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How Microsoft Reduces Memory Use in Windows 8

By - Source: Microsoft | B 57 comments

Microsoft revealed the Windows 8 will be delivering significant memory efficiency improvements.

For the second time in Windows history, a new release of Windows will not increase its memory system requirements, but rather it will remain the same or even go down. Windows 7 required a minimum of 1 GB, the same as Windows Vista, which also asked for 1 GB. Windows 8 is likely to stay at that level or even drop slightly as the OS apparently is much more considerate when acquiring available memory resources.

Microsoft recently provided a bit more detail on how it was able to decrease the memory consumption in Windows 8 - which is, apparently about 40 percent more efficient than Windows 7, at least according to the Build demonstration, which showed a Windows 8 system occupying 281MB in 29 processes and a Windows 7 system 404MB in 32 processes.

Microsoft's Bill Karagounis recently noted five separate approaches that Microsoft took to reduce memory consumption in the OS. Besides the general recoding of memory allocation, Microsoft is now combining redundant memory data sets and throws out duplicates. Should an application try to register duplicate memory content, it will get a "private copy", but not affect the actual live memory. The company also decreased the number of services that are started by default. There are more services that are only started on demand, such as plug and play, Windows Update and the user mode driver framework. there are several new services in Windows 8, but only two are started automatically, Karagounis said. Additionally, Windows is more picky about giving memory priority to applications. For example, an anti-virus file checker does not receive the same priority as an office application running in the foreground.

The company believes that more improvements are possible and it has good reasons to squeeze every bit of memory efficiency out of the OS: Memory that isn't required by the OS does not consume power and increase battery life as a result, Microsoft argues. This will allow Microsoft to run Windows 8 on a greater range of devices, even those that typically did not work well with Windows in the past - such as tablets.

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  • 24 Hide
    bourgeoisdude , October 10, 2011 7:14 PM
    KawiNinjaZXYes, cut down 200mb of memory usage, it's not like you can't get 16GB of RAM for $150 or anything.


    What about for tablets? Or even smartphones? Or, maybe it's too much to ask to have optimized memory usage so we can use that extra RAM for other programs?
  • 20 Hide
    stratplaya , October 10, 2011 7:10 PM
    I already love the fast boot times of 7. This sounds like it will be even better.
  • 20 Hide
    Parsian , October 10, 2011 7:35 PM
    KawiNinjaZXYes, cut down 200mb of memory usage, it's not like you can't get 16GB of RAM for $150 or anything.


    What??? Software optimization is the core of programming. I am not a programmer and I even I know that.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    stratplaya , October 10, 2011 7:10 PM
    I already love the fast boot times of 7. This sounds like it will be even better.
  • 24 Hide
    bourgeoisdude , October 10, 2011 7:14 PM
    KawiNinjaZXYes, cut down 200mb of memory usage, it's not like you can't get 16GB of RAM for $150 or anything.


    What about for tablets? Or even smartphones? Or, maybe it's too much to ask to have optimized memory usage so we can use that extra RAM for other programs?
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2011 7:16 PM
    Don't really care, Windows 7 will still be my preferred OS of choice. This shift towards unifying the phone OS with desktop is a mistake in my opinion. The desktop is, and should, be treated differently with respect to functionality. What translates well on a phone OS doesn't mean it will translate well to the desktop, which from everything I've seen, is the case with Windows 8. Here's hoping they go back to their Windows 7 roots with Windows 9.
  • 12 Hide
    NapoleonDK , October 10, 2011 7:17 PM
    Good. Now just make it mind-bendingly fast. Lower memory consumption for the OS is great, but I would like to see how the differences affect larger applications like CAD/DAW/Games and photo and video editing. Will Premier use less ram? Ableton? Crysis?

    I'm really hoping to see something FAST, something NEW. Give us access to DWM so clever designers can integrate wicked custom interfaces at the Windows level. Give us amazing SSD integration and optimization for crazy SPEED!
  • 6 Hide
    Shape , October 10, 2011 7:17 PM
    I'm starting to loooove Windows 8.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2011 7:21 PM
    @KawiNinjaZX
    Last time I checked, there was a performance drop-off after 6GB. I'm not sure how much worse it gets when scaled to 16GB, but it's noticeable between 4 and 8GB.
  • 13 Hide
    halcyon , October 10, 2011 7:26 PM
    This is very good news. Its nice to see the focus on efficiency and performance.
  • 0 Hide
    AbdullahG , October 10, 2011 7:33 PM
    Looks to be a solid OS. With my first build coming next year after school ends, I hope to use Win8 as an OS if it does arrive within that time period.
  • 2 Hide
    K2N hater , October 10, 2011 7:33 PM
    That's a great deal. Should make x86 tablets more viable. Hope they don't forget Win7 install may take over 10 times as much disk space as XP/XP64.
  • 20 Hide
    Parsian , October 10, 2011 7:35 PM
    KawiNinjaZXYes, cut down 200mb of memory usage, it's not like you can't get 16GB of RAM for $150 or anything.


