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Start Eclipse faster with -initialize

posted under category: IDEs and tools on April 10, 2009 at 1:00 am by Nathan

There was some good discussion today on the CFEclipse Users email list about getting Eclipse to start up faster, and I offered this suggestion:

Run this command when you log in to your workstation:

eclipse -initialize

According to the most complete reference I could find on Eclipse's command-line arguments, the initialize command:

Initializes the configuration being run. All runtime related data structures and caches are refreshed. Handy with shared installs: running Eclipse once with this option from an account with write privileges will improve startup performance.

The emphasis was mine, and for good reason. It really works!

In a very cheap experiment, using the windows clock as my stopwatch, I closed my open Eclipse (version 3.5, galileo M6), waited about a minute, then started it again. My PC took a full 60 seconds to load my workspace again.

I closed it, and called eclipse with -initialize through a windows shortcut. The initialize command doesn't really seem to do anything, and it took about 5 seconds to complete. After that, I waited 30 seconds and started Eclipse again, this time it took 16 seconds! Closed it, started it, 16 seconds again!

I guess I would have to reboot to get a cold start time, which is more than I'm prepared to do for today's little blog post. I really don't know what -initialize does under the hood, but wow, what a difference it can make.