Windows 8 to use less memory even on older machines

Reaffirming its intention to build on the strengths and address the weaknesses of Windows 7, Microsoft says “hundreds of changes” in its upcoming new Windows 8 OS will lead to reduced memory usage and better memory prioritization.

Windows 8 to use less memory even on older machines

Pointing to a test held at Microsoft’s recent “Build” developer conference, Bill Karagounis, group program manager, performance team, wrote at the Building Windows 8 blog that even older PCs will see a marked difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

To prove this, the company ran both platforms on the same three-year old netbook. The results were obvious: a 4 percent drop in CPU usage, and 100 MBs less memory was required on the device when it ran Windows 8.

The performance contrast is important, believes Karagounis.

“Our goal with Windows 8 from the beginning was to ship with the same system requirements as Windows 7,” he said. “We wanted to ensure that people running on Windows 7-era hardware would have the option to easily upgrade their existing machines to Windows 8 and take advantage of the functionality it has to offer.”

Karagounis declared that reducing memory usage so new functionality could be included and accessed easily was “an important task,” adding that Windows 8 will free up space through a method called memory combining.

“Memory combining is a technique in which Windows efficiently assesses the content of system RAM during normal activity and locates duplicate content across all system memory,” he explained. “Windows will then free up duplicates and keep a single copy. If the application tries to write to the memory in future, Windows will give it a private copy.”

The manager insisted that the task occurs “under the covers” and can free up anywhere from 10 MBs to over 100 MBs of memory. Another behind-the-scenes feature is better memory prioritization.

“In Windows 8, any program has the ability to allocate memory as ‘low priority,” said Karagounis. “This is an important signal to Windows that if there is memory pressure, Windows can remove this low priority memory to make space, and it doesn’t affect other memory required to sustain the responsiveness of the system.” (via Building Windows 8)

What do you think about the new memory optimization techniques? Let us know in the comment section.