Click the above image to see the difference between Windows 7 (left) and Windows 8 (right).
Microsoft is striving to reduce the memory footprint of Windows 8, saying that RAM usage represents a 'key engineering tenet' of the new OS.
In a post on the MSDN blog page
, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows Division, outlined the company's aims to improve memory usage compared to previous versions of the OS.
On the blog, Sinofsky claimed that 'fundamentals such as memory usage represent a key engineering tenet of Windows 8. In building Windows 8 we set out to significantly reduce the overall runtime memory requirements of the core system. This is always good for everyone and especially in a world where people want to run more and more apps at the same time or run on systems with only 1 or 2GB of memory.'
The reduction in memory usage is the result of several aims that Microsoft has for the OS, from reducing power requirements for portable devices, to making the OS less demanding and friendlier to these devices, which typically have far less power on tap than a desktop PC. The blog goes on to outline various methods for reducing the operating system's memory footprint compared to Windows 7's.
One example is memory combining, which refers to Windows 8's ability to assess the contents of RAM in a PC, some of which is likely to be held in reserve or duplicated. The OS can delete duplicate versions, freeing up space, and can also create additional versions if programs then require their own private versions. Services also now receive a maker in Windows 8. Many, such as Plug and Play and Windows Update are now trigger-started, only starting up when required, whereas they started with the OS in Windows 7.
As well as consolidating memory use, the OS has been further optimised for use in the Metro UI mode, likely to be used with tablets. While users will also have the option of using Windows 8 in a traditional desktop mode, components for this will only be loaded when necessary.
Further improvements have also been made by adding more granularity to the prioritisation of memory. If memory is running low, the application you're currently using will have a higher priority than background tasks, to keep that application as responsive as possible.
What do you make of Windows 8 so far? Are you pleased to see Windows 8 potentially using less memory as standard? Let us know in the comments