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Windows 8 To Reduce Memory Footprint

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the those-sound-like-good-ideas dept.

Windows 306

bheer writes "Microsoft's Windows 8 blog has a good post about the work being done to reduce Windows 8's memory footprint. The OS will use multiple approaches to do this, including combining RAM pages, re-architecting old bits of code and adding new APIs for more granular memory management. Interestingly, it will also let services start on a trigger and stop when needed instead of running all the time."

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About friggin' time... (4)

DaneM (810927) | about 3 years ago | (#37647320)

...especially the bit about the services.

Re:About friggin' time... (5, Insightful)

tech4 (2467692) | about 3 years ago | (#37647346)

Except for the services part, Windows memory management has been improving a lot with each version. It made a huge difference when they let the OS decide more intelligently where to put resources not in use to.

Most people who don't really understand memory management will just look at the processes and start bitching how much memory each program uses, or how Windows shows there isn't any memory available (while in fact it's just used for caching things). They're only half-intelligent, which hurts them even more than not knowing at all. The fact is, non used memory goes to waste. Every time there's memory that's free, well, it's just wasting it. It's much better approach that OS tries to use it all intelligently.

This same pattern of stupid comments can be seen in browser comparisons too. It's always full of people going "omg Firefox/Opera/IE is using this much memory!" while it shows that they don't understand what is really happening. The browser and OS reserves that memory because it speeds up things. If the memory is needed elsewhere, it can and will free it up. That's something that seems to be really hard for people to understand, as the same thing always happens in every browser story or story about memory management.

Re:About friggin' time... (4, Insightful)

torako (532270) | about 3 years ago | (#37647424)

By what mechanism can a browser know when the memory it has reserved is needed elsewhere in the system? I don't think it works that way.

When people complain about browsers needing excessive amounts of memory they usually refer to memory leaks, not to intelligent use of memory through caching.

The bit about how some people misinterpret the amount of free memory the OS reports is totally true, though.

Re:About friggin' time... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647554)

The bit about how some people misinterpret the amount of free memory the OS reports is totally true, though.

That's the same pathology that has plagued humanity for all of history. The idiot says: "hey, look at all the memory it's hogging! ... wait a minute, do I actually understand anything about these figures and how they are accounted for and what they mean? I sure don't. Fuck it, I'm going to form a highly vocal opinion about it anyway!"

That's like the user "sgt scrub" whose sig says "4,143,077 Texans live in poverty. 1,655,085 of them are children. http://www.census.gov/ [census.gov] ". Do you know what this means? It means 2,487,992 adults said "hey, I'm living in poverty, I can't afford to make ends meet, I spend nearly as much or more than I make ... wow I know exactly what I should do. I'll have unprotected sex and bring a child into poverty! What a great idea! Damn I'll make such a fine parent."

Irony meter off the charts? (1)

stomv (80392) | about 3 years ago | (#37647612)

So the AC points out how people who don't know what they're talking about "form a highly vocal opinion about it anyway!" and then proceeds to do the exact same thing about poverty in Texas, riddled with so many false assumptions it doesn't warrant a point by point response.

Re:About friggin' time... (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | about 3 years ago | (#37647596)

By what mechanism can a browser know when the memory it has reserved is needed elsewhere in the system? I don't think it works that way.

When people complain about browsers needing excessive amounts of memory they usually refer to memory leaks, not to intelligent use of memory through caching.

The bit about how some people misinterpret the amount of free memory the OS reports is totally true, though.

I recall people complaining that their Vista system with 8GB of RAM had no free memory. This was true of systems running with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB RAM. This tells me that much of that was cache but that didn't stop people from claiming that Vista was a memory hog.

However, you do have a point about the browser. If I leave Firefox running on a page that refreshes itself, like Slashdot, over the weekend, when I come back to the machine, Firefox is using over up to a GB or RAM and everything else is swapped out to the HDD. It takes several minutes for the system to become spunky again, and it usually requires a force close of Firefox. Firefox has pages cached on its own and OS knows nothing about it. All it sees is that Firefox.exe "needs" 1GB RAM.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37647644)

Maybe Windows should find a better method to report how much memory is "in use" then? On Linux, there is no "free memory" either. It's always been a truism, that Linux will use all available memory, even if it's just for caching. But, I keep System Monitor open most of the time, and it reports that I'm using about 60% of my memory. Apparently, System Monitor recognizes that cache memory is actually "available memory".

