The Microsoft Edge browser is putting billions of tabs to sleep

Patrick Devaney
Dec 7, 2022
Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has come a long way since the software giant decided to launch it as a Chromium-based browser and in November 2022 made up roughly 4.5% of the web browser market. One of the innovations the browser has seen is sleeping tabs, which are designed to save RAM and free up your computer’s resources by putting inactive browser tabs to sleep. Microsoft has now released details of just how many tabs the browser has been putting to sleep. Let’s take a look.

According to a new blog post from Microsoft, the sleeping tabs feature, which has been active since Microsoft Edge 105 has been working overdrive and putting a lot of tabs to sleep. In fact, in September 2022 alone, the browser put 1.38 billion inactive tabs to sleep in a bid to relieve the pressure being placed on the RAM of Windows devices.

The blog post goes on to say that sleeping tabs in this manner saves on average 83% of the memory normally used on active tabs. However, as Ghacks has already examined the feature and discovered that the sleeping tabs feature saves on average 39.1 MB of RAM per tab put to sleep we can try to run some basic math to figure out just how much RAM the feature saved Windows device users in September 2022.

As you’d imagine the number is quite large. At 39.1 X 1.38 billion, it comes in at 53,958,000,000 MB of RAM saved in September 2022. That means that in total Microsoft Edge saved just under 54 Petabytes worth of RAM in a single month. These numbers are truly astronomical, but they would get even larger if we were able to carry out similar calculations for the RAM Google Chrome saves with its Tab Freeze function. Compared to Edge, Chrome holds over 65% of the web browser market share, which puts it having almost 15 times as many users as the Edge browser.

It would be interesting to know if these savings have any knock-on effects on energy consumption and could therefore be claimed as sustainable savings for the environment too, but that investigation is beyond the means of this article.

Article Name
The Microsoft Edge browser is putting billions of tabs to sleep
Details have emerged of just how many tabs Microsoft Edge has been putting to sleep in order to save RAM through its new sleeping tabs function.

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  1. Mike said on December 7, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    I had to make the move to start using Windows 11, as bad as I didn’t want to. I’m a win7 user, and have been for years. I didn’t like windows 10. To me Microsoft Edge, is a bit slow, when you use voice search.

  2. Marti Martz said on December 7, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Seems to be fair and unbiased article imho. Keep up the great work! :)

  3. Akg said on December 7, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    A lot of Microsoft biased article have been posted by new guys on ghacks. Tbh quality of ghacks article is degrading over time ,apart from martin and ashwin I will not read anything over ghacks.

    1. Herman Cost said on December 8, 2022 at 12:14 am

      This article does at first feel a wee bit like Shaun’s Microsoft cheerleading. I had a brief, sneaking suspicion that he was using an alias, but the quality of analysis is higher and the writing is better. So let’s give Patrick the benefit of the doubt. The real problem here is that Shaun’s postings are so egregious that anything anyone else writes also seems suspicious.

  4. Anonymous said on December 7, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    I would like a count of productivity hours wasted due to forced combining of taskbar buttons with no text labels, more clicks to access context menu options, finding removed toolbar commands in Explorer, and overall MASSIVELY reduced customization in Start, Explorer and Taskbar.

  5. Oxa said on December 7, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Well, I just closed 7 Microsoft Edge “sleeping tabs” in the task manager, and I don’t even use Edge. The sleeping tabs were using RAM, even though I never opened Edge. This feature isn’t “saving” memory”; it’s using memory. This happens all the time. How is this helping me??

    1. Marti Martz said on December 7, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      > and I don’t even use Edge.

      In my Win10 VM it somehow always auto-opens. When I go to clean, it barks at me that it’s open which I too never opened it. I usually just open it and then use the “Exit” menu item and that closes it for at least a little while until it happens again. I think Chrome still has this “feature” as well where it will stay open on close.

