Memory use myths

Customization software is not resource intensive

Sunday, June 5, 2005 by Frogboy | Discussion: OS Customization

I'm not sure where the myth began. But somewhere down the line, a false belief has turned into pseudo-fact amongst some people that customization software uses a lot of memory.  That's never been the case. Not even in the beginning.

At the dawn of Windows customization, software had to run on Windows 95 which only had 128K (that's kilobytes) of GDI resources. Customization software ate up a lot of those GDI resources since they were reserved for the user interface.  But even in 1995, 16K of memory was trivial. It's just that early versions of Windows were so limited in their GDI resources that it was a problem.

But Windows 2000 and Windows XP have never had any such problem.  And yet, we still see some uninformed, but vocal, user claim that <Program X> is "bloated" and uses a "ton" of memory.  Those people come in two forms:  The guy who really has no idea what he's talking about and the guy who thinks 10 megabytes of memory is a "ton" of memory.

The former guy is annoying because he matches his ignorance with his prolific posting.  The latter guy makes you wonder if their source of income is mom's allowance or something.  I can buy a 256 meg stick of memory for my PC for around $20. 

So let's get this out of the way: Desktop customization programs do NOT use much memory.

Here's WindowBlinds wbload.exe process use:

That's 576K.

Here's DesktopX:

That's only a couple megabytes of memory and it's running a useful object in this instance.

I could go on through a variety of programs both made by Stardock and made by third parties. None of them are "memory hogs".  You can certainly load up enough stuff with something like DesktopX to make it use a ton of memory.  Graphics, animation, etc. has to be stored somewhere.  But that's not the desktop customization's fault any more than it's Photoshop's fault if the user loaded a gigabyte sized image.

So next time someone tries to claim that some desktop customization program is "bloated" or something, point them here.

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Reply #61 Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:45 PM
I run three main tools that customise my windows, ObjectDock, Directory Opus (mind blowing tool once you get into it) and a sys tray clock that is more readable than the default at higher res. It's a shame we have to draw the line so quickly on adding more but that's just a limitation of the OS and processor.

We've certainly come a long way since Magic Workbench, a replacement set of icons for the ancient Amiga which alone hit the performance of standard Amigas just using a few extra icons.
Reply #62 Thursday, September 22, 2005 12:50 AM
Oh by the way Windowvblinds uses less memory then even Windows classic or explorer itself.
Reply #63 Thursday, September 22, 2005 1:03 AM
Oh by the way Windowvblinds uses less memory then even Windows classic or explorer itself.

I doubt that. Highly.
Reply #64 Thursday, September 22, 2005 1:23 AM
I don't. I've seen the numbers and have seen the data Frogboy himself presented. I'll see if I can dig the numbers up for you.
Reply #65 Thursday, September 22, 2005 12:22 PM
Must be correct then, seeing as Frogboy is a completely unbiased source.

My question is this though: why does Stardock keep writing stuff about memory usage. Okay so it only uses 600k of RAM. I could care less about how much RAM it uses and a whole lot more about how it affects overall system performance.
Reply #66 Thursday, September 22, 2005 1:43 PM
I just want to clarify that I'm not trying to put down windowsblinds or any customisations people do to Windows. I'm not saying any of them will slow down your computer if you find a balance that works for you, Just in my case, I've chosen where I want to put my eggs and that's into a massively loaded ObjectDock and that works great for me. If I add more, and believe me, I've tried, the stuttering performance annoys me.

You just have to find a blend of customisations that works for you and any figures you come up with are really only meaningful to you in your situation.
Reply #67 Friday, September 23, 2005 12:18 AM
I agree with RiddickRom, I pretty much use only ObjectDock, the stuttering associated with adding anything else doesn't work well with me.
Reply #68 Monday, October 31, 2005 4:43 PM
wincustomize browser maximized:8,400k
wincustomize browser minimized:1,904k

still good numbers...but what do I care, I have a gig to use.
Reply #69 Monday, October 31, 2005 4:50 PM

I agree here in that while getting my father's laptop to perform and still have 50-60 mb free, I found that running windowblinds made a difference of about 1 mb over classic view. This number is with no desktop background, running XP SP2, StealthOS with transparent taskbar, and PointChrome Cursor. Classic gave me 149.5 mb used, this is with EZArmor running and @ idle. StealthOS gave me a steady 151.3. Considering the difference in looks, I'll go with the StealthOS over classic view anyday.

Anyway, it's not just a matter of how much memory you have and use, graphic card, CPU L2 cache, PCI latencies, and more come into play once you go beyond the shell OS.
Fourth Letter
Reply #70 Friday, August 25, 2006 6:43 AM
Sadly some people just won't listen. I am constantly trying to convince a friend to use Windowblinds but every time fl studio or soundforge crashes hes convinved it must be the skinning ! He turns off all Gdi and uses windows classic for speed but why don't we all watch analogue TV on 14" screens I ask ? it would be so much faster probably the same reason we don't still travel in horse drawn buggies, some people are eternally stuck in the stone age just so that video or render will encode five minutes faster !!!
Fourth Letter
Reply #71 Friday, August 25, 2006 6:45 AM
Although with all the arguing about memory usage its good to remember that its processor cycles we should be investigating
Reply #72 Friday, August 25, 2006 7:42 AM
Memory lane anyone?
Reply #73 Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:14 AM
Reply #74 Sunday, November 11, 2007 1:20 AM

A picture says a thousand words.

I'd just like to add that without customisation XP can look pretty ordinary and even a little shoddy so I really like that we have the option to change th UI, but sometimes it can affect memory usage whatever the EXPERTS say.
Some of us have other priorities so it would be nice if IconX could optimise its efficiancy for the people who use it.
Reply #75 Sunday, November 11, 2007 6:30 AM
Oh by the way Windowvblinds uses less memory then even Windows classic or explorer itself.

I doubt that. Highly.

I don't. Explorer uses approx. 38,000k on my comp. Windowblinds and ObjectDock together only use approx. 5,100k. that's a big difference.
Reply #76 Sunday, November 11, 2007 6:42 AM
Unless you're still running 256mb ram, I don't see why this is such a big problem memory-wise.

Of course, I only have 2gb of ram. Maybe someday I'll fill up those other 2 ram slots..... especially since wb is drawing sooooo much of my memory.... (see post #75)
Reply #77 Sunday, November 11, 2007 6:53 AM
Memory does become an issue if you do any serious audio or visual processing, that's when ram becomes premium . It would be nice not to have to shut down other (fun) processess that might start to interfere.
Of course time and technological advancment will heal these issues, but it won't stop sarcasm.
Fuzzy Logic
Reply #78 Sunday, November 11, 2007 7:46 AM
Ah, old thread revival - such fun   
Reply #79 Sunday, November 11, 2007 7:48 AM
well, sometimes ya just gotta beat the proverbial dead horse.....
Reply #80 Sunday, November 11, 2007 8:51 AM
this is retro thread week fuzzy .. didn't ya get the memo?

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