I'm no memory management expert, so I'm not going to get into an in-depth pissing contest. It just seems to me that Windows might make more intelligent reports, so that the less intelligent (or, just less savvy) users might recognize what it is that they are looking at.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647884)

Which is true on Windows as well. Im honestly not sure where people are getting this from; I have never seen a windows box with anywhere close to 100% utilization reported that didnt cause disk thrashing. Possibly people are using RAM cleaners or something, but task manager either does not report the caching as used RAM, or the caching is nowhere near as extensive as reported.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 years ago | (#37647760)

However, you do have a point about the browser. If I leave Firefox running on a page that refreshes itself, like Slashdot, over the weekend, when I come back to the machine, Firefox is using over up to a GB or RAM and everything else is swapped out to the HDD. It takes several minutes for the system to become spunky again, and it usually requires a force close of Firefox. Firefox has pages cached on its own and OS knows nothing about it. All it sees is that Firefox.exe "needs" 1GB RAM.

A mechanism would be interesting where a certain process (say firefox.exe) would have a physical memory cap (say 256MB) - it could acquire more but everything over that would be swapped. Only the "most alive" part of Firefox would be held in RAM. Then all the rest of the OS would not be swapped out when Firefox goes a bit crazy. And it creates an automatic side effect where the background tabs are "hibernated" when not in use. Then again, swap is starting to be a relic of the old days so I don't know if it's worth to implement something like this any more.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647914)

That would absolutely kill performance, and could make certain programs unusable. The current system seems to work fine. Having used firefox for several years (since the 0.9 days), I have never seen this awful RAM consumption except around 1.5 when I had about 25 addons. These days I tend to use chrome, but when I use firefox it does tend to remain open for days, with no issues.

As for the automatic "hibernating" of tabs when not in use, that already happens. Tabs that havent been used in a while are swapped out-- it happens in chrome as well, and I assume it is an OS mechanism. You can observe this with any older relatives who start new instances of firefox when they forget how to access the old instance, and leave them all running for months. When you finally try to open last month's firefox window, it will have to be fetched from paging before you can close it.

Like Mac OS classic (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37647964)

A mechanism would be interesting where a certain process (say firefox.exe) would have a physical memory cap (say 256MB)

That sort of reminds me of how Mac OS worked in the dinosaur age.

Then again, swap is starting to be a relic of the old days

Not on netbooks and tablets, where the operating system has to regularly swap out applications (on netbooks) or close background applications (on tablets) to free up memory for new tasks.

Re:About friggin' time... (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 years ago | (#37647870)

I recall people complaining that their Vista system with 8GB of RAM had no free memory. This was true of systems running with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB RAM. This tells me that much of that was cache but that didn't stop people from claiming that Vista was a memory hog.

One thing is cache, leaving things in memory after you've used them. But early Vista had a very aggressive idea of SuperFetch, pre-caching applications and other resources it thought you might need in best Clippy-style. So no matter how much RAM you had, Vista would churn on your disk. I think most people mistakenly identified this as swapping because Vista was out of memory. From what I understand later SPs and Win7 dialed it back to far more reasonable levels.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647864)

Except in practice, if a Windows [XP | Vista | 7] box is dragging tail, and task manager shows physical utilization of RAM at 94%, you can be darn sure that the cause is RAM exhaustion and the disk is thrashing to swap stuff into paging.

The ONE example I have seen of all RAM being legitimately used-- no matter how much you have-- is Exchange 2007 / 2010. No matter how much RAM you throw in the box, it will reserve as huge a chunk of it as it can.

For the record, I have 4GB on my desktop and 8GB on my laptop, and I never see a mysterious 80% utilization that could be explained by caching. I rather suspect that if said caching is occuring (which I am told it is), it is not reflected in the task manager's stats as technically that RAM is not reserved.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647440)

If the memory is needed elsewhere, it can and will free it up.

In theory.

Re:About friggin' time... (3, Insightful)

mickwd (196449) | about 3 years ago | (#37647480)

"Except for the services part, Windows memory management has been improving a lot with each version."

Are you forgetting Vista? It's only two versions of Windows ago. Windows 7 certainly improved on Vista, but Vista's memory requirements were hugely greater than XP's, for seemingly little benefit (despite all the little tricks they introduced).

"The browser and OS reserves that memory because it speeds up things. If the memory is needed elsewhere, it can and will free it up."

I understand the concept of RAM caching - it's not exactly rocket science. But how does Firefox/Opera/IE free up memory when the OS needs it? What is the mechanism by which the OS tells the browser to free memory?

I hope you're not referring to paging. Excessive paging to and from disk as you switch between applications is not a sign of a well-performing system.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

Joe U (443617) | about 3 years ago | (#37647638)

I hope you're not referring to paging. Excessive paging to and from disk as you switch between applications is not a sign of a well-performing system.

Well, yes and no. If I remember my Windows 6/7 kernel design correctly, it was basically that every program requests memory, and some of it starts getting paged asynchronously during idle time. This allows the system cache and readyboost, if enabled, to really start working, keeping unused RAM to a bare minimum.

Unused RAM is wasted RAM, but you always need to have a little for the next application you want to run.

