A Windows 8 Problem I’m Looking Forward To

Windows 8 introduces a problem new to the annals of computing. Systems using the new Uniform Extensible Firmware Interface in place of the venerable BIOS and a solid-state storage device in place of a spinning hard disk may boot so fast that there is no way to for a human being to interrupt the process. No more F8 to get to the Windows startup menu, or F2 (or any of a number of other key combinations, depending on the manufacturer) to change system settings such a selecting the first boot device.

Boot option screen

Windows chieftain Steven Sinofsky has a post on the Building Windows 8 blog detailing Microsoft’s response to the problem. Basically, any failure to boot normally automatically generates an option screen that lets you choose a response. Interrupting an otherwise normal boot can be accomplished through settings within Windows, then restarting.

Having spent far too many hours of my life twiddling my thumbs while Windows systems rebooted, this is one problem I am really looking forward to. (Of course, Macs have dealt with related problems for years by just having you hold down a key as you power up.)

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Steve Wildstrom

Steve Wildstrom is veteran technology reporter, writer, and analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area. He created and wrote BusinessWeek’s Technology & You column for 15 years. Since leaving BusinessWeek in the fall of 2009, he has written his own blog, Wildstrom on Tech and has contributed to corporate blogs, including those of Cisco and AMD and also consults for major technology companies.

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