Microsoft: Edge's Sleeping Tabs feature saves an average of 39.1 MB of RAM per tab

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 7, 2022
Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge's Sleeping Tabs feature saves an average of 39.1 Megabytes of RAM for each tab that it puts to sleep according to Microsoft.

Sleeping Tabs was introduced in late 2020 by Microsoft in the company's Edge web browser. The feature puts tabs that have not been used for a period into sleep mode; the tab remains visible on the tab bar, but it is unloaded to free up RAM and save resources.

Tabs that are put into Sleep mode are faded in Edge by default to better distinguish them from active tabs. A click on a sleeping tab reloads its content automatically.

Company engineers improved the feature in Microsoft Edge 100 by putting pages to sleep that are sharing browsing instances; this puts 8% more tabs to sleep on average according to Microsoft.

Microsoft published information about the  effectiveness of the Sleeping Tabs feature on its Microsoft Edge Dev Twitter account today:

Use sleeping tabs to save resources? You aren’t alone! Over the past 28 days on Windows devices, we slept 6 billion tabs resulting in a savings of 273.7 Petabytes of RAM. That’s roughly 39.1 megabytes saved per tab

The company analyzed sleeping tabs data on Windows devices to find out how effective the feature is. Microsoft claims that the feature has put 6 billion tabs to sleep over the past 28 days, and that this has freed up more than 273.7 of RAM on those devices. The average saving is "roughly 39.1 Megabytes" according to Microsoft.  Some users may find it creepy that Microsoft has access to the information.

The feature is enabled by default and it puts tabs to sleep after 2 hours of inactivity. 6 billion tabs sounds like a lot, even more so if the 2 hour period of inactivity applies. More data, especially on the total number of open tabs in the monitored period would be helpful to get a better picture of the effectiveness of the feature.

Configure Sleep Mode in Edge

Microsoft Edge users may open edge://settings/system in the browser's address bar to find out if Sleeping Tabs is turned on. Check "save resources with sleeping tabs" to find out about that. Options to toggle the fading of sleeping tabs, the amount of time a tab needs to be inactive before it is put to sleep, and a list of exceptions are also available on the page.

The default puts tabs that have been inactive for at least 2 hours into sleep mode. If you turn on efficiency mode, Edge takes over the setting and applies is based on various parameters such as available RAM.

Closing Words

Tabs that are put to sleep may affect other performance related metrics positively, including battery life on mobile devices. Freeing up RAM may not be beneficial on all systems, but it can improve the performance of systems with a low amount of RAM and systems that reach certain RAM use thresholds.

Most browsers support similar functionality, but Microsoft Edge's Sleeping Tabs feature came out of top in our analysis in 2021, as it is very convenient to use and effective at the same time.

Now You: do you use such a feature in your browsers? (via Deskmodder)

Article Name
Microsoft: Edge's Sleeping Tabs feature saves an average of 39.1 MB of RAM per tab
Microsoft Edge's Sleeping Tabs feature saves an average of 39.1 Megabytes of RAM for each tab that it puts to sleep according to Microsoft.
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  1. Anonymous said on June 7, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    How many petabytes of RAM was wasted by Widgets and all the other bloated webview crap in Windows 11 instead?

    1. Marv said on June 8, 2022 at 2:22 pm

      RAM cannot be “wasted”. I have 32GB of it. The only “waste” is people not tech literate enough to utilize all of that. Call me even a RAM’let, since I know many people in my circles with 64GB for their VMs, on a desktop, not a server.

      1. Andrew said on June 10, 2022 at 10:57 am

        Not everyone has this luxury. A lot of people outside of the first world have 4GB of RAM and HDD drive, and have to work in such conditions. RAM should be conserved

    2. Anonymous said on June 7, 2022 at 9:55 pm

      Your rant would be more valid if you talked about Edge and only about edge since this is about Edge Browser. You know, like how NTP uses 80+MB RAM or how just an empty html is like 16MB, so, saving 39.1MB after 2 hours is nothing in the big picture to care about it or even market about it like Microsoft did.
      But of course no, you have to go on a tangent with a really fail low energy argument.
      I am sure in your mind you made a clever argument, but no, if you need to talk about anything but Edge, and throw any unrelated stuff to debate or argue about the content of this article then, you should stop because you are just failing at it, I mean, Edge is not exclusive to Windows OS anymore.

    3. Anonymous said on June 7, 2022 at 9:16 pm

      People like you are the reason whataboutism exists and it is stupid and not even valid 99% of the time.
      If you care so much about those things, uninstall or disable them and stop crying about then.
      This is about EDGE BROWSER, not about a whole Operating System, not even about Windows since Edge runs in all other Operatings Systems.
      I mean, you mentioning webview shows how clueless you are and how really unintelligent your rant is, but I guess some people will never wake up from a fantasy clown world they live in.

