Over the last couple of weeks I have seen an increasing number of posts on the Web bashing Windows 7 for ‘excessive’ memory usage.
That has surprised me. I have not seen that in the 4.5 months I have been using Windows 7 Professional, daily, without a single days off, most days for at least 12 hours. But, I will admit up front that my rig is rather atypical given that it has 12GB DDDR3 memory. I also have an ASUS GTX260 video card with 896MG.
I don’t check memory usage that often — if at all. I do have the CPU & Memory Usage gadget on the top right corner of my right-hand side monitor. [Yes, I have a dual monitor configuration]. But, I do not see the gadget because I have a FireFox instance that takes up 99.5% of that 24″ screen. Since these complaints about Windows 7 memory, I have been looking at my memory usage.
Most times I am between 21% and 23%. Call that 2.76GB.
Right now, to check memory usage, I have open: 2 instances of FireFox 3.6.2 (with 14 open tabs), Media Player, Word 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Excel 2007 and Adobe Acrobat Professional 9.3.2. Memory usage per the gadget is 24%.
I could be wrong, but I am kind of sure that my relatively low and realistic memory usage has a LOT to do with my Virtual Memory setting. Three weeks into using Windows 7, I went in and manually changed the Virtual Memory allocations for this system. Though I have 12GB, I set my VM to 4GB. Read the post — please. I think 4GB VM is THE sweet spot for Windows 7.
So here are my two suggestions for ‘tuning’ Windows 7 memory usage:
- I really do not think you can run Windows 7 effectively with less than 2GB of memory. Ideally it should be 3GB. Above that is gravy. 12GB just says that you got a 0% APR for all your hardware for a year from newegg.com
- Please go in an look at your VM settings. Do not turn VM off [i.e., specify 0GB]. Try 4GB. Let me know. I have a feeling that you will be pleasantly surprised.