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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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Jeff Atwood has an interesting post on Vista's memory management and how it differs from Windows XP.  Vista treats your system memory as a cache and uses it aggressively.  In other words, don't be surprised or upset if Vista consumes all your available memory.  It's not a bug, it's a feature!

In summary, here's how much faster each cache memory type in your computer is than the hard drive:

System memory
37x faster

CPU Level 2 cache
82x faster

CPU Level 1 cache
283x faster

Those figures explain why I only have 6 megabytes of "free" memory in Windows Vista. Vista is trying its darndest to pre-emptively populate every byte of system memory with what it thinks I might need next. It's running a low-priority background task that harvests previously accessed data from the disk and plops it into unused system memory. They even have a fancy marketing name for it-- SuperFetch:

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:26 AM Microsoft OS | Back to top


Comments on this post: Vista's Approach to Memory Management

# re: Vista's Approach to Memory Management
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Actually Vista's mmeory management is not all that different from XP. And that is very much like that found in NT3.1, released in 1993. All use RAM as a cache for data on disk and thay will always try to find some use for physical memory, even if it is only of trivial value.

It is just that XP displayed memory statistics somewhat differently than XP. Vista shows a small value for free memory, while XP showed a much higher value as available. It is widely believed thay mean the same. WRONG. Available does not equate with free, not even close. The large majority of available memory is actually in use. Available and in use are not contradictory. The value for free memory is not displayed but will typically be MUCH lower.

Larry Miller
Microsoft MCSA
Left by Larry Miller on Oct 09, 2009 1:16 PM

# re: Vista's Approach to Memory Management
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i would like to know how vista manages its memory
Left by Huud Abdal Karim on Mar 06, 2010 10:51 AM

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