So, paging is good if it doesn't impact the user.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37647972)

So, paging is good if it doesn't impact the user.

Paging does impact the user if it causes the hard drive to spin up and start drawing current from the battery.

Half right and half wrong.. (1, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#37647494)

Too many people view 'free' memory as a good thing and would complain if IO cache was reduced to improve the 'free' memory. However, they can find a measure to soothe their worries. I assume it is also the case in Windows, but in Linux, for example, the categorization of memory usage as disposable cache is clearly delineated (though some cached memory can't be disposed and it's hard to tell what *that* value is, which is a problem). If free memory is under pressure, cache is safely dropped and it was as if the memory was 'free', just it nominally helped. A user bitching can be pointed to the second line of free and told to get over it.

Now to say the browser memory usage scenario is ok, that is problematic. Sure, caching content is great, but if your cache is in your RSS and other processes on the system have no way to get your disposable content to drop out for the sake of memory it needs to absolutely operate, that's a problem. If a webpage you haven't visited in 4 hours has a cached rendering taking up 64 MB and another process dies because it needed to alloc 40 MB, that's not good (values pulled out of ass for illustrative purposes). Incidentally, this is also an issue in virtualization, since a guests cached pages becomes indistinguishable from other content by the hypervisor, various weird hacks go into place for the guest to coordinate this with the host.

Re:Half right and half wrong.. (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647926)

Too many people view 'free' memory as a good thing

Windows Task manager does not include cache in its "physical memory" stat, which is the new "memory load". Either that, or none of the (several) boxes I use with Win7 do any caching whatsoever.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37647530)

Blah blah blah blah.

Firefox has drastically reduced memory usage and sped up over the last year or so. Those people were bitching about real issues with the software.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about 3 years ago | (#37647552)

"Dramatically reduced"? I routinely see Firefox 4.4—sorry, 7—sucking up over 750 MB of RAM, where Firefox 3.6 used to be fine hovering around the 300 MB mark.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37647624)

For exactly the same pages?

My observations are on windows, anecdotally, people on other platforms seem to have more issues with leaks. It is also clear that experiences vary quite widely with Firefox, but 7 uses quite a lot less memory for me than I remember seeing for versions of 3.x, and it is certainly more responsive these days, at least for me.

Also, if you want to use quote marks, you should probably put drastically in them, not dramatically.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

grim4593 (947789) | about 3 years ago | (#37647632)

On the other side of the coin... I have not closed Firefox 7 in over a week and it is only using 206MB/8GB. I always have at least 5 tabs open at a time and it isn't uncommon for me to have 10 or more. Perhaps memory usage consistency should be a goal of Mozilla.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37647888)

The problem is that if it only shows up on some machines then it's not something that they can do on their own. And it's not just the web browser that can lead to unreasonable memory consumption, poorly coded or bloated web pages, extensions are also possible problems that end up causing memory use.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647952)

A) You are using crappy plugins
B) your profile has been in use for ages, and some corruption has crept in. Try backing your profile up, and creating a new one
C) your usage has simply increased, and you havent realized it. How many tabs are we talking here? How many are gigantic scrollable blogs?
D) Youre doing something else wrong.

I hate to pull in anecdotal evidence here, but Ive dealt with several hundred unique installations of firefox across several diverse platforms and scenarios, ranging from WinXP-7, CentOS, Debian, RHEL, Solaris, etc etc, and I have never seen memory usage in Firefox that was out of line with Chrome / Chromium or IE (when applicable). I myself have been using firefox since 0.9, and have only experienced the issue pre 2.0, and it is highly possible it was due to the scads of plugins I used.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37647548)

Except for the services part, Windows memory management has been improving a lot with each version.

XP was dire. A huge step backwards in terms of memory management. Windows 7 works a lot better.

I just opened Firefox, went to this page of text, and it's using 223Mb. I'd say there's still a problem...and it can't possibly be a 'leak' yet because it's only opened one page.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647982)

Its using that much memory because of the incredible size of the page which it has to render and hold in memory as an image.

And for the record, I have it open right now in both Chrome (1 tab) and Firefox 7 (1 tab). Chrome, between its main process (~100MB) and its slashdot process (~30-50MB) weighs in @ 151MB (at the moment). Firefox, having a single process, weighs in at 140-150MB (varies over time..). When I open a second tab with the slashdot homepage, Firefox shoots to 170MB, while chrome shoots to ~160MB.

There is variance there too, so things really do not look that out of line. Check your plugins, they can be a cause-- my measurements were taken with 0 addons in firefox (chrome had addons, but they are marked separately in RAM usage).

