Windows 11 is days away from its October 5 launch and Microsoft is making sure that it’s the most optimized version of Windows that has ever shipped. I have already went over how the design elements of Windows 11 actually work to make it faster instead of bogging it down in a previous article. But, today’s news comes courtesy of, Microsoft VP of Enterprise Management, Steve Dispensa who tell us how Microsoft has made under-the-hood optimizations to make Windows 11 the fastest OS it can be.
Windows 11 is the biggest cosmetic redesign the company has made since 2015. The OS reverberates modernity with the rounded corners and revamped aesthetics of many of its popular apps. The Fluent Design UI mixed with materials like Mica give the OS a sheen of elegance, akin to that of MacOS. Come to think of it, a lot of Windows 11 is inspired by MacOS, from the cleaner icons to the centered taskbar, and more.
All of these design changes, while substantial, have little to no affect on performance and today we know a bit more as to why. First of all, Microsoft has built Windows 11 with foreground tasks in mind. The OS will heavily prioritize whatever app is running in the foreground while limiting the resources available to background or inactive processes. Windows 11 will allocate memory resources more smartly to favor foreground activity.
Resource Allocation To Prioritize Foreground Tasks
Microsoft has worked hard to ensure that CPU and memory resources are always available and ready to go for foreground tasks. For instance, if you have Edge running with several tabs open, and you open Word, PowerPoint, and Excel one by one, all of those apps would launch instantly. This happens because the OS will shift the priority from Edge to these newly-opened apps immediately, making the app launching experience that much faster.
This makes it so that even in conditions where the system is under load, the OS can still launch apps rather quickly despite being stressed. So, no matter what app is open or not, as soon as any task is put in the foreground, the OS will optimize resources to make sure it gets the priority over everything else. This way of optimization can be really beneficial on low core-count CPUs in the future.
Sleeping Tabs in Microsoft Edge
Similarly, Microsoft Edge, the native Windows browser will also follow the same formula of foreground optimization. Microsoft is utilizing “Sleeping Tabs” to prioritize active tabs over the ones who’re hibernating. Sleeping Tabs were introduced last year and, according to the company, have resulted in a 32% reduction in memory usage and a 37% reduction in CPU usage. Fortunately, Sleeping Tabs are an Edge feature and not a Windows 11 exclusive feature which means you can enjoy its optimizations on Windows 10 as well.
Speaking of optimizations, the decline in system resource utilization also equates to better battery life. Your system is wasting less resources so, in turn, you save some energy which can increase battery life on mobile devices. Also improving on mobile devices are the wake-up times. ARM-based devices are known to have near-instantaneous wake-up times, so Microsoft is trying to replicate that with x86 chips as well.
Instant Resume From Sleep
The hardware requirement of Intel 8th Gen and above, and AMD Ryzen 2000 CPUs actually come into play here. When you resume from sleep, Windows 11 will be ready almost instantly instead of taking a couple of seconds to load. Here, Microsoft is doing two things, one on the hardware-level and the second on the software-level to make this work.
Firstly, only the RAM stays powered-on while the system is in sleep mode. It keep receiving power while the rest of the components don’t. As soon as you lift your laptop’s lid and resume from sleep, Windows 11 sends calls to hardware components to wake up and start working. This is similar to how Windows 10 does it, but now these hardware calls are much more optimized thanks to better memory management, which leads to faster wake-up times.
On the software front, Microsoft has optimized the OS in a way that threads that are required to instantly power-on your device are always free and have access to the necessary resources. This, again, assists in a quicker resume from sleep as the threads who really need the resources are not starved of them. Overall, this technical wizardry lends the user a 25% faster wake-up time on average, according to Microsoft.
Windows 11 is currently available only via the Insider Program. There are ISOs out in the wild now but they are also running the Beta or Dev Channel versions of Windows 11. Since Windows 11 is only a couple of weeks away, we can expect a Release Preview Channel release soon. We will have to wait till the official public release before we can see if these performance and optimization claims are really true. Till then, we’ll just have to take Microsoft’s word for them.