Defragmentation specialist Diskeeper is claiming that it is on the verge of a "major technical breakthrough" that will speed up the boot times of machines running the Windows operating system by an average of 20 percent.

Earlier this month, the company began shipping V-locity, a new optimisation and defragmentation tool designed for virtualised machines, but specifically targeted at maximising server speeds for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V environments.

Now the company is claiming a major technical breakthrough in the field of instant on computing. It is in the final production stages of software that will be shipped to OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) in the third quarter, in order to start appearing in new machines for the Christmas period.

"Extensive tests performed on Windows XP utilising different hardware from a variety of manufacturers, shows significant boot-time improvements on every system tested, including cases where the boot process completes over 10 seconds faster. Tests on the Windows 7 Release Candidate demonstrated similar results. Improvements from this new technology translate into as much as 20 percent faster boot-times," said the company.

But what about Vista?

"We are skipping Vista," admitted John Lake, executive VP of business development at Diskeeper. "From our discussions with OEMs, the feedback was that Vista's life is limited. "They are still seeing potential for XP, but all their future activities are focused on Windows 7."

"In order to improve boot up times, people have historically thrown hardware at the problem," he told Techworld. "This is a different and much more cost effective approach, with no additional hardware required."

Details about the exact nature of the software are hard to come by, with a product name still to be decided. Lake said that the software will be modified for each OEM, in order to "match their specific boot up process."

"It is an out-of-the-box boot-up enhancement solution," he said. "It will also recognise and adjust changes in the boot-up process that can change over time, so as to maintain improved boot-up speeds. This is because boot-ups can get longer over time as new software is added to the OS, startup menus are changed etc, all of which can slow things down."

The software is only available for new systems (netbooks, laptops and desktops). Boot-up improvements are less of an issue for servers.

"We are looking at an after-market product as well, but our immediate concentration is working with OEMs," said Lake. "But we do see this as an add-on after-market product in the future."

"From the test results we are seeing, with the Windows 7 software, we are seeing a speed increase from boot-up of between 15 percent to 26 percent, with the majority experiencing over 20 percent faster boot-up time," said Lake. "With XP we are getting similar results, with up to 30 percent boot-up time improvement."

Lake says that the benefits of this technology are self-evident. "OEMs have throwing more RAM, faster hard disk drives at this problem for a while now," he said. "This is definitely a green solution. A lot of companies want to be more green, and tell their users to power down their systems at night, but often users say they don't want to wait 10 minutes in the morning for their machine to boot up. "We think this will be a good contribution to overall energy savings."

Any pricing details will remain confidential with the OEMs, Lake said.