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 3 years ago | (#37647748)

so what you are saying is Microsoft is spinning its wheels and there really is no problem with memory bloat in Windows and everyone else is wrong. I guess that's why PCs ship with only 4GB of memory as standard these days.

and if Windows has been getting better with memory management with each version, why do the system requirements for memory go up with each version. Is it really doing that much more than the last version? Don't bother answering, I don't really care. From what I see this article is more proof that Windows 8 tablets and netbooks will be like the previous versions and require more hardware and therefore more battery and either be too heavy or lacking in battery life. Are they even making 4GB PoP memory chips these days?

LoB

Re:About friggin' time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647830)

The system requirements for memory have not gone up with each version. Notice that the requirements for Vista and Windows 7 are the same. And, according to TFA, the requirements for Windows 8 are also the same. The memory requirements remaining flat over two released versions and promised to be flat for a version currently in beta does not seem to equate to the system requirements for memory going up with each version.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37647992)

. Is it really doing that much more than the last version?

Some, yes.

Don't bother answering, I don't really care.

Oh, I see, that was just a rant. Carry on.

Re:About friggin' time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647776)

That's certainly true on a desktop or workstation, but not necessarily true on a laptop or tablet, where minimizing the memory foot print allows you to save some power by putting unused memory into a low power state.

Re:About friggin' time... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37647840)

Nice try, but you can't simply give apps carte blanche to use gobs of memory by assuming it's being put to good use and speeding things up. True, there's a good case for the OS to use lots of RAM for caching, since it's the 'overseer' making all the programs get along and has the best picture of when one app needs to sacrifice for the others. But when a single application is a memory hog, it can no longer play nicely with others.

Bottom line, most memory-hogging software fails to run well at all on machines with less memory, or even on a decent computer when several memory hogs are sharing space. In that case it's not just opportunistic system optimization, it's a problem.

Won't matter (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37647326)

The apps will soon eat up the difference (if they haven't already...)

Re:Won't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647422)

The apps will soon eat up the difference (if they haven't already...)

That's exactly the point. OS leaves more memory for apps. duh.

Re:Won't matter (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#37647528)

That's exactly the point. OS leaves more memory for apps. duh.

OS developer (and you) telling the app writers not to worry so much about memory usage? Yeah, that'll work out.

Re:Won't matter (2)

postbigbang (761081) | about 3 years ago | (#37647666)

Hey-- 640K is all you're every going to need. You have my word on that.

Obligatory post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647332)

[insert post by some delusional Linux user bragging about how he hasn't used Windows in years]

Re:Obligatory post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647392)

[insert post by some delusional Fat Person bragging about how he hasn't eaten McDonalds in years]

Re:Obligatory post (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37647668)

Since you insist. Of course, it's only mostly true. I actually fire up a Windows VM now and then - but since I don't run Windows on hardware, I guess that's close enough. Happy? Oh - the delusional part? Sorry, I'll just have to disappoint you on that score!

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647344)

Couldn't hardly make it any bigger...

Now if we can only get microsoft to stop assuming every home user needs all the corporate crap plus every single useless widget to even be installed on the disk...

Re:Well... (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 3 years ago | (#37647460)

Because your disk space is at a massive premium, yes?

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647696)

SSD and you'll care about your space again.

Re:Well... (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 3 years ago | (#37647814)

it is when you want a light weight portable device like a netbook, tablet or phone. You don't see big hard disks spinning on the top selling models of those do you? Well you do with netbooks because many of them still run Windows and must have a hard disk. You do know that this memory issue is all about trying to fit Windows 8 on battery powered portable devices don't you? The 4 core ARM chips are almost here so the CPU side of the problem of running Windows will be addressed but that still ate up more battery life and many of the ARM SoCs use PoP for compact packaging but there are no 4GB PoP chips yet. Microsoft must scale Windows memory footprint down even if memory is not at a massive premium. No?

LoB

Sounds good - but so did Cairo (0)

Whuffo (1043790) | about 3 years ago | (#37647348)

Microsoft has a long history of promoting all the fancy new features their upcoming version of Windows will have - and then leaving most if not all of them out of the final product.

Don't get excited about their announcements, wait until the shipping version is ready and see what they've really got.

Re:Sounds good - but so did Cairo (2)

neokushan (932374) | about 3 years ago | (#37647464)

If you actually bothered to read the blog, you'd see that these memory optimisations were one of the very first things they did and have, in fact, been in the code for about 2 years now.

Re:Sounds good - but so did Cairo (1)

klingens (147173) | about 3 years ago | (#37647498)

You mean they coded everything in .net for the first 2 years of Vista development and then trashed it all when it didn't work as intended?

Re:Sounds good - but so did Cairo (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 3 years ago | (#37647580)

No, but the memory optimisations are clearly a core part of the OS, so they did it first and it has been working for 2 years. Vista was a clusterfuck for all sorts of reasons, we know that, however unless they manage to find a bug in the optimisations that causes your PC to burst into flames, I doubt they'll be removing anything.

