shut-down was not so bad. PCLinuxOS is slowly winning me over by it’s high standard. And Windows? Well, it’s always easy to enter Windows but (in the words of the Eagles) “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…”



1. simfox - May 29, 2007

I guess boot-speed depends on what you consider “fully booted”. Vista might boot to a nice desktop with pretty background in 25.64 seconds, but on my installation it is still loading taskbar widgets and trying to have me update one thing or another for at least a further minute. Basically until it has finished with everything the desktop is useless. In my opinion, your 25 second vista boot is nonsense — a desktop isn’t booted up until it can be used. Not so???

2. CraigMac - May 29, 2007

I don’t dispute your findings but I would offer the following suggestion from my own limited experience; XP takes an eternity (for me) to actually become usable. Once all the services are loaded in the background it is normally well over a minute before it can really do anything.

As soon as the desktop comes on screen, try and open your file manager or web browser. I bet PCLinuxOS wins the race.
Disclaimer: I use PCLinux on my laptop but dual boot XP on my desktop.

3. ewen - May 29, 2007

When i used xp it would boot to the desktop really fast and then I’d wait for my firewall, AV, and assorted system ‘essentials’ to load so it was useless for at least a minute. Of course I would then get bombarded with such and such wants to update yes/no etc etc.
My idea of boot up time is from switching on the comp to a usable interface. I think even suse would beat xp under that criteria.

4. Kanwar Plaha - May 29, 2007

Agreed with all three previous comments. I have timed PCLinuxOS several time with auto-login set to on and found that it reaches a usable state in just about a minute from the time I hit Enter at the GRUB menu. This includes loading laptop monitor, network monitor and a couple of apps that KDE saves as part of the session.

In contrast, Windows XP (and 2000) take forever to reach a stage where I can start interacting with it.

Possibly, you need to rework your “boot-up” times to a usable desktop and post results again. It would be interesting.

5. NAyK - May 29, 2007

to all of the above: I guess I was more interested in seeing how it booted to ‘login’ screen because till the login screen the operating system configuration is pretty much standard. Once we get to “logged-in” stage, then it depends what programmes are running in the operating system. Of course, a default Windows machine would take an extremely long time to load because of all the bloatware, but I usually turn off almost all the background services other than the firewall and antivirus.
But I see the point you guys are making. There’s little use in comparing till login screen. It’s better to compare when the computer is ready for use. I know for openSUSE from GRUB to Login is a horrendous 1 minute 25 seconds! (with auto login enabled)

6. eudoxus - May 29, 2007

Yes. SuSE is really slow. I used to run SuSE and was a fan of it. However, I was fed with many issues – it is slow, it is hard to use AIGLX etc. Now I am on Debian. It would be nice to know whether there are systems taht can boot faster than pclos. I think Debian and Mandriva would be good competitors in that regard.

7. mark - May 29, 2007

am flying pc linux 2007 on my gateway laptop, i’ve never found myself losing patience with boot-up/or log-off time. now on my desktop, i dual boot xp and mepis 6.5 … with a noticeable speed difference in all areas going to mepis. last note of mediocre importance, mepis 6.5. is what my wife uses, with brazilian portuguese support for kde and all other apps.

8. t - August 14, 2007

suse 10.1 had a very fast boot time– even faster than xp (at least on my thinkpad) but my experience with suse 10.2 is the same as yours– horrifically slow. I read something about apparmor being a possible cause

9. t - August 14, 2007

the thing about windows (after win2k) is that it’s not *really* done booting when you see the desktop.
OTOH, even accounting for this, it’s still much faster then opensuse 10.2

10. NAyK - August 15, 2007

To t: Ya, I think the thing that kills XP is the ‘extra’ software that it keeps installing after it boots… like my Thinkpad has all the company installed software… like Password, security etc. And my Thinkpad is getting slower by the day. *gripe gripe*

11. Alec - August 15, 2007

How about time it to ow long it tkes to open a browser window and chose distrowatch.com from bookmarks and load it? Thats a minimum typical task you could do after booting. It does involve a browser, but in all these systems its either built-in (Konq, IE) or the same (Firefox).
And it requires a responsive desktop for mouse navigation.

Anyhow, I hear OpenSuse 10.3 has much improved in boot-up field

12. NAyK - August 16, 2007

To Alec: I have a feeling that those timings are a battle within milliseconds; and difficult to assess using a stopwatch. My feeling is that the photofinish would require specialised timing tools to test.

Personally, I haven’t found SUSE, PCLINUX or Windows slow in my notebook. They’re sufficiently fast and workable. Even browsers. Of course, BIG softwares like Adobe etc… take a long time to load in windows, and I don’t think it is fair to compare GIMP start-up with that.

But I must say that I would interested to see the results of such a test.

13. UM - August 18, 2007

I would like to have the wall you have used on your openSUSE 10.2 for my Fedora Core.

Where did you get it?

14. NAyK - August 18, 2007

To UM: Can’t email it to you, but here is the link:


15. Using PCLinux2007: A good-bad report « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - August 30, 2007

[…] heal the USB drive from the virus! Of course this I could have done through openSUSE as well, but considering openSUSE’s horrific boot-up time, and PCLOS’s good start-up time, this has become my normal modus-operandi even if I am […]

16. julie - September 10, 2007

join this orkut community about pclinux and share ur experiences and expertise

17. Munich Unix » PCLOS vs openSUSE vs Windows: Comparing Boot-up/Shut-down timings - November 16, 2007

[…] read more | digg story […]

18. Greg3rok - December 1, 2007

My suse 10.3 loads much faster than windows Ive time to use time as 37 second Windows XP to a usable screen 57 seconds.

Fastest linux so far is Ubuntu6.06 but trouble with dual monitor.

19. Topazix New Zealand - January 13, 2009

By Default windows Desktop OS boots faster than LINUX because of the following reasons:

Open SUSE and other LINUX dist have server components to it by default
Desktop in LINUX is not presented till all necessary drivers and Application launchers are completely loaded.

We should rather compare a full install of OPEN SUSE with Windows Server 2 K systems.

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