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Windows 7: Why is Win7 a Memory HOG?

26 Jan 2011   #1

Windows XP SP3
Why is Win7 a Memory HOG?

Let me first say that I've always been a believer in the theory that Microsoft's evolution in software is as much about driving new hardware sales as it is about making any tangible beneficial improvements to the average user of their products.

I'm running a laptop with a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM and can remember the day clearly when I was running an Apple IIe with 128MB of RAM. I realize that was a long time ago. And I'm not saying the ever increasing requirements for today's software are not totally unjustified.

But I recently installed a memory monitor in my system tray on my Win7 Pro 64-bit machine on my brand new Lenovo Thinkpad Edge, which doesn't comes with that much bloatware and have been watching it. I run the old version 3 of Nod32 Anti-Virus/Malware which has about the smallest footprint of anything out there. I typically have an old version 2 of Photoshop ELEMENTS with maybe one 5MP photo loaded (not the full version of PS), Firefox, Word, Excel and Thunderbird open at the same time. I also run Open Pandora for music which admittedly is poorly written and is a memory hog. But my machine is typically using 2.5-3 GB of memory!!

Are you kidding me? 3 GB of RAM in use and I'm not encoding video or editing CAD drawings? And when you open task manager and look at the processes, things don't seem to add up to that total (I may just be too lazy to add every single process.)

Firefox is #1 using 400MB
OpenPandora 106MB
Thunderbird 85MB
Photoshop 65MB
Explorer 44MB
dwm.exe 33MB
Excel 24MB
plugin-container for firefox 16MB

I'm a bit disappointed with Firefox memory usage (I was using Chrome but still there are too many sites with functionality not compatible with Chrome). And I've come to just assume all the Microsoft Apps are always going to be gluttons for RAM usage. Light and compact is just not a mantra that exists over in Redmond.

But is this typical for most Win7 users out there? 2GB of RAM is still shipped standard with a lot of current model PCs and Laptops. What the hell is going on with Win7 memory usage or mem usage on PCs in general? It seems almost out of control?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 x64

I have 4 gigs of ram and my system idles at 1.2 gigs in use. With several background apps running. NOD32 is completely un-needed with win7. Windows 7 is different in that it will make use of more ram if more is available though. If you would prefer it run straight to pagefile with everything like earlier versions of windows and mac it can do that.

...what's the point of having the ram if you aren't using it though?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64-bit)

Hello there, well..

I personally don't think that Windows 7 is a "Memory HOG", you'll find in my attachment that i'm using only ~900MB out of my 4GB of RAM, which according to the resource monitor is 22%

My Firefox usage is 84MB (2 separate windows open) and the Plugin-container is 10MB right now, i'm listening to a lot of music in Aimp2 and it's using ~5MB

Personally i don't think it is a Memory HOG :)

Of course, this is only my perspective, i guess there are other users here who disagree

Attached Thumbnails
Why is Win7 a Memory HOG?-mem.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Jan 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

that ram usage is actually not bad.
it's cheaper (read faster) to take memory from allocated rather than from free.
if you had less ram, it'd use a lesser amount - it's actually quite quite smart.

idles at about 1.4 - 1.5 gigs here
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Windows 7 will actively load things into RAM (applications and such) that you are likely going to use (based on your previous trends). However, since these processes are not won't see them in task manager. The theory is that if you have the RAM, you might as well use it. Anything that is stored in RAM proactively is still considered available and the memory will be flushed the second that it's actually needed by another program.

On my win 7 32-bit laptop, I have 4GB of RAM. 3.5GB is available to the OS. Looking at Task Manager shows that I only have 283MB free. However, the cached RAM is at 1842MB and Available is 2108MB. So, really out of my 3.5GB of RAM, i'm using about 1.4GB of it and I'm actively running Trend AV, a bandwidth monitor, calculator, my work IM client, Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, Paint.NET, Firefox and Media Monkey.

If I were to just look at Free, I would say "Woah, I need more RAM, i'm using 3.3GB out of 3.5GB since I only have 283MB free. IN reality, there is 2.1GB of memory still available which a future application launch could use. So, I'm not low on memory at all. You have to understand what you are looking at.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jan 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
You have to understand what you are looking at.
Exactly. Most of the bitching and whining about memory hoggage is people just not understanding what's going on. People, you WANT to use your RAM!

(By the way, pparks, I totally agree with your sig-thing - could've written it myself)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Why is Win7 a Memory HOG?

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