One of Microsoft's stated goals for Windows 8 is for it to run on any system capable of running Windows 7, which at a minimum will require the its resource usage to remain the same as its predecessor's. Today on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft's Bill Karagounis details how the company has worked not just to maintain memory usage relative to Windows 7, but to reduce it, with an eye toward making it run acceptably on ARM-based tablets that lack the beefy processors and multi-gigabyte RAM banks of today's PCs.

One improvement to the memory manager allows it to search for duplicated items in memory, and to unload all but a single copy to save space (the Windows installer and image deployment tools for enterprises do something similar to reduce the size of the install media, keeping one copy of a given file and a record of everywhere that file needs to go on the hard drive rather than, say, five copies of the same file). Another allows developers to designate certain parts of programs and processes as "low priority," meaning that when the OS needs more memory it can maintain system responsiveness by removing those less-important bits from RAM first.

The OS's other major memory-saving trick comes not from reprogramming major programs and services, but changing how and when they run. Many services in Windows 8 - Windows Update, the Plug and Play service, and others - run only when they're needed, while in Windows 7 they run in the background more or less constantly. By changing some traditional Windows services to run only when triggered and making many new-to-Windows 8 services behave the same way, the OS can save RAM without actually shedding features.

For more, Microsoft's blog post is as always more exhaustive and detailed than what we've reported here - it's linked below for your convenience.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • cfaalm - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

  • DarkUltra - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    The very foundation of Windows 7 is slow and borked. UI uses much more CPU and general file i/o is much slower than XP. These are the same operations yet they are slowed down by a huge amount in 7.

    But .net and managed code is something you should stay away from. It is easier to code but slower to run and uses gargantuan amounts of memory, and is harder to optimize for. Direct2D and c++ is the future, I hope. It would be sweet to have the dynamics of Metro with the Windows 7 start menu and task bar. Games zooming in while the desktop fades out in the background.. but it won't happen soon I guess, *sigh* not big enough expectations from customers.
  • Iketh - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link

    Please explain some of this "crap."
  • Exodite - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    Basically, everything that isn't related to executing and managing applications is extraneous to the OS.
  • DarkUltra - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    No way. What about file system management and indexing feature of W7? That is integrated into the OS and is not extraneous.
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link

    Troll. Unregister yourself.
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link


    I think perhaps you have been watching too much TV. Such as your south park reference suggests.

    Assuming Microsoft just rewrote the memory management methods, and service run policies for Windows 7. Windows 7 it's self would most likely be more responsive as well. Assuming the system architecture could withstand such a rewrite. Which I am betting is more than likely possible.

    As for making any person twice as productive . . . Most likely Microsoft could not truly make that boast. As it is hard to make the average lazy bum any more productive than they want to be. For instance. Microsoft would have to enthrall the masses well enough to get off their fat behinds. So as to stop watching shows like south park (all day long ).

    In other words. Very unlikely.

    *Or* "we" could all just denounce Microsoft entirely. Right ? Because all alternative operating systems are perfect. Yeah, that was sarcasm . . .
  • kensiko - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    They will go bankrupt ! Look we can have 16GB of ram for 100$. I will get 16GB on my next build, I wish Windows 8 will be able to use it efficiently.
  • Pirks - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    Nah they will NOT go bankrupt, stop this bullshit! People will just start building their 32GB or even 64GB RAM disks when RAM prices drop to $100 for 64GB or so. I will for one. Need 32GB RAM disk right now to make stuff like games load instantly. Waiting for RAM prices to drop before jumping in.
  • MonkeyPaw - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    I don't see why it wouldn't. Since Vista, Windows has used idle RAM for commonly used programs to speed launch time. That memory can be freed at anytime if an application needs it. All MS appears to be doing here is reducing the footprint of "system reserved" memory, which means more RAM for applications. This is great, since XP only utilizes RAM that is currently in use, so any RAM that was in excess of that demand served no purpose unless an Application just happened to need it. OS X did this memory trick first, and I don't know if any Linux distros do.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now