As revealed in the latest Buildings "Windows 8" blog post, half of all users shut down their computers rather than putting them sleep/standby.
Shocking statistics in my opinion. No doubt compounded by the fact that in Windows 7, the power button, would shut the system down rather than put it to sleep by default like it would in Windows Vista.
Windows Vista introduced the new hybrid sleep mode, that writes the contents of memory to disk, like if the system was hibernating but would then suspend the system like it was sleeping. This was a great development, it meant that if the system lost power, the state was still stored on disk and could be resumed as normal, but if the system maintained power it would boot up in a couple of seconds like it would as if it was sleeping. Windows 7 continued with this approach, but made Shut down the easy to find option and as we can see many people continue to use it, and waste millions of hours waiting for their systems to boot needlessly in my opinion.
Windows "8" however is introducing what I'm calling a hybrid Shut down. Importantly it is now the default option, although can be changed or the old style shut down can be achieved with a command line switch.
Essentially what this does is hibernate the system, while shutting down the user session. This is a great step forward and should cut boot times in half on many systems. So rather than the system starting drivers and services they're all read into RAM from the hibernate file.
Here's an example: