How much RAM is normal for Windows 11?

Windows 11, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, was released in October 2021. With its new visual design and features, Windows 11 also has some revised system requirements compared to Windows 10. One of the most notable changes is the increased minimum RAM requirement.

What is the minimum RAM requirement for Windows 11?

Microsoft has set the minimum RAM requirement for Windows 11 at 4GB. This means that devices need to have at least 4GB of RAM installed to be able to run Windows 11 and receive updates. The minimum RAM requirement for Windows 10 is just 2GB, so Windows 11 doubles the minimum RAM needed.

The increased RAM requirement is likely due to the new features and visual overhaul in Windows 11. The new desktop environment, widgets, enhanced multi-tasking and gaming features all demand more memory than before. By setting a higher minimum RAM requirement, Microsoft aims to ensure a smooth and responsive experience in Windows 11.

Why does Windows 11 require more RAM than Windows 10?

There are a few key reasons why Microsoft raised the minimum RAM requirement for Windows 11:

  • New visual design – Windows 11 has a refreshed user interface with rounded corners, new system fonts, a centered Start menu and Taskbar, and overall smoother animations. This new fluid visual design requires more RAM to render.
  • Enhanced multitasking – Windows 11 brings snap layouts, Snap Groups and better window management for multi-tasking. Running multiple apps and windows side by side needs more RAM.
  • Widgets – The new personalized Feed powered by AI-curated widgets is a RAM intensive feature.
  • Integrated Teams Chat – Having Microsoft Teams chat integrated into the Taskbar also adds to the RAM overhead.
  • Gaming features – Windows 11 improves gaming with Auto HDR and DirectStorage API integration, both of which require additional RAM.
  • Security features – New security features like hypervisor-protected memory, Secure Boot and Virtualization-based Security eat up some RAM.

In summary, all the major new features in Windows 11 place higher demand on RAM usage, leading to the raised 4GB minimum requirement.

What is the recommended RAM for Windows 11?

The minimum RAM requirement for Windows 11 is 4GB, but what is the recommended RAM amount for ideal performance?

Microsoft recommends having at least 8GB of RAM on Windows 11 devices. 8GB provides enough headroom for smoother multitasking, quicker app launches, better gaming support, and breathing room for updates.

Here are the key reasons why running Windows 11 with 8GB RAM is recommended:

  • Allows comfortable multitasking – Multiple browsers, productivity apps, Adobe programs, etc can run together.
  • Games run better – Latest games need 8GB+ RAM for optimal fps and performance.
  • Quick app launch times – There is less disk paging needed to open apps and files.
  • Support for updates – Future Windows updates will be designed for 8GB+ RAM devices.
  • Future proofing – 8GB RAM will stay relevant for 3-5 more years of use.

Considering the average lifespan of a PC, 8GB is the ideal RAM amount for Windows 11. While 4GB is the bare minimum, it may feel restrictive over time as apps and updates demand more memory. Investing in 8GB or higher provides a noticeably smoother experience.

What RAM does Windows 11 run best at?

While 8GB is the recommended amount of RAM for Windows 11, having 16GB RAM will provide the absolute best experience:

  • Buttery smooth multitasking – Tons of browser tabs, productivity apps, creative programs can run lag-free together.
  • Maxed out gaming – Modern games like Elden Ring need 16GB RAM for max graphics settings.
  • Instant app response – No slowdowns when opening files and apps, even large ones.
  • Future proof – A 16GB RAM PC will feel fast for 5-7 years easily with Windows updates.
  • Media editing – Video and photo editing with Adobe software runs seamlessly.
  • Virtualization – Virtual machines have plenty of RAM overhead.

Windows 11 is designed to take advantage of higher RAM capacities. Having 16GB enables unprecedented multitasking power and future-proofing. For the ultimate Windows 11 experience today and for years to come, 16GB RAM is ideal.

4GB vs 8GB vs 16GB RAM in Windows 11 – Comparison

Here is a direct comparison of how 4GB, 8GB and 16GB RAM configurations perform with Windows 11:

Specification 4GB RAM 8GB RAM 16GB RAM
Multitasking Ability Light. Can only run few light apps together. Good. Allows 5-10 browser tabs and a few apps together. Excellent. Dozens of browser tabs and apps open lag-free.
Gaming Performance Playable at minimum settings. Good at medium settings. Maxed out settings enabled.
App Launch Speed Decent. Light apps open quickly. Fast. Most apps open smoothly. Blazing fast. Heavy apps also open instantly.
Future Proofing Around 2 years use. 3-5 years relevant. 5-7+ years future proof.

As you can see, while 4GB RAM is enough for basic Windows 11 usage, 8GB provides a significantly smoother experience while 16GB RAM enables the absolute best performance.

Should you upgrade RAM for Windows 11?

If your Windows PC currently has only 4GB RAM, upgrading its memory for Windows 11 could lead to a major performance boost. Here are some scenarios when upgrading RAM is recommended:

  • You multitask heavily – Upgrading from 4GB to 8GB RAM will allow more concurrent apps.
  • Gaming performance is poor – Moving from 4GB to 8GB or 16GB RAM improves gaming fps.
  • Apps are slow to open – Additional RAM reduces launch times and disk paging.
  • Plan to keep your PC 3-5+ years – Extra RAM now will help your PC stay fast for longer.
  • Notice RAM maxing out frequently – Upgrading RAM will resolve this memory bottleneck.

Before upgrading, also make sure your PC has a 64-bit CPU and operating system installed, along with empty RAM slots or replaceable RAM modules. Overall though, if you currently have only 4GB RAM, upgrading to 8GB or 16GB can make a very worthwhile difference in Windows 11.

Tips for tweaking and optimizing RAM usage in Windows 11

Alongside upgrading your RAM, tweaking some settings in Windows 11 can further optimize your memory usage and system performance:

  • Close background apps not in use – This frees up RAM being used unnecessarily.
  • Disable visual effects – Animations and transparency effects use up RAM.
  • Uninstall bloatware – Pre-installed manufacturer apps also consume RAM.
  • Adjust virtual memory size – Match it to installed RAM for best performance.
  • Disable Superfetch and Prefetch – These memory caching features aren’t always beneficial.
  • Update drivers – Outdated drivers can negatively affect RAM management.
  • Disable Game Bar and Game Mode – These gaming features run in the background pointlessly.

Fine-tuning these Windows settings based on your PC setup and usage habits can help optimize RAM usage on systems with 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of memory.


Windows 11 has increased its minimum RAM requirement to 4GB compared to Windows 10. However, for the best experience 8GB RAM is recommended, while 16GB RAM enables truly exceptional performance.

Upgrading RAM from 4GB to 8GB or 16GB can provide a significant boost in multitasking capability, app launch speeds, gaming fps, and overall future proofing. If your Windows 11 PC currently has only 4GB RAM, considering an upgrade could lead to much faster performance and smoother multitasking.

Alongside RAM upgrades, fine-tuning Windows 11 settings like visual effects, Superfetch and disabled background apps can further improve memory usage. Optimizing RAM usage allows you to maximize the performance from 4GB, 8GB or 16GB RAM configurations.

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