Microsoft mulling 'Instant On' feature for Windows

Microsoft is considering adding an "Instant On" feature to the Windows client OS.

Microsoft is considering giving its Windows client OS the capability to be turned on very rapidly by allowing users only limited access to the OS, a concept it's calling "Instant On," according to a survey Microsoft conducted.

Through its public relations firm, Microsoft confirmed on Thursday that the survey, screenshots of which were posted on the Engadget blog, was sent out to some users. The company would not comment specifically on the survey, saying only that Microsoft "routinely does research about various scenarios to see what customers are interested in having their computers do."

Microsoft said it's "too early" to discuss Instant On specifically. However, the company may be considering it as a feature of Windows 7, the next version of its client OS, which is expected to be released late next year or in early 2010.

In the survey, Microsoft asks users their opinion of Instant On, which "takes your computer from being completely powered down or 'turned off' to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time," according to a screenshot of the survey posted on the Web.

Microsoft distinguished between an Instant On Windows experience and a "Full Windows" experience by describing Instant On as limiting what activities users can do with the OS and what applications they have access to.

Providing extremely fast boot-up for PCs is not a new concept, and companies have been experimenting with ways to do it by giving people access only to some information on their PCs and other devices without having to power up the full OS.

Dell has two technologies -- one called MediaDirect with Instant Office, for Inspiron notebooks, and another called Latitude ON, for its Latitude laptops -- that give people access to their calendars, contacts, the Internet and other basic tools by just hitting a button on their PCs. Microsoft had publicly demonstrated similar technology for laptops before it became available from Dell.

Another application called Splashtop, from San Jose, California, startup DeviceVM, lets people access the Internet in only a few seconds after turning on a computer. Low-cost laptops from ASUS and Voodoo PC use Splashtop.

In the survey, Microsoft said that in an Instant On scenario, a computer would turn on in about eight seconds, and users would only be able to browse the Web, watch DVDs, use instant messaging and listen to music. They would not have access to all their data or applications.

The company also asked users to identify what functionality they would expect to have in an Instant On scenario, and how quickly an OS would have to turn on for it to be characterized as instantly on. For the latter question, the multiple-choice answers ranged from as little as less than two seconds to as much as one to two minutes.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftWindows

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?