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

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  • B3an - Friday, October 07, 2011 - link

    This is old news. It was mentioned at Microsoft's Build a while back, and you can see it for yourself by using the Win 8 developer preview. They also mentioned that it's likely RAM usage will drop even further by the time they get to the finished version.

    And i can confirm that even the early dev preview runs faster than Win 7 on all hardware i've tried it on. From a 6 year old laptop to a beefy 6 core rig with 24GB RAM and RAID SSD's.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - link

    :) That might be because there's no trialware/bloatware installed. We all know what machines are like straight out of the box.

    ... But yes it's damn fast
    Reply
  • B3an - Sunday, October 09, 2011 - link

    When i tested it i also had clean installs of Win7, so it was fair. It's definitely faster :)

    For a laugh i recently tried it on a ancient 8 year old laptop with a single core P4 CPU and only 512MB RAM... amazingly it actually runs about as snappy as XP did on the same hardware. Thats VERY impressive for a new OS, as XP is 10 years old now.
    Win 7 on the same hardware ran worse, not much worse, but it made the difference between the laptop actually being usable or not.
    Reply
  • danrien - Friday, October 07, 2011 - link

    "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). "

    That's ... not ... at all the same thing. One is checking files (I'm guessing just checksums), the other is checking arrays of bytes in RAM. One is probably storing a list of actual paths to extract a file to while the other is likely consolidating pointers to all point to the same memory location, which would be the reverse of what the Enterprise installer does. The too are wildly different as is the programming involved to accomplish each task.
    Reply
  • inighthawki - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - link

    How do you figure? They are both conceptually identical. Obviously the means of accomplishing both will work differently, but both methods take a chunk of data and create only a single copy of that data. The concept does not change just because one uses pointers and one uses files. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - link

    This is MS bringing us a step closer to the cloud. I for one don't welcome our new overlord. :( Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - link

    You DO have a choice and that choice is to keep your docs on your machine. NO ONE AT ALL is forcing you or I to store our files online.

    P.s. It's not just MS... Google and Apple are all heading in the same direction.
    Reply
  • Nihility - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - link

    You're not looking forward to paying a monthly subscription fee to use Windows? Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Erm, no. :) I don't pirate my software, so this anti-pirate cloud computing idea is just for them to secure more money and hurt pirates. I am no pirate matey. Arrr! Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    They are only hurting their paying customers. Of course, MS is more concerned with the business sector. Reply

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