There are plenty of laptops and netbooks these days with 'instant on' modes that grant access to a few simple functions without having to go through a full OS boot. Now, a Taiwanese motherboard maker says it has done the same for Windows.

Asrock's Instant Boot is a low-level application that can be installed on any of the company's recent boards to perform a sneaky trick that approximates to instant-on flash-based platforms such as Splashtop Linux.

Smoke and mirrors

Instant Boot springs into action when a Windows machine is shut down after a session. It silently closes the OS and reboots it into a standby or hibernate state, from which it takes just three or four seconds to stat up next time the power switch is pressed.

While it's really just an illusion – after all, anyone can put their computer to sleep manually – Asrock says the Instant Boot solution is effective, as it offers quick access to a clean boot of Windows free from memory leak and other problems associated with the OS.