      1. Gerold Manders said on December 7, 2022 at 10:41 pm

        When you access your Windows account, there is an option to run a powershell/batch script.

        I would suggest to make a script like this:

        @ECHO off
        TASKKILL /IM “msedge.exe” /F

        When that script runs, you will be sure that all instances of Microsoft Edge are killed…forcefully and without mercy.

        Now I don’t expect any trouble, but please keep in mind that there may be some functionality from 3rd party software you have installed that could be affected. It shouldn’t, however programmers nowadays like to use a browser instance for any type of tool. An idea which should not have entered in any sane mind.

  6. Tachy said on December 7, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    What I see in the data is that a lot of people have too many uneeded tabs open.

  7. leifel said on December 7, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    This is great, but I think it is even more interesting is how much CPU-time and power-consumption is spared by the feature. Hoping to see something similar in Firefox soon.

    1. userpasspass said on December 7, 2022 at 6:45 pm

      Firefox already has this feature, but it’s halfassed, so for FF use unload addons.

  8. Mothy said on December 7, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    How did they gather that data? Oh yes via spying, I mean telemetry built-in to Edge and Windows. Makes one wonder what other information is Microsoft gathering on you?

    Also perhaps instead of implementing a sleeping tabs feature they debloat and optimize their software better so it does not use so much RAM to begin with?

    1. yanta said on December 7, 2022 at 10:31 pm

      That is so creepy. They have no damn business knowing how many tabs my browser has put to sleep. Way too much telemetry. Thank god I don’t use any chromium based browser.

  9. John B said on December 7, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Microsoft was pretty much approached by RAM manufacturers in the 2000s because they overproduced supply and they worked out a deal where Microsoft would intentionally waste RAM by dumping garbage…I mean, totally legitimate and useful stuff in to the RAM to artificially inflate the “need” for more RAM. Then over the course of years they kept renaming it from Superfetch to other things. In the Task Manager for Windows 10 it is referred to as “Standby Memory”. Just load a typical ~2GB video file in any media player and then load RAMMap; you’ll find a huge swath of that file still in memory…weeks later. I actually had to go through the hell of figuring out how to automatically clear the “Standby Memory” every ~15 minutes as even if HALF of your memory is “reported as free” if you have the page file turned off like me (because you can afford enough memory, you have more than 16KB and it’s not 1986 any more) then anything requesting memory will just crash until you kill off the “Standby Memory” because again, Microsoft just presumes you’re computer will be incorrectly configured. It’s also a great way to make users think their device is slow and outdated…no, the hardware is typically fine (unless you cheaped out and bought something with less than 16 of RAM for grandma or less than 32GB for a gamer). It’s amazing what the world will reveal to you if you actually pay attention.

    1. Anonymous said on December 8, 2022 at 1:07 am

      Interesting remark about “Standby Memory”, I was not aware of this.
      I found a few comments on internet concerning this. Assuring that if needed, memory was released (from MS), and that 4GB memory is too low (with Standby Memory” present).
      But also finding comments that a PC runs better after clearing.

      I used the following explanation:

      And I found this program which does the clearing automatically:

      Obviously Process Lasso also includes something like this (trial-software).

      The problem with all those brilliant solutions is that they come from a one/few men activity. How is the integrity and continuity assured?

      1. Anonymous said on December 19, 2022 at 10:40 pm

        I have used ISLC of Wagnardsoft to automatically free “Standby Memory” on a PC with 4 GB of memory.
        Based on the messages about Standby Memory I expected an improvement. However I found the opposite, my PC took much longer to start a program.

        Probably this is because ISLC, freeing Standby Memory if <1GB of memory was left, turned my 4GB PC in a 3GB PC. The 4-th GB could not be used anymore.
        Possibly MS has taken care that that nowadays Standby Memory contains useful functions.

        I still think that ISLC, occasionally used, improves the security. Because old info is removed.
        However I do not use ISLC anymore in automatically functioning.

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