Re:Sounds good - but so did Cairo (2)

LO0G (606364) | about 3 years ago | (#37647564)

Longhorn (and more specifically WinFS) was one of the very few times MSFT's ever talked about features that weren't delivered. For Windows 7, I can only think of one feature which was announced that wasn't actually delivered (bluetooth audio).

Except for Longhorn features, what Windows features were promoted but not delivered?

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647350)

This would have meant something back in the days of 100$/MB memory... How about focusing on stuff that matters?

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647404)

Because when you're running a dozen VM's it all adds up.

Linux host and Windows in a VM is the only way to fly.

Re:Wow (1)

tech4 (2467692) | about 3 years ago | (#37647426)

Yeah, because gaming inside virtual machine works so well.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647500)

Because thats all it can be used for. And because the world really needs one system only as the answer to everything and providing alternative options is a sin.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647504)

Gamers as a miniscule percentage of the total number of users. The vast majority of users are the ones Microsoft is thinking about here. IMHO, Gamers insecurities are on a par with that of Apple Fanbois.

Maybe that is why Gamers insist in saying 'But does it run ?' when there is an article about some hardware or operating system that is not windows or a games console.

Re:Wow (1)

Grave (8234) | about 3 years ago | (#37647780)

This does matter for use on non-PC systems, such as tablets and phones. One of the stated goals for Windows 8 is the desire to have the platform be the same across devices, and while desktop systems with 8+ GB of memory are increasingly common (and will likely be standard by the time 8 is widely adopted), tablets and phones still usually only have a few GB available.

Services (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | about 3 years ago | (#37647352)

> it will also let services start on a trigger and stop when needed instead of running all the time.

Nice.

Although I have to wonder, why are "services" treated differently than other programs, in this context or any other? Does it have any positive effect?

Re:Services (2)

Junta (36770) | about 3 years ago | (#37647536)

In a normal program in traditional desktop programming, state information in ram cannot be disposed of willy-nilly. Notably, Android took the opportunity of a new platform to declare out-of-view applications as having ram content considered disposable by default to get this benefit in 'normal' programs'. Hard for Windows to realistically do that. On the other hand, as an Android user, it is sometimes painfully obvious when an app I was 'running' in the background was killed by Android, so despite the promise of how seamless it is, it has warts depending on application implementation of saving and restoring state data.

With many services, memory resident state information is less important and you also have a smaller, better defined population to roll through. Also, if you are in the multi-window mode, you can't reasonably kill background applications, you never know when the user might be eyeballing it despite window manager focus. With a service, you know it's needed because some IO entry point got tickled.

Surprised that it took them this long to get inetd though...

Re:Services (4, Informative)

Daltorak (122403) | about 3 years ago | (#37647578)

> it will also let services start on a trigger and stop when needed instead of running all the time.

Nice.

Although I have to wonder, why are "services" treated differently than other programs, in this context or any other? Does it have any positive effect?

First of all, it's worth noting that Service trigger events shipped with Windows 7 [microsoft.com] .... they're just making better use of this capability in Windows 8. (This is a common flaw with Microsoft's development process for Windows.... they include some really smart new APIs but then take another 5 years to start really using them thoroughly in Windows itself.)

But to your main question -- why are services different from other programs? A service is actually a regular program, with one exception -- it hooks into the operating system to receive events telling it to pause, continue or stop its operation.

Why do this? Management. You don't want 20 different programs with 20 different ways of starting & stopping them.

A feature the Windows Service Control Manager offers is the ability to run your service in a single pooled process alongside other services that require roughly the same privileges on the system. You can see this at work in the Windows 7 task manager -- go to the Services tab and sort the list by PID. If you ever wondered what "svchost.exe" is on a Windows system, or why there are several running on your system, each under different user accounts...... there you go.

Re:Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647938)

(This is a common flaw with Microsoft's development process for Windows.... they include some really smart new APIs but then take another 5 years to start really using them thoroughly in Windows itself.)

Is it a flaw, or is it a decision to adopt a more cautious pace and not go whole-hog after the latest idea!

Re:Services (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37647586)

The whole idea of services is that they are available all the time.

This just adds an api for starting the service on events, which means that code for watching for events can be replaced by registering to start on those events.

This avoids things like ridiculous HP printer drivers that poll for the presence of a printer by having one service that repeatedly starts and stops another service (hopefully anyway, I suppose something that stupid wouldn't be stopped by an easier way).

CPM (4, Funny)

ArgumentBoy (669152) | about 3 years ago | (#37647364)

My first self-owned computer was a Kaypro 4-84. The OS was CPM and the machine came with 64K (yes, K) of RAM. When it booted up the screen said it had 63K of RAM. I thought I had been ripped off so I called the company. The tech explained that the other 1K was being used by the OS. So I don't think Windows 8 is going to impress me.