      1. Anonymous said on June 8, 2022 at 2:00 am

        People like you are the reason why Windows 11 is a bloated piece of garbage. We shouldn’t have to spend hours disabling ton of trash to make the OS bloat free as it was before Windows 10. It doesn’t matter if its edge browser or webview2, they are both same bloated trash at the end of the day. Microsoft needs to stop developing web embedded trash and return to proper native programs.

  2. Corky said on June 7, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Just the fact that they know how many tabs have been slept should be enough to frighten anyone away from Edge.

    Added to that is they’ve seemingly forgotten what RAM’s meant for. Why anyone would want to unload information from system RAM if you’ve still got unused RAM is anyone’s guess, i want stuff stored in RAM so i don’t have to wait for it to be loaded from slower memory (SSD/HDD).

    1. MarlKax said on June 7, 2022 at 9:08 pm

      Do you even know what Math is?
      Or how Statistics are performed?

      They don’t know ‘how many tabs have been slept’ or do you think they gave an exact number? obviously not, they only give an approximate and it is dumb to think otherwise. You know, you based stuff on how many people are active users of Edge and how many tabs people usually open and and what people usually do.
      Plus some people will send more telemetry than others, etc. That’s how things work.

      If you are going to complain about “well, they know how many users are using Edge”, yeah so? you have companies like Vivaldi that openly say that they send your unique ID to their servers every 24h with all the info about your computer and some people think ‘well it is not too bad, I trust Vivaldi’. I remember Ghacks wrote an article about it in 2018, then 2019 they made an article “they are going to change that” and 2022 still nothing, that’s how much they care.
      So Microsoft making the Browser, the OS, many apps and all that, it would be dumb to say “oh they shouldn’t know”, and you can still avoid it by using firewall and all that.

      Now think, if an insignificant company that supposedly cares about your privacy “we don’t track you” like Vivaldi does it, now why wouldn’t big companies that work with billions of users, enterprise and governments do it?

      Also, you seem to play the “oh I am smart, nobody else” well, websites are different from programs or games, so unloading stuff from memory doesn’t even matter, because you can reload it and because of Cache that exists on your disk, it should be instant when you wake the tabs up.
      What you forget to mention is this is obviously not talking about other resources it saves but not having SOME tabs in the background, there are some tabs that will keep doing some JS work, without you knowing, so this will stop them from doing that. Of course, measuring RAM vs CPU is different, RAM can be easily done while CPU is not.
      Some websites once they are loaded they stop doing I/O operations or CPU or anything, so the only thing that will be saved is RAM and then the only constant value that can be measure always.
      Of course, as a marketing, it is good to mention RAM, but obviously they know what RAM is for, but we have to use the brain and common sense to think “why would they mention only RAM and nothing else”?
      In other words, I believe you are just trying to find the little imperfection to try to seem smart and ‘go against the evul MiCro$uft”.

      Do you use Edge? if the answer is no, then why do you care?

      Edge is not the only browser that has this feature, Opera and Yandex as well, and probably many more, but since you can get it better with extensions then it doesn’t matter much, like Chrome, you need an extension and that’s is the only way to get it, but Chromium already put tabs on a low priority when tab out or change tab, which helps with resources in some ways but it sometimes affect performance on websites and then you can ‘unleash’ them by command line switches.

      So Microsoft has a point for their marketing, they offer a UI button that does the job, so you don’t need an extension, and that’s it. You are overthinking and swimming in a pigsty trying to make sense of it.

      1. Corky said on June 8, 2022 at 12:35 pm

        Yes i know how both those things ‘work’ maybe you should learn to be more succinct as no one’s got time to read that long-winded diatribe. Especially from someone who’s not even taken the time to read the article they’re commenting on where MS literally say “we slept 6 billion tabs”.

  3. John G. said on June 7, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    “The feature is enabled by default and it puts tabs to sleep after 2 hours of inactivity.”

    Please, who has an useless tab spent time for you in the computer for 2 hours long? LOL.

    1. Anonymous said on June 7, 2022 at 8:37 pm

      I am sorry but this is a stupid question, because a lot of people open dozens and even hundreds of tabs, they spent days with it opened and never close a tab for days because sometimes they don’t even turn computer offs or hibernate them or they re-open browser and it has all the same 50+ tabs.

      Some people are careless like that, only because you are not doesn’t mean other millions are like you.

      Of course 2 hours sounds like a lot to sleep tabs, there should be a setting about it, usually with extensions I will set it (for others) at 10 minutes or so, but extensions give more options like if there are forms, if there is audio playing or so extensions will always be the best way to do this unless browsers give more settings about them.

      1. Marv said on June 8, 2022 at 2:20 pm

        >That tab could be useful again in 3 years

        Other people use bookmarks.

  4. Paul(us) said on June 7, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    I am still thinking that the add-on Snooze Tabs for Firefox is the clear winner.

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