Developer: Windows 7 Maxes Out on Memory Use

Devil Mountain Software's latest results from its XPnet performance network claim to show that Windows XP machines use less memory than Windows 7 does.


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Feeling good about that new Windows 7 PC? Would you feel less sanguine if someone told you that recent tests show that 85 percent of Windows 7 PCs are in danger of maxing out the system's RAM?

That's at least the claim made this week by Devil Mountain Software, whose exo.performance.network, or XPnet for short, has produced controversial results before.

"New data from the exo.repository shows that better than 8 in 10 Windows 7 systems monitored by the exo.performance.network are running alarmingly low on physical memory. And nearly the same number are demonstrating significant delays in I/O processing -- ostensibly due to heavy virtual memory activity as Windows compensates for insufficient RAM," said a post to the exo.blog on Wednesday.

The firm's reports are based on results of data collected by XPnet, which Devil Mountain's team claims comes from nearly 23,000 subscribers to XPnet.com. In order to participate, subscribers install a small app on their PCs which collects data on various system conditions over time and periodically reports back with the results which are then tabulated and analyzed.

The latest report, discussed on the company's exo.blog, fingers Windows 7, which just started shipping to consumers last Oct. 22.

Newer systems with more memory still affected

"This disturbing trend was identified by exo.performance.network researchers as they compiled data … [which] showed that Windows 7 systems had much higher memory pressure values than systems running Windows XP. This was true despite the fact that the Windows 7 systems in question had, on average, nearly twice as much (3.3 GB vs. 1.7 GB for Windows XP) RAM installed," the blog post said.

At the same time, the data showed that only 40 percent of XP machines were found to be running low on free memory. Meanwhile, 80 percent of systems running Windows Vista, in comparison, were running low on memory.

"When you factor in the generally more advanced hardware that’s being deployed with Windows 7 … the realization that Microsoft’s new OS is quickly expanding to consume all available resources is still quite alarming," the post continued.

This isn't the first time that Devil Mountain, a small six-year-old financial software developer in south Florida, has bedeviled Microsoft over its operating systems performance. In November 2007, the firm released a report that found that XP Service Pack 3 performed twice as fast as Vista SP1 running on the same PC.

Devil Mountain was criticized at the time for passing judgment on software that had not yet been released -- both service packs were still both in "release candidate" stage, a final test phase before Microsoft releases a new piece of software.

Ultimately, Vista never quite caught on, particularly with corporate customers, and now is being replaced with Windows 7 in many cases.

A Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com that the company had no comment on Devil Mountain's latest report.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7, XP, XP mode, XPnet

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