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Benchmark Startup Times of Software Applications with AppTimer

While writing the Secure Computing series, we received a lot of requests to compare each security utility side by side, so let’s take a look at a free utility that will allow you to determine the amount of time an application takes to start up. 

PassMark’s AppTimer does not need installation and can run from a flash drive. Of course, this is only part of an overall evaluation of software performance, but comes in very handy.

Using AppTimer

Download the file, unzip, and launch the executable.

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AppTimer runs a selected application a several times to calculate the amount of time it takes for it to get to a useable state.  For this first example we will take a look at Microsoft Outlook 2007.  When choosing an application Explorer opens so you can browse to the software executable to test (outlook.exe is at C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12).

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AppTimer will keep logs of each test result so I created a directory to store those files.

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At this point let’s go ahead and run the test, make sure the app your testing is shutdown, just click Run App.

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AppTimer will launch Outlook and you will notice information passing by in the Status field, and when completed you will get the following message.

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Now we can open the saved log file and see the results which are in milliseconds.

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Back to the user interface of AppTimer.  You can input different criteria for the tests, for example you can increase the number of test executions, change the delay time, and the way the application window is closed.  There is a handy file which explains every change that can be made.  The different options might be handy in determining different tests under various conditions.

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One interesting test for AppTimer would be to run tests on more intensive applications such as Photoshop.  Varying conditions on the computer can also change launch times.  For example if you launch several applications then test the start up time of say Photoshop.  Take those results and compare them against launching it with no applications running.  There are a multitude of tests you can run and compare with multiple system configurations.  For the truly geeky this is definitely a fun free utility.

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Download AppTimer For Windows

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/30/08

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