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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  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link

    Seriously... Most people where I work hardly EVER click the start button. The moment I added the shortcuts for Office onto the taskbar they need hardly anything else.

    ...A few of them don't even know that they can get to other programs (But that's a training issue). I only use the initial list that appears when you click start as I add everything I want right there
  • inighthawki - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link

    That doesn't mean that some of us don't use it extensively. I find myself clicking on the start menu all the time to access things which I don't want on my taskbar. I immediately turned off Windows 7's icon view in the taskbar and restored classic mode since I cannot work with it, thus pinning a hundred things there doesn't work well.
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    That would be because most of the people you work with, don't truly use their computers. Nor do they admin systems from the terminal, tweak various settings. Or occasionally use Microsoft included applications All of which can be accessed various way locally, but mostly, if not only through the start menu. By default.

    Lets not even get into the command line stuff . . . Start -> Search -> cmd . . .

    However, if all you do is double click an icon to run one or a very small amount of apps . . . then yeah. Try using hide task bar . . .
  • xrror - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    "That would be because most of the people you work with, don't truly use their computers."

    And there lies the mass market. Sadly.

    Joe/Jane Techno-Ignorant is blissfully unaware until "Angry Birds DX" runs like crap on their iAppliance...

    Of which then they just buy a new "generic iConnectivity" and be done with it.

    There are no layers to the onion, people are as shallow as to what motorized vehicles are now. Privacy concerns be damned, if it gets them their iServices it lives - if it complains their being stupid/can't do it it's thrown to the wayside.
  • Exodite - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    Then again the old XP-style Start Menu was leagues better than the current implementation.

    With that in mind it would seem that bringing back a better start menu is av even better option.

    Microsoft seems to be mixing and matching their different userbases quite a lot in these kind of arguments. I dare say that people who actually work with computers, as opposed to having their computer requirements satisfied by blogging and surfing the web on an ARM-based tablet, have vastly different user requirements.

    Trying to satisfy both groups with one solution is likely to end badly.
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link

    ? WIndows 8 will use your 16Gb with zero issue?
  • Goty - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    Use my memory, that's what it's there for; just be able to give it back to me when I need it.
  • dagamer34 - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    Windows 8 will run faster than Windows 7 because it will actually be doing less. Apps will suspend when they aren't in the foreground. That means less background processes running that suck up battery. For example, do IM apps really need to be running in the background or isn't it better to just get a push notification from the server? While it doesn't matter that much for desktops, any way to get more battery life on laptops is welcome.
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - link

    Your comment made me think that M$ is really serious about this stupid cloud computing idea...
  • Exodite - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    Are you actually proposing we go back to the days before multi-tasking?

    I realize there are reasons for wanting to suspend tasks on certain devices, such as smartphones, but I can't imagine a single situation where I'd want to suspend any application on my desktop - or notebook.

    The first time that happens, and ends up inconveniencing me in the process, I'm likely to throw a rage-fit.

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