Memory compression under Windows 10

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Memory is an important factor in processing different tasks faster. Because it’s electronic memory, it’s expensive and most people can’t afford a lot of RAM. There is also a memory limit supported by operating systems. But the Memory Compression function in Windows 10 guarantees an optimal and balanced use of the memory with the exchange file. The new operating system is characterized by memory optimization, which includes the compression of data occupying electronic memory. This article explains how older versions of Windows manage memory, what is the memory compression function and how memory compression works in Windows 10.

Memory management in older versions of Windows


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In Windows, the whole is divided into three parts :

  1. Memory (electronic memory)
  2. Pagefile (hard disk memory expansion)
  3. Hard disk and other storage systems

In older versions, it was necessary to allocate a good amount of hard disk space to pagefile.sys, which acted as an expansion of electronic memory. Memory management in older versions of Windows was simple and straightforward. Store running applications and associated data in electronic memory and send the least used data to pagefile.sys. While the traditional application was in memory, the data portion was often moved to an exchange file if it was not used for a long period of time. If the page file capacity was exceeded, the page file data was overwritten. In this case, if the application – which was still in the electronic memory – needed old data, it would have to be reloaded from the hard disk or other storage media in the memory – meaning that it took longer to read or write the data.

In other words, the most recent applications and data must be in RAM, frequently used data from current applications remained in pagefile.sys and the hard disk was accessed when a new record was to be read or written. This includes data that does not exist in the paging file – data that may have been replaced by a new record.

Memory management in Windows 8 – Application page files

With Windows 8, memory management has changed a little. In Windows 8/8.1, there were two types of applications. Traditional applications always worked as described above. Some remained in RAM, while the necessary data was stored in the paging file when applications were inactive and RAM was full.

Modern applications only worked if they were fully developed. If you have opened application A and application B and are currently working on application A, application B and its data are moved to the page file. In this way, application A can have good access to memory and does not need to access the page file each time it is retrieved. If you send application A in the background focusing on application B, application A and its data go into the exchange file, while application B has exclusive access to memory.

This method saves storage space and speeds up applications. With Windows 10, the compression function has been added to make it even faster. The following section explains how it works under Windows 10.

Memory management under Windows 10 – Page file compression

Memory management is the same as under Windows 8/8.1. Traditional applications are stored in electronic memory and focused applications are also stored in RAM. When memory is overloaded due to excess data, the application and data are compressed up to 40% and stored in the same electronic memory.

Windows 10 also uses pagefile.sys to store data from electrical memory. If an application uses too much data, but at slower intervals, some of its data is moved to an exchange file when the electronic storage space is short. If application b b ekomes aggressively, the data is moved from the exchange file to the electronic memory and other applications are moved to the exchange file to make room for the current application. Only in rare cases is the hard disk addressed: if a new data set or application is to be loaded or if the data required by an application is not available in the RAM or page file.
Windows 10 also has two categories of applications: modern and traditional. Traditional applications are stored separately in electronic memory, while modern applications have their own stack. This makes it easier to move modern applications and associated data to an exchange file if you open too many applications for memory to be insufficient despite compression.

It saves about 50% of page file activity (compared to older versions of Windows) when using the memory compression function of Windows 10, since most data is already available in memory – in compressed form. If the application or data is needed, it is decompressed and used. It is therefore necessary to keep part of the main memory empty in order to provide uncompressed data. Even using the page file, Windows 10 is faster because the entire application and its data are stored as a compressed page that is accessed in sequential order. While part of the data is not compressed, the other part is sent to the main memory for processing. This also saves time and speeds up calculation on Windows 10 computers.

For more details, see this video on channel 9.

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