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Author Topic: does having many program windows open slow the sysem?  (Read 2631 times)

nudone

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does having many program windows open slow the sysem?
« on: November 09, 2006, 06:01:16 AM »
i seem to be working with more an more programs that are open simultaneously (with several running in the tray also).

i tend to minimise most windows and just concentrate on 2 or 3 visible ones but i'm going to get into the multi virtual desktop way or working - i'm sure this will be less messing about, minimising and restoring windows every few minutes/seconds.

so, the question is: does minimising program windows have any impact on the way the system performs, compared with keeping all the windows open.

this will include programs that will also have many of their own child windows. so, as an example - i may have 2 or 3 virtual desktops, with these programs spread amongst them: photoshop, illustrator, adobe bridge, acdsee, firefox, internet explorer, opera, winamp, mirc, maxthon (with a few tabbed pages open), notepad, and 2 or 3 folders open (maybe dreamweaver too).

i shall obviously try this myself but i'm asking the question as without someone responding with an authoritative reply, i know that i'll just start imagining that the system is slowing down even if it isn't.

jgpaiva

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Re: does having many program windows open slow the sysem?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 06:10:25 AM »
I think it does have impact.
From my 30-second testing with adobe acrobat, it makes a big difference. (actually, i never thought of that, maybe that's one of the reasons why my computer tends to be SLOOOOW!).
When windows are minimized, they reduce (drastically, i must say) their memory use.
Opera goes from 70mb to 19mb and acrobat goes from 10mb (or more, it was still raising) to 2mb.

nudone

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Re: does having many program windows open slow the sysem?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006, 07:10:31 AM »
right, i see.

i'll just see what happens then. if it's just a case of memory being used then i think i might not notice that too much.

f0dder

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Re: does having many program windows open slow the sysem?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 07:22:02 AM »
Yeah, many apps seem to reduce memory usage when minimized - dunno if it's some internal logic or if it's just windows itself trimming the working set.

Other than that, I've only noticed speedup/slowdown when dealing with bad-mannered apps... Iirc Acrobat Reader can have pretty slow repaints and such.
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tinjaw

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Re: does having many program windows open slow the sysem?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 08:28:53 AM »
nudone,

Several things come into play, and they all depend on how the application's developer wrote the application.

One considerations is drawing on the screen. If the application redraws the windows when in the background, this will take up processing power. That same app will not redraw when minimized.

Not all applications will free up memory when minimized. Most will not.

Some applications are set to have different priorities based on whether they are in foreground or background mode. Generally running at a lower priority when in the background. So being open on the screen, but not the focused app, may cause the app to take up less resources.

app103

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Re: does having many program windows open slow the sysem?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 11:08:14 AM »
For most users, this is a question they might ask and then have to actually check to find the answer....and all the performance issues of minimizing to tray or taskbar might not be so obvious on a fairly decent pc.

I ran a ton of stuff on a very slow system with very little ram.

One of the ways I survived was by minimizing everything I could to the tray or taskbar when I wasn't actively using it....especially Winamp which had to run at all times if I wanted to maintain an internet connection. (don't ask...freaky hardware prob) I avoided using the Winamp GUI as much as possible...load the playlist, minimize, use hotkeys or tray menu.

There was an increase in speed and responsiveness of the active window by doing this...but my system was so slow normally, that I did notice a tradeoff. It was a bit slower bringing a window into focus, from being minimized to being restored, than it was if the window was in the background and just being brought to the foreground, as the active window.

I don't know if this would be an issue on your machine. I am sure you have a faster CPU and more RAM than I had and are using software in which your pc meets at least the minimum specifications to run it. I treated my P1 with 64mb ram as if it was a P3 with 256mb ram, running all kinds of stuff I shouldn't have been able to, so you might not notice the same things I observed.