Re:CPM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647574)

I wish Microsoft would take inspiration from this in designing Win8.
They need to focus on making the OS more modular and compact.
Not just for reasons of memory and good design, but so they as well as 3rd parties can actually sell module packs on their new-fangled store they are creating.
This would make them money as well as making Windows just better overall.

This ability in Linux is such a useful feature since people can use whatever sort of modules they want for window managing, for example.
Be it a large and expansive window manager, or a simple visual text manager with cursor support, or at the furthest extremes, a command line for really resource-low hardware.

They had these plans for Win7, but they completely ditched them for god knows what reason.

yoyoyoyoyoyo! wassup (2)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 3 years ago | (#37647366)

shoutout to my Slashdot homies! Wassup!

They can do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647386)

It amazes me that Windows 7 runs flawlessly on my 701eepc.

They do know some tricks, that's for sure.
And they're going to have to use them all if they genuinely want to converge the desktop and the mobile device.

I'm waiting for the first phone that docks to a small docking station with USB and HDMI.
Goodbye entire low end desktop market!
MS won't care. They sell software. Intel might be shitting themselves a little though.

Re:They can do it (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 3 years ago | (#37647922)

I'm waiting for the first phone that docks to a small docking station with USB and HDMI.

That phone [wikipedia.org] has been on the market for 9 months already.

re-architecting? WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647398)

As an actual licensed "architect" for more than 20 years I find the term "re-architecting" silly, inappropriate, and useless. With all of the brilliant minds in the industry why won't someone come up with a more descriptive and appropriate term? Next up I suppose we will have "re-lawyering", "re-CPAing", and "re-burgerflipping"

Re:re-architecting? WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647452)

As an actual licensed "architect" for more than 20 years I find the term "re-architecting" silly, inappropriate, and useless. With all of the brilliant minds in the industry why won't someone come up with a more descriptive and appropriate term? Next up I suppose we will have "re-lawyering", "re-CPAing", and "re-burgerflipping"

As a designer I feel the same when people talk about redesigning something.

Re:re-architecting? WTH? (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about 3 years ago | (#37647726)

re-engineering?

"let services start on a trigger" (5, Insightful)

Rufty (37223) | about 3 years ago | (#37647400)

So windows is finally getting inetd?

Re:"let services start on a trigger" (5, Funny)

mustangsal66 (580843) | about 3 years ago | (#37647428)

So windows is finally getting inetd?

and I hear Windows 8 SP1 will run the 2.6 kernel

Re:"let services start on a trigger" (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37647728)

from the other features, I thought maybe it's finally getting a decent BSD kernel too

Re:"let services start on a trigger" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647518)

Maybe we can get rid of SearchIndexer for good?

Not being able to create folders makes me feel Windows ME wasn't that bad after all...

About time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647432)

it will also let services start on a trigger and stop when needed instead of running all the time.

Hur-fucking-ray. No more crapware constantly running just to check for updates or for that one bit of hardware you use once a month.

Re:About time. (1)

LO0G (606364) | about 3 years ago | (#37647572)

Trigger started services were introduced in Windows 7, this isn't new. I just wish people were taking advantage of them (I'm looking at you Google chrome and Adobe with your long running processes that do nothing but check to see if there's an update).

Re:About time. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37647744)

So - disable the fucking services? Hey, I test drove Vista, I've driven Win7, and the first thing I did in each instance, was to refer to Black Viper's site. He had already figured out that disabling a list of services was all good for almost everyone, and disabling a longer list of services was good for some more people, and disabling an even longer list of services was still good for some people.

Update managers? Disable them, or change their settings to manual. Christ on a crutch, man, isn't this a geek/nerd/techie forum? Surely I don't need to explain how to get to services.msc?

Hope so... (5, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | about 3 years ago | (#37647436)

It's been a long time since I've dealt with Windows other than XP in a VM, and even that is rare.

My old Asus netbook recently died, so I was forced to go out and buy another. I bought an Aspire One loaded with W7S. I really wanted to like W7. Really. I liked the interface. But damn, it was really slow and memory hungry. With no pgms running, it was taking up about 560-580M of memory, compared to Ubuntu (11.04) taking 260-270M with no pgms running.

I really couldn't have more than two programs running in W7 without hitting 900M memory use. Granted, they were big pgms - Thunderbird and Firefox, both latest versions. But contrast that with Ubuntu where I ran TB, FF, Pidgin, Hotot, Tobmoy, LibreOffice and Rhythmbox all at the same time and never go above the 850M mark in memory use (at least not yet).

This release of Ubuntu has its own set of problems (Compiz, anyone?), but I much prefer it to W7. If MS can get Window's memory usage down I'd be more inclined to use the latest version.

