Windows 8.1 apps don't want to close - "tombstoning" is the new cool
If you are geeky as we are, you have already downloaded and installed Microsoft’s latest operating system update – Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview. As you enjoy the latest software goodies from Redmond, you might notice that the behavior of closed Windows 8 apps have changed slightly.
In the past, dragging an application down from the top would completely close the application and remove it from memory – in Windows 8.1, that has changed. Now when you pull an app down from the top of the screen it is removed from your list of currently active apps and “tombstoned”.
Let’s quickly talk about what tombstoning is; Windows 8 does not allow most applications to run in the background in order to conserve and save resources on the PC. Some applications like Slacker Radio and Xbox Music have permission to run since they need to stream content. Other applications like Windows Mail and IM+ can still receive push notifications from a server, but aren’t continuously running. Tombstoning is the act of taking an application that is not in use and putting it into a “software sleep mode” where it does not suck down resources.
Want to see an example of tombstoning for yourself? Open the IE10 Windows 8 App to play a YouTube video then switch away to a different application – the audio stops.
Windows 8.1 now tombstones applications that you close instead of actually closing them. This way, if you decide that you need to reopen the app, you are dropped in right where you left off. Some of you may be concerned that this new change will be negative on your resources – it won’t be. The operating system will tombstone your apps until the resources are needed again; at which point, the application will fully close.
A perfect analogy is if you know how a hard drive deletes files. When you delete a file on a computer it really isn’t gone – it just appears gone, but remains on the drive until the space is needed.
We do expect some users to face confusion of why dragging and “closing” their apps seems to work sometimes and other times doesn’t, but it shouldn’t be the issue of the century.
If you really do need to close an application completely, simply drag it to the bottom of the screen and wait for the app’s logo to appear before letting go. For those who need to aggressively kill applications, you always have the ability to terminate an application via Windows 8.1’s task manager.
What do you think of Microsoft’s approach - do you think it is a good idea to tombstone all closed apps until system resources are needed?
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but its up to developer. its like music app, it will play music even if you switch, but IE will stop the audio.
So much for the surprise trip, but I guess there is a way to close the apps completely... just a different way than before.
Swipe down on the apps and hold it at the bottom until the window icon changes. Then the app is completely closed, not just tombstoned!
Is there a way to kill the app ??
Otherwise I would leave it open, as it tombstones anyway.
And I'm really not a fan of this kind of automatic memory management. Especially as it makes the task manager even more unreadable - If tombstoning fills the RAM, it will look like an Adobe Product is running on my PC.
When you want to close an app from the app list via touch, you need to move the app to the very top and then swipe down. Which often ends with my finger going too far up, which causes the app to turn active instead.
This solution sounds like it would fall into a similar issue, depending on how the tolerance on the down-swipe is. From memory it would likely be better than the former case, though.
I could also put the app into focus and THEN swipe down. The issue is efficiency, not doing it at all.
I prefer to just slide down to close it. Would be nice if we could enable that as an option or something.
(warning if you do this and then decide to let the app run instead you'll basically have restarted the app and your unsaved data will be gone :). )
Its a 8mb GIF so that you know. :)
Courtesy Nokia's of CinemaGraph
I agree it is unfortunate that there's no "small Start" option, though.
anyway this new way of closing apps can have positive and negative things. its nice ot be able to tombstone apps without filling your app switcher. but some people dont want to wait to close their apps and if they are watching pr0n they dont want other people to open IE and then see what they were watching because it didnt close completely.
but also apps switch fast, again, without filling any app switcher. and its faster to restart apps now, since you can hold the app on the bottom and when it closes (when it changes to its icon) you can drag it up and reopen it faster than go to start menu and finding the app and stuff.
so it has nice things and negative things. but these apps take few memory that its not like computer will be slow for suspending apps in background. and if windows needs memory, it will still close the apps to gain memory. so its not like too bad. but some people might complain about this.
Windows 8 does not close or "tombstone" applications. It suspends them. When you leave an app, unless it is part of a background execution contract (like background audio), it will be notified that it's about to be suspended. It will have a few seconds to persist its state, and then it will be frozen in memory. If the user returns to the app, it will resume exactly where it left off. If the system needs to free up memory, it may page the suspended app's working set out to disk, or it may terminate it entirely. In the latter case, the next time the app launches, it will be told to reload the state it saved before it was suspended.
The drag-to-bottom action used to trigger a suspend operation (giving the app time to save) then immediately terminate it. It was meant to be rarely used. But apparently enough folks used it for the behavior of getting an app out of their "back stack" that it became more common than expected. This has the unfortunate effect of making the machine seem slower, and probably complicates the new multi-window cases. So the new behavior of this action in 8.1 is to suspend it and otherwise follow the normal rules. However, unlike other ways of leaving an app, this will still remove the app from the user's "back stack" so they won't see it in the app switcher or if they do the "swipe back" gesture (or click in the upper left).
At Build I was shown that there is a new gesture for fully forcing an app closed, but this is mainly for debugging/troubleshooting purposes. More importantly, if you do the existing close gesture, then immediately try to launch the app again, the system will assume something was wrong and will kill and restart the app (instead of resuming it). I think this was a clