Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

With every update, Skype has started consuming huge amounts of memory. I somewhere heard that when programs are minimized Windows can reclaim some of the memory from the program.

For example, I somewhere read an article which told about how to instruct Firefox to allow Windows to reclaim memory when minimized, by changing something in about:config and it worked for me.

Is there something that can be done for Skype so that it consumes less memory when minimized (when it sits almost silently in the system tray)

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Minimizing a window might free a little memory, but it depends on the application, and it won't amount to much. In any case, minimizing won't make more difference than any other form of hiding.

Even if an application's window is minimized, it's still running. The application isn't going to need to keep less data in memory just because one of its windows is minimized.

An application is notified whenever one of its windows is minimized or restored. It's also notified whenever part of its window becomes visible or hidden. It is possible, but unlikely, that the application would react differently to various reasons its window may be hidden:

It can be minimized, meaning the window is not shown and an icon is shown in its place.
It can be hidden behind other windows (including the full-screen window of a screensaver).
It can be displayed on a different desktop, workspace, viewport, or whatever your window manager calls these.
It can be hidden in some other manner, for example “shaded” (meaning only a title bar is shown), or simply unmapped (meaning the window manager has decided for whatever reason that the window shouldn't be displayed).

If an application's window is completely hidden, then the application doesn't need to refresh the window contents. If it needs to allocate memory to refresh that content, it won't be doing it while the window is hidden. Also, if a window is hidden (for any reason), the application might free a little memory inside the X server.

What makes more of a difference in practice is that if a window isn't being displayed, then the application doesn't make computations to redraw the contents, and therefore the data needed to draw the contents can be swapped out. If RAM is tight and there's a window you aren't going to iteract with for a while, it's better if the window is not mapped. Again, the reason why the window is not mapped (hidden behind others, minimized, shaded, …) is unimportant.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for your answer Robrok, but I think I can't agree on "Minimizing a window might free a little memory, but it depends on the application, and it won't amount to much" In my Firefox, I've seen 10x memory consumption difference (from 300mb to 30mb) when minimizing it. So, I'm a bit optimistic towards the effect of minimizing on memory :) –  Atul Goyal Sep 18 '11 at 6:22
    
Like he says, it depends on the application. Firefox is obviously freeing up memory when it's minimised but not all programmers are so considerate. –  parsley72 Mar 14 at 7:16

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.