Re:Hope so... (1)

Mastadex (576985) | about 3 years ago | (#37647522)

I bought a netbook for my wife. Loaded it up the first time and Vista took up over a gig of RAM on a machine with a 2GB limit. I wiped the OS and installed XP. it took up a nice 60Mb or RAM after tweaking. Your 260-270Mb of ram usage is insulting to me.

XP does everything windows 7 can on her laptop.

Re:Hope so... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 3 years ago | (#37647546)

... it took up a nice 60Mb or RAM after tweaking.

That's why. It doesn't just use 60M out of the box without any tweaking.

Re:Hope so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647756)

Debian officially requires 128MB to run (64MB if you don't want X). You can tweak it for less than that.

Re:Hope so... (1)

DarkXale (1771414) | about 3 years ago | (#37647544)

A VM test of mine from a few weeks ago with W8-32bit with the new task manager active netted a memory consumption of around 260mb after a small amount of idling time - but letting it sit for a while longer than that yielded 220-230mb. For a NT6 client system, its not bad. With another year or so of improvements, and possibly manually tweaking it yourself (this was a stock config) I wonder if its not possible to push it below 200.

Re:Hope so... (2)

Xelios (822510) | about 3 years ago | (#37647606)

I don't understand this way of looking at memory. Unused memory is just that, unused. It's basically wasted. Why is this seen as an advantage? As long as enough memory is freed up when it's needed then I'd rather have the OS find a use for it, hopefully for things like cutting down application loading time. Whether W7 puts it to good use or not is up for debate, I personally have no idea.

Besides, 4 GB is pretty standard these days, I really don't see the problem in an OS taking ~12% of that when it's not needed. Hell, take more. Take a full 2 GB if you can put it to good use, as long as it's cleared when another program requests it then why not?

Re:Hope so... (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about 3 years ago | (#37647752)

Because the gains of having more gigabytes of I/O cache, for instance, is not that big, when compared to the time taken when an application actually needs that memory and the OS needs to flush this cache to disk? So yes, this makes things seem slow, especially when you want to open a program. Remember, most windows programs are killed when its last window is closed.

Re:Hope so... (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 years ago | (#37647860)

Since the parent mentioned VMs, guest OS instances are a good example of where a memory-hogging OS is a bad thing. It would be better to let the guest OS's memory usage rise and fall with their load, instead, aggressive caching basically implies static memory allocation to VMs because whatever you set as maximum, they'll use. This is a problem with Java too - you just guess how much heap the program might use, but don't guess too high, because the JVM tends to use whatever you let it, because garbage collection overhead is less that way.

Re:Hope so... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37647936)

That argument comes up frequently and is usually an attempt to justify swap algorithms that aren't aggressive enough at paging out the RAM. The problem is that a lot of things go in and out of RAM frequently and you will notice a significant drop in performance if that's happening regularly.

I remember spending many hours trying to figure out how I could get those last few kb of RAM freed up so that I could run my fancy new DOS game that really had to have either 512kb or 640KB of lowmem RAM. When I wasn't gaming it didn't make any difference, but the program wouldn't load at all without it. Same basic deal here, while it's gotten a lot easier for Windows to manage memory than it was for DOS, there really isn't any good way of the OS taking up ~12% of the RAM when the system is largely idle and dropping back to something reasonable when the resources are in demand. Especially when the demand is short lived.

Re:Hope so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647618)

Does that include your cache'd RAM? Do you know how Win7 uses cache RAM?

Re:Hope so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647648)

Does that include your cache'd RAM? Do you know how Win7 uses cache RAM?

How dare they, I want my memory to be FREE!

Re:Hope so... (5, Informative)

tgd (2822) | about 3 years ago | (#37647620)

The vast majority of people -- even those who think they know how to interpret windows memory statistics -- don't know how to interpret Windows memory statistics. The common tools (like Task Manager) give meaningless numbers for both process and total system usage. Sysinternal's Process Explorer is better, but you still need to understand how the Windows kernel and memory management works to properly interpret the numbers.

I wouldn't read anything at all into the numbers you were seeing. 900M memory usage for two programs in Task Manager is just fine -- you quite literally *can't* get the real information through Task Manager.

Modern OS memory management is one of the most complicated things an OS does, and unfortunately no one has ever come up with a good way to distill all the information about what is really going on in your physical memory into a single number or statistic that lets people know if something is wrong. The only real statistic that matters is the percentage of pages that the total sum of processes are actively using relative to the commit charge... a process with a gigabyte of memory mapped files, or a hundred megabytes of shared code pages, or hundreds of megabytes of allocated and populated pages that only infrequently use them is running just fine.

Reducing memory usage in Windows 8 is more about reducing the churn of pages through the various kernel data structures in the memory manager. As the article says, that involves things like optimizing old code to not trigger page faults all the time, or to suspend threads or otherwise idle background services that aren't being used. (A thread waking up, and going immediately back to sleep because it has nothing to do will still potentially cause a page to be re-loaded from disk.)

