Google Could Reduce High RAM Usage Of Chrome Browser If Microsoft Agrees To Make Changes In Windows 10 OS Settings

Google Chrome web browser has been known for its significantly high RAM usage, especially on computers running Windows 10. It appears Google might be able to reduce the memory-hogging of the Chrome browser. The search giant, however, requires a few specific tweaks and changes in settings from Microsoft within Windows 10 to achieve the eagerly awaited RAM usage reduction feature.

Microsoft had recently offered ways to reduce the high RAM consumption of the Google Chrome web browser. The Windows 10 OS maker had indicated that its own Edge web browser, based on Google-provided Chromium engine, successfully lowered the RAM usage. However, Google had rejected the technique claiming it negatively impacted CPU performance. Now Google claims it can successfully lower the RAM usage of Chrome web browser if Microsoft tweaks Windows 10 OS.

Microsoft Introduced ‘Segment Heap’ To Reduce RAM Usage Of Apps But Google Chrome Doesn’t Cooperate?

With Windows 10 May 2020 Update, also called the 20H1 or v2004 update, Microsoft introduced a new feature called ‘Segment Heap’. It is designed to reduce memory usage with some Win32 desktop apps such as Google Chrome and Edge. The technique involves “modern heap implementation” which is supposed to reduce overall memory usage of apps.

It is, however, important to note that Segment Heap is something that developers need to use in their apps. Microsoft is already using this for its Chromium Edge. In fact, the company claims this new technique recorded a 27 percent reduction in memory usage of the Edge browser.

Incidentally, Google was willing to adopt the ‘Segment Heap’ technique for the Google Chrome web browser. However, the search giant noted that the RAM-saving fix that Microsoft developed, won’t be enabled in future versions of Chrome, including version 85. Google claimed the Segment Heap did cut down on RAM usage of its browser, but it also ended up causing performance regression, including high CPU usage.

To date, Google has been using the .exe manifest method for enabling the segment heap. Google noted that the old technique has some positive impact on RAM usage, but takes up CPU time, “The savings most comes from the browser and network processes, while the cost mostly comes from the renderer process.”

Google Needs Microsoft To Tweak Windows 10 To Reduce RAM Usage Of Chrome Web Browser:

Google claims it would be quite easy to use Segment Heap without CPU performance regression if Microsoft agrees to add a function to Windows 10 OS that would set or clear the “segment-heap-enabled” bit in RtlpHpHeapFeatures in ntdll.dll.

Google’s senior developer has also submitted a formal post on Github that sought Microsoft’s assistance for implementing the following two flags:

  1. HEAP_ENABLE_SEGMENT_HEAP – create a segment heap instead of an NT heap.
  2. HEAP_DISABLE_SEGMENT_HEAP – create an NT heap instead of a segment heap, even if the segment heap was requested in the application manifest.

Needless to mention, the flags would be helpful for all web browsers that are based on Google’s Chromium engine. However, it is not likely that Microsoft will eagerly dump its own RAM saving technology for Google’s method. Google and Microsoft could jointly work on Segment Heap. But until then, Chrome won’t work with Microsoft’s RAM saving technique.


Alap Naik Desai

A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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