Microsoft has been pretty clear in its message regarding the system requirements for Windows 8. If it will run Windows 7, it will run Windows 8. Promising to add new features, all while keeping the OS footprint steady is no easy task, but why stop there. In a blog post yesterday, Microsoft announced isn’t looking to just hold the line on resource usage; they actually believe it’s possible to make Windows 8 even more efficient than 7. When compared to Vista….. lets not go there.
According to Windows 8’s lead designer Steven Sinofsky, “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”.
Windows performance manager Bill Karagounis goes on to further explain, “Something that might not be obvious is that minimizing memory usage on low-power platforms can prolong battery life”. “In any PC, RAM is constantly consuming power.” Manufacturers often offer large amounts of RAM in PCs to counteract the increased requirements from applications and Windows. “The more RAM you have on board, the more power it uses,” says Karagounis. The less amount of RAM in use and in the system then the more battery life for laptop and tablet devices.
To achieve it’s goal, Windows 8 is taking 5 creative new approaches to managing memory usage.
This technique allows Windows to efficiently access the system RAM during normal reads, and locate duplicate information. Microsoft estimates this can save 10s to 100s of MBs of memory depending on the task.
Service Changes and Reduction
Microsoft has instituted a new “start on demand” model for system services. This would for example disable plug and play until you attach a new device.
Less Memory for General OS Operations
Microsoft describes this change as shaving tens of MB on average per machine, all without sacrificing functionality.
Only Loading Desktop Component When Required Outside of Metro
If you can live in Metro, why waste RAM? Microsoft estimates this saves around 23MB
Prioritization of Memory
“This means that Windows can make better decisions about what memory to keep around and what memory to remove sooner,” says Karagounis.
Microsoft’s efforts here will likely pay off big time in the tablet arena, though I’m guessing “saving tens of MB of RAM” isn’t that big a priority to our readers planning to load this on their primary PC.