The Russinovich/Ionescu book "Windows Internals" has some pretty good sections that talk about how Windows memory management really works, if you're curious about it -- it would likely be enlightening about some of the misunderstands that people have about Windows.

Re:Hope so... (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37647796)

I find it difficult to believe that people are buying new machines with less than 4 gig of ram. Memory was cheap by the time Win7 came out - cheap enough to load a new machine with 4 gig, anyway. Maybe I'm something of an asshole, but anyone who invests hundreds of dollars in a new machine, and decides to go cheap on the memory deserves to have a shitty running machine. I don't care if it's an Apply fanboy, a Windows drone, or a Linux nut. BUY MEMORY, or don't complain about performance!

Now, if you had said that you installed all the memory that the mainboard would support, and you were getting 60% to 80% usage before you even started any programs, THEN I would agree that there was a problem, I would sympathize with you, and I would be willing to look for the problem.

A couple of guys have commented on how much memory their browsers use. Well, I've seen FF using around 1.5 gig, while at the same time, Chromium was using in excess of a gig of memory. As someone else commented - the memory is there, why not use it? It's better than waiting for "virtual memory" to thrash the hell out of my hard disks!

Re:Hope so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647990)

I faintly remember that they plan to run this on ARM tablets with 1GB RAM.......

re-architecting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647490)

I'd just like to point out that there is no such verb "to architect" from which "architecting" might be formed.

"re-architecting old bits of code"? Windows?! (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 3 years ago | (#37647514)

"re-architecting old bits of code"? Windows?!

I remember an interview with a former Excel developer who said that "re-architecting" was forbidden as it might break things no-one understood at the time; the original developers had left a long time before.

So. See it first. Believe it later.

But, wait, this is closed source. Whhhy should one believe them?

like ksm (linux) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647560)

"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."

ksm - dynamic page sharing driver for linux (http://lwn.net/Articles/326364/)

"KSM is a linux driver that allows dynamicly sharing identical memory
pages between one or more processes.

Unlike tradtional page sharing that is made at the allocation of the
memory, ksm do it dynamicly after the memory was created.
Memory is periodically scanned; identical pages are identified and
merged.
The sharing is unnoticeable by the process that use this memory.
(the shared pages are marked as readonly, and in case of write
do_wp_page() take care to create new copy of the page)"

Re:like ksm (linux) (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37647950)

Isn't that a tremendous security vulnerability if the scanning isn't done correctly or frequently enough? I'm sure it does lower memory utilization, but I'm not sure that I'd trust that not to have any bugs or vulnerabilities.

Sure (2)

kbg (241421) | about 3 years ago | (#37647576)

Ye sure, this is what always happens they promise some new and better stuff, and then they drop half the stuff and the OS is just crap. I wouldn't hold my breath for any of this. It's better to wait for the actual release. This is just hype talk.

And this matters? (4, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 3 years ago | (#37647650)

With windows 7, memory has become less an issue to me. I just don't care that much; I have 4 gigs, and stuff starts right up when I click on it. As a user, that's all I care about. I could obsess about how much memory is being used at all times, I guess, but what does that metric even mean? I currently have fo:nv, mstsc, 10tabs in ie and ~20 in chrome, everything is still snappy. What does it matter that the system is showing high ram utilization?

What I'd like to see them focus on instead is the file system, and making searches work at least as well as they did in XP. Vista utterly broke file searching ( which is amazing in and of itself ), and while w7 brought back some of the functionality, it's still a crap shoot.

Re:And this matters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647944)

I must agree, RAM, and fast DDR3 ram at that, is quite cheep. Granted I like optimization, but who buys computers with 1 gig of memory now of day.

What I would like to see is Win8 optimizing it's general footprint, With SSD's becoming the future standard, atleast for where the OS lies, I would really like to see Win8 do something much better then Vista or Win 7 regarding the winsxs folder and not holding onto ever "if needed" driver. Stop the bloat and optimize on the disk side.

I have a Windows XP box running... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 3 years ago | (#37647714)

... quite well with 256MB of memory. Will Windows 8 be able to best that?

Re:I have a Windows XP box running... (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#37647928)

It shouldn't need to - you quite literally cannot buy new memory in less than 512GB capacity. That would be like saying "I can run Linux on a Motorola 68000, will Windows 8 do that?" - it won't, because there's very very little market demand for running a new operating system on decade-old hardware.

Re:I have a Windows XP box running... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37647970)

But having more free memory you can actually use is a good thing even on modern hardware.

Re:I have a Windows XP box running... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37648016)

In exchange for utilizing better hardware, what does the average consumer get? OSes shouldn't use more simply because it's there.

Amputation (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 3 years ago | (#37647902)

While amputating one of the elephants feet may technically make the beast in the room smaller, I doubt it will be enough to push it out the door.
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