In Vista, when the system boots you get a black screen for a long time, then the 'orb' comes up and after that the login screen.
The first 'black' screen can take up to 10-20 seconds and the only thing that shows progress is by looking at the disc activity.
In Windows 2000 e.g there was the progressbar that gave an indication on the progress.
I saw in Windows 7 that now there is a text 'Starting Windows...' and a progressbar that just scrolls and scrolls... followed by the Orb. (A bit related to: http://www.windows7taskforce.com/view/59)
It would be much better if there was a real progressbar (0->100%), because what purpose does the current one have besides wasting CPU cycles and letting the user just watch it scroll over and over?
And maybe even some more text (although not too much) like: Starting Windows, Starting Services, Loading login screen,... (just a bit more feedback on what it is doing, but ofcourse much less than you would boot in safe mode)
1. Show the real progress when booting with a percentage progressbar.
2. Maybe show some more text about what is loading.
3. Is the orb really needed?