I just finished installing our Microsoft IT build of Windows 7 x64 with Office 2010.  After I installed all the updates on my Lenovo T61p with 4GB RAM, I decided to reboot my machine a few times and clock it with my stopwatch.  From shutdown to usable desktop interactivity, my laptop required about 1 minute and 35 seconds.  I wasn’t to pleased with this consider that I had recently seen an Engadget video showing a Lenovo and a Dell booting a machine from 10-20 seconds.

I decided to identify where the largest chunks of time resided during the boot process using the lap feature on my stopwatch.  The culprit seemed to be the BIOS.  I checked if there were any BIOS updates for my machine and as it turns out my version was quite dates.  I updated to recent build that dropped in May 2009.  I checked out out any new features in the BIOS and there didn’t seem to be anything of notable value, but then I noticed “Extended Memory Test” set to “Enabled”.  I looked at my phone and decided that 2009 is the year that I deem this test to be obsolete.  Seriously, with 4GB of RAM, soon to be 8GB, why on Earth would any sane IT guy enable this test on a production machine?  It doesn’t really test anything major and it actually only performs a worst-case memory failure scenario, not nearly as thorough as Windows Memory Diagnostics found in Vista and Windows 7.  I turned it off.

Combined with the new BIOS, I managed to reduce 30 seconds off my boot time! Now if I can only retrofit my machine with an UEFI and eliminate the last vestige of a bygone era…the BIOS.