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I have used Windows 98, and observed that its shutdown is very fast. How is that?

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  • 12
    It's not as fast as my C64 :)
    – Brian H
    May 29 '20 at 17:14
  • 7
    I mean, MS-DOS can shutdown quicker...
    – dirkt
    May 29 '20 at 18:14
  • If I pull the plug, pretty much any desktop shuts down quickly (the laptop not so much).
    – Jon Custer
    May 29 '20 at 20:23
  • @BrianH NB the C64 booted in less than 5 seconds
    – Artelius
    May 30 '20 at 5:02
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – wizzwizz4
    Jun 10 '20 at 8:31
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Shutting down a computer involves two major tasks: stopping all running processes, and ensuring all pending writes are flushed to disk.

Once any running applications have stopped, there isn’t much in the way of system services to stop before the system can be shut down, so Windows 98 does shut down quite quickly compared to current systems.

The same is true of other non-server operating systems of the period; a default installation of OS/2 Warp in particular boots and shuts down very quickly.

PCs of the time had much less resources than now (a typical hard drive of the period would fit several times over in current systems’ RAM, and typical Windows 98 computers had two orders of magnitude less memory than many current systems), so there was far less data to potentially write out before shutting down too. Windows 98 is designed with such constraints in mind, so even on a modern system (well, one where Windows 98 will run) it won’t keep much in its disk caches; it never did keep many pending writes anyway.

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    Or "if there's not much to shut down, shutting it down does not take long" :-) May 29 '20 at 17:13
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    Quickly compared to current Windows systems, but I've got a laptop running modern Linux that shuts down in less than five seconds.
    – Mark
    May 30 '20 at 1:41
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    "current systems have more cache on their CPUs than typical Windows 98 computers had memory" Uh, no. I know what you mean to imply, but this is a huge exaggeration. Typical amounts of memory in the Windows 98 days were 16-64 MB. There are CPUs now with 16 MB of L3 cache, but they're certainly not mainstream, and that's comparing extremely high-end systems today with extremely low-end systems back in the day. Also...CPU cache sizes don't really affect shutdown. The CPU cache contents don't get dumped to disk during shutdown.
    – Cody Gray
    May 30 '20 at 4:50
  • @CodyGray OK, point taken, I’ve removed the cache comparison. Of course CPU cache doesn’t affect shutdown time, I’m not sure where that was implied. (Incidentally, there are CPUs with 80 megs of cache, but they are expensive.) May 30 '20 at 5:04
  • 7
    Keep in mind that on standard-configuration Windows 10, "Shut down" is less of a regular shutdown and more of a half-shutdown half-hibernation. It doesn't merely flush pending writes, but also saves a checkpoint of kernel memory to the disk. (Faster boot at the cost of slower shutdown.)
    – user1686
    May 30 '20 at 17:15

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