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This question was inspired by Bob's comment to my answer here.

On boot, windows writes files to the hard drive (I imagine this to be the case, as it has a way of detecting if the boot was previously interrupted by a hard power-off, and I am sure many other things).

But assuming that there is a "smooth" boot, where there are no error, etc, and no logon scripts that run, and things like that, about how much (a few KB, a few MB, a few GB) data gets written to the drive?

For simplicity's sake, assume that:

  • hibernation is turned off
  • windows 7
  • pagefile is turned off (does this matter right at boot, or only later?)

How could one go about measuring this? Are there resources that have this information?

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I don't have a exact number for a answer (and I don't know if it will be KB or GB) so I will leave this as a comment. You could create a VM with your parameters and track inside the host OS the total data written to the container that represents the hard drive in whatever VM software you are using. – Scott Chamberlain Jun 17 '12 at 7:07
Good idea, just lacking the windows VM part. Hopefully someone else will come along that can do that. – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 7:08
It's not necessarily the amount of new data written (i.e. overall size change) when in the context of deleted data recovery; any data that's overwritten (i.e. including deleted and then rewritten) has the potential to overwrite 'deleted' data. – Bob Jun 17 '12 at 7:10
right, but unless there is a way to know definitively where the written data will go, best to take a worst case scenario. – soandos Jun 17 '12 at 7:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Try WinBootInfo. According to them,

WinBootInfo is the advanced Windows Boot Analyzer that logs drivers and applications loaded during system boot, measures Windows boot times, records CPU and I/O activity during the boot, and much more!

Looking at a screenshot, there is a field called "Total I/O Data Write" (showing a few MBs in the screenshot)

Or try hIOmon. See Boot Logging Support.

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