Mac Pro – faster booting Windows than OSX

As I mentioned, my secondhand Mac Pro might very well be the best Windows computer I’ve ever owned. The hardware is just lovely, and it runs Windows really well.

Here’s the thing: it seems to boot faster in Windows 7 than it is in OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion.

  • Boot time (from Boot Camp menu to logon): 55 secs OSX / 35 secs Win7
  • Logon to desktop (from hitting enter on password, to desktop ready): 28 secs OSX / 12 secs Win7
  • Start Chrome and click bookmark for GMail: 10 secs OSX / 7 secs Win7

Once it’s running, OSX is very responsive, but the boot just seems to take ages.

What's going on here?

Perhaps being a 2008 Mac it doesn’t run OSX 10.8 that well… though I’d have thought it is a pretty fast box (2 x 4 core Xeon 2.8 GHz, 8Gb RAM). It’s true that Win7 is not the latest version of Windows — it appears Win8 is not supported on this Mac model under Boot Camp.

Does something in OSX need some optimisation perhaps? What's the OSX equivalent to running msconfig and turning off automatic startup for things you don't need?

OSX experts, any ideas?

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6 thoughts on “Mac Pro – faster booting Windows than OSX

  1. Chris

    What the?!?! Let me get this straight – you take 55 seconds to boot to login screen and then a further 28 seconds to get to the desktop? Total 83 seconds – seriously?!?

    Not that I ever need to ‘boot’ a Mac, but if i did reboot my 2010 17″ MacBook Pro used to take 12 seconds to boot all the way to the desktop with its old hard drive but 7 seconds flat to boot all the way to the desktop ever since I installed an SSD. My older 2008 13″ MacBook Pro with Apple SSD boots all the way to the desktop in 8 seconds flat.

    If I ever need to use Windows, can’t think why but it’s there, it is running within VMware Fusion in around 15 seconds.

    Did you install OS X fresh yourself?

  2. daniel Post author

    @Chris yeah I reckon it’s not quite right!

    IIRC it was an existing Snow Leopard installation and I upgraded to Mountain Lion from the App Store.

    What’s the easiest way of doing a fresh install, and can I preserve Boot Camp when I do so? (It’s on a separate physical drive, if that helps.)

  3. Philip

    I would just leave it sleeping all the time. Then it’ll be ready in a few seconds when you press a key. I can’t do that with Windows at work but on a Mac, OS X will certainly do it and Windows might not fall apart the way it does here. But it still doesn’t solve your slow booting. I think it is possible to do a clean install without affecting the Boot Camp partition but you’d need to find some instructions on how to do it. Perhaps when you get to the erase stage of the re-install, you will be given an option to delete the whole disk or just the Mac partition.

  4. Chris

    Sorry Daniel I have no clue about about Boot Camp – in my mind it is only necessary for gamers/etc where you need absolute 1:1 full native performance. For everything else virtualisation screams so fast in my Experience there’s no performance impact to be worrying about?

    Even my servers at home, including Exchange 2010, all run within ESXi installed on a Mac Mini – size of two CDs and drawing a measly 5 watts of electricity, fantastic!

  5. Chris

    Given you have an almighty Mac Pro have you thought shoving a few new drives in there? You could install two SSDs – one devoted to OS X and one devoted to Windows. You could even have a small partition on each for the other O/S’ swap file – eg OS X store its swap on your Windows SSD and Windows stores its swap in the OS X SSD… Man that’d fly 🙂

    Then you’d have physical separation that would keep reinstalls really simple 🙂

  6. daniel Post author

    @Chris, great idea on the SSD’s. Very tempting. Will look into that. (Any views on good brands/models?)

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