Accidental Hoax Revealed; CodeJacked Tipster Chagrined

Last week, I posted a “tip” entitled, Restarting Windows Without Restarting Your PC (Vista or XP). It was supposedly a way to save time when rebooting (e.g. after installing software); however, the tip does not work. It used to work in Windows 95/98, but it does not work anymore. For anyone who is curious, here’s the story on what happened to make me think that it did work:

I was cleaning out some old files and I came across this tip from the Windows 98 days. Curious to see if it still worked, I tried it on one of my XP boxes. I must not have been paying close attention, but I could have sworn it worked — that is, I thought I saw it reboot without displaying the BIOS screen. Anyway, the real test, I thought, would be if it worked on Vista.

Now, I don’t currently have a Vista box at my desk. Lately, when I want write about a Vista-specific topic, there’s a Vista box at my disposal that I can use remotely (see UltraVNC PC-to-PC Remote Control). UltraVNC is great. There’s hardly anything that I can’t do remotely with it. Of course, watching the screen as it reboots is one of those things. So, I asked the person who uses that machine normally to test this reboot tip for me. I must not have given clear enough instructions, though. Because, the results I got back was that the tip worked — and worked well. I was told that without holding down the SHIFT key, it took 1 minute 34 seconds to reboot, and with holding down the SHIFT key it only took 1 minute and 7 seconds. It sounded like a winner, and I couldn’t wait to pass the tip along.

Well, considering the dozens of feedback comments I received directly on CodeJacked, plus the hundreds of comments recorded on Digg, this tip has no basis in reality. Chalk it up to wishful thinking? Obviously, if I had things to do over again, I should have waited to post the tip until I could verify the Vista findings for myself in person, and I should have re-tested it on XP.

The funny thing is, I had no idea this tip was going to be so popular (2400 Diggs before it got buried) — that lengthy reboot times was such a sore spot with users. (Also, with my luck, the firestorm didn’t begin until the day after I left town for a family reunion. So, here it is four days later before I have this chance to make amends.) I am sorry to have gotten everyone’s hopes up. I wish I could claim it was an April Fool’s joke, but it’s nowhere near April. And, I swear this wasn’t a publicity stunt, just an honest mistake.

All I can say is, any operating system writers out there should take note. If your OS does a better job of booting faster that Vista (or a better job of not needing to reboot as often to begin with), and you aren’t touting that feature by shouting it from the rooftops, then you are missing out. And if your OS doesn’t do a better job at that, then maybe you ought to take another look at why not.

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  1. Maybe we who use Linux should start shouting now. Because with Linux you have the ability to stop and start pretty much everything in the system without restarting the whole PC.

    That constant reboot thing is a Windows only hell that I am glad to be mostly rid of.

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