    What??? Software optimization is the core of programming. I am not a programmer and I even I know that.
  • -2 Hide
    KelvinTy , October 10, 2011 7:48 PM
    Really, improvement on the activation security... Why even bother...
    I think you better off improving the features and optimize more stuffs, other than wasting time on that...
    --------------Trolling---------------
    Like games for consoles, why not just "port" win8 for tablets and smartphones? You can also "aim for the tablets and smartphone" and port it back to PCs, like id and many other game developers do ^.^"
  • 16 Hide
    Netherscourge , October 10, 2011 7:58 PM
    KawiNinjaZXYes, cut down 200mb of memory usage, it's not like you can't get 16GB of RAM for $150 or anything.



    Hmmm... sounds like someone went out and wasted their money on 16GB of RAM.

    lol
  • 4 Hide
    CyberAngel , October 10, 2011 8:07 PM
    I just hope that when I have 48/64GB of DDR3 RAM
    the OS knows that too and
    1) Keeps everything in RAM automatically
    2) automatically flushes xetras when applications demands more (MRU)
    3) let's me choose some "fine-tuning"
    4) let's me totally control RAM & apps, processes, services, drivers
  • 3 Hide
    lockhrt999 , October 10, 2011 8:11 PM
    On my system win8 eats 30-40% less ram than win7 with same number of applications installed. Application lunching is fast. And main thing is, in power saver mode, stuff opens almost as fast as it'd in other modes. Another thing I'd like to mention that support for older application is increased in some cases older applications are better supported than win7. I'm guessing that's because it's in preview mode.

    Yeah there're dozens of glitches/bugs I can think of such as an svchost.exe goes into infinite loop every other hour(this bug is in there since winXP), multimedia are no longer recognized after a hibernation etc,. But I could care less about these because I got what I have been finally looking for -reliable hibernation-. My win7 can't hibernate(neither that smart sleep). Now I'm using win8 as a primary OS.

    I'm actually quite shocked to know that most of the guys here haven't heard about 'classic start menu' soft. Everyone wants classic start menu in win8 and searching here and there for solution. Well it's been there from ages, originally made for win7 but for me it works just fine for win8 too. It basically creates another (but usable)start menu. You can also use native menu along with it. Here's the link : http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/gallery.html

    Nope I didn't work for that software. Everyone's seeking to for old school menu so I thought I could help.
  • 1 Hide
    lockhrt999 , October 10, 2011 8:17 PM
    lockhrt999...other hour(this bug is in there since winXP), multimedia are no longer recognized after a hibernation etc,. ...

    ^^^
    I meant multimedia keys from keyboard. Multimedia files runs fine.
  • 4 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 10, 2011 8:50 PM
    CyberAngelI just hope that when I have 48/64GB of DDR3 RAMthe OS knows that too and 1) Keeps everything in RAM automatically

    Windows 7 already does that when you turn off the swap file, reduce it to the minimum 16mb first this disable it.
    I have 12Gb on my main PC and even though the memory footprint of the OS is relatively small it hikes up very fast when you start using programs to do daft things like edit HD video.
    Yes it's good that they have reduced the OS footprint even further for Windows 8, but don't use that as an excuse to not buy lots of cheap high speed RAM because it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
  • 2 Hide
    kawininjazx , October 10, 2011 8:56 PM
    Well to defend myself, if you ask me I think 4GB of RAM is the sweet spot for Windows 7 if you aren't doing high end gaming, video editing, etc. When it comes to tablets, I'd rather have Android 3.0+, since they work really nice and don't get viruses (unless you download a shady app). Windows 7 is great, windows 8 feels rushed.
  • 8 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 10, 2011 9:13 PM
    KawiNinjaZXI'd rather have Android 3.0+, since they work really nice and don't get viruses (unless you download a shady app)

    Funny, Windows doesn't get viruses either (unless you download a shady program)
    Even more hilarous, Macs don't get viruses (unless they download a shady program)
    Slightly more worrying however US Reaper Drones don't get viruses (unless the download a shady program)
    ...
    Are you spotting a pattern?
    Android is not virus immune any more than any other OS is, but you keep on fooling yourself, after all as long as you aren't hurting anyome you should be free to fap to german porn sites on your Android phone all day long.
  • -2 Hide
    Energy96 , October 10, 2011 10:17 PM
    Ironic that they start caring about memory usage when most people have more memory than they know what to do with. This would have been useful back in 2003. RAM is so dirt cheap today its silly to run anything less than 8gb.
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