Windows 11 is now available, memory leaks and performance sacrifices included

nanoguy

Posts: 1,024   +14
Staff member
In context: Windows 11 requires TPM 2.0 on all machines, including virtual ones. This is due to Microsoft's insistence on making Windows more secure against hackers that poke and prod it for vulnerabilities, but it also comes at the cost of performance on systems where virtualization-based security is enabled. At the same time, early adopters will find that Microsoft's new operating system comes with the customary collection of bugs, some of which can also impact the general performance of your PC.

Microsoft today opened the doors for Windows users to upgrade to Windows 11, which is a weird mix of various UI improvements, new and familiar features, missing functionality that was promised before release and security improvements, all with less legacy clutter. The upgrade process is smoother than it's ever been, but once you're up and running with Windows 11 you'll have to unlearn a few old habits and adjust to the fact that it's still far from perfect, despite Microsoft's best effort to make the interface more modern and inviting.

To put it simply, the new operating system is still a work in progress, but early adopters have only a few things to worry about. The first is that in building Windows 11, Microsoft wanted to apply a layer of enterprise-grade security to all machines capable of running it. This has sparked a lot of controversy around the system requirements, which are more strict than those of Windows 10 and leave out many existing PCs with relatively modern hardware.

If, however, you migrate to Windows 11 through purchasing a new PC, you might see reduced gaming performance due to Microsoft's implementation of virtualization-based security (VBS). The issue was first discovered by the folks over at PC Gamer, who did some testing and found that OEM machines performed below expectations.

It turns out that VBS is enabled by default on these systems, and it leads to performance regressions of up to five percent in Far Cry New Dawn, 10 percent in the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, 25 percent in Horizon Zero Dawn, and 28 percent in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. These findings have been confirmed by ComputerBase and UL Benchmarks, and the latter is working on an update for its benchmark utilities that will account for VBS and help users compare scores fairly.

For context, VBS was first introduced in Windows 10 as an optional feature and uses hardware virtualization to create and isolate a secure region of memory from the normal operating system. Windows can then use this virtual secure mode to host several security features and prevent malware from exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system and injecting malicious code. For enterprise customers, this provides an additional security layer.

With Windows 11, Microsoft wants to make VBS standard across both consumer and enterprise/government machines. To be clear, VBS will only be enabled by default on fresh installs. If you perform an in-place upgrade using an ISO, via the Windows 11 Installation Assistant, or after being offered the upgrade via Windows Update, VBS will be off unless it was manually turned on before starting the upgrade process.

The second biggest source of annoyances for early adopters who make the move to Windows 11 will be a series of bugs that will likely be fixed in the coming weeks or months. Some are serious enough to degrade your experience, such as a memory leak related to the File Explorer process that can quickly eat up your available RAM.

This one was discovered by Reddit user u/gyrohan269 two months ago, but it doesn't appear to be fixed in the public release build (22000.194). Normally, File Explorer -- or any other process for that matter -- should free up the allocated memory space once it's no longer needed or the process itself has been terminated.

However, in Windows 11, File Explorer seems to hang on to almost all of the RAM allocated whenever you open a new window. This means that if you work with a lot of File Explorer windows open, closing them leaves garbage in the system memory that has the potential to slow down your system when using RAM-hungry applications, be it browsers or productivity software. We were able to replicate the issue ourselves, and this could be impactful especially on machines with less than eight gigabytes of RAM.

As of writing, the only way to fix this problem is to open up Task Manager and manually restart the File Explorer process.

Permalink to story.

 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,842   +1,662
Hello Windows, my old friend
"I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains"
- The Sound of Silence
 

Irata

Posts: 1,812   +3,053
No worries though - I am sure all the performance robbing features will be deactivated for that ‚out of the box‘ performance when benchmarking / reviewing CPU that might depend on Win 11.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,869   +1,920
Steelseries driver stopped me from enabling Core Isolation after enabling hardware virtualization in BIOS. Driver installed fine after enabled (google is your friend!). I'll see if I have any issues with anything. I'd rather keep it on if it's not hampering performance for the potential security and stability benefits.

I don't usually have a lot of File windows open so I can't speak on that. I opened 20 and closed them and regained what it used, so I don't know.

Update:
Lower CPU-Z and Cinebench scores with it enabled so I put a stop to that!
 
Last edited:

GamerNerves

Posts: 118   +60
So it's in beta stage as expected. It will be good and a rather major update regarding under the hood improvements, but they are practically ineffective yet. Maybe in spring the time is right. I wouldn't update this year if you are not willing to tinker and play with the OS. It's cool that people do so, but updating and then moaning about the problems, or more so about the company, on the internet is stupid.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,419   +3,531
I'm not looking for a new OS, probably gonna wait until they iron out most of the issues. I never saw the point of making Windows 11 anyway.
 

brucek

Posts: 943   +1,364
I'd just like to thank Microsoft for not unilaterally hacking my BIOS and forcing TPM on so it could force install this update.

The usual product manager must have been on vacation this week or something.
 
People. Listen... (gray-beard speaking here) It's real simple. Microsoft is NOT OUR FRIEND. They are dirt-bags and have always been dirt-bags... How do I know? I've been using Windows since before Windows. It's the same old with each version generation... They never actually fix it. They just advertise the next version. It's gets installed and everyone wonders what happened as they are laying in a ditch, bleeding with their nickers down. It's called wisdom... been there done that. Like Groundhog Day. Microsoft is one bad dream and it's not going away until the Earth is smacked up the side of the head with a speeding asteroid that takes us out. Have their been highlights? Sure! But way to few and far between to put up with this continued #$&!@.They need to slap the word BETA (better yet, ALPHA) on each copy and call it a day. May Darwin bless us all in this time of need. Just saying.
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 956   +761
Jesus Christ! For the past year in Politics & Technology it's been a freakin train wreck. Everything is going to Shi*. This is like a bad dream or something.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 357   +583
I'd just like to thank Microsoft for not unilaterally hacking my BIOS and forcing TPM on so it could force install this update.

The usual product manager must have been on vacation this week or something.

Ummm.... I tested Win 11 on a system yesterday and went to Windows update settings and downloaded optional updates. It upgraded my BIOS. I had never seen Windows upgrading Bios before.
So yeah, BIOS modification by Windows are now a thing.
 

Xex360

Posts: 163   +238
Ummm.... I tested Win 11 on a system yesterday and went to Windows update settings and downloaded optional updates. It upgraded my BIOS. I had never seen Windows upgrading Bios before.
So yeah, BIOS modification by Windows are now a thing.
They were with Windows 10, I remember my laptop updating to a new bios through Windows update.
We need to find a way to block stuck behaviour, updating the boss could lead to instability and incompatibility.
 

Ryrynz

Posts: 22   +7
Jesus Christ! For the past year in Politics & Technology it's been a freakin train wreck. Everything is going to Shi*. This is like a bad dream or something.

Tell me again how this upgrade ruined your pc and or life both were probably the pits to begin with, don't blame MS for ur own failures.
 

Ryrynz

Posts: 22   +7
I'm not looking for a new OS, probably gonna wait until they iron out most of the issues. I never saw the point of making Windows 11 anyway.

Looks like you've been in a cave and asleep to boot because the major reason is stated in this article and has been spouted online again and again for months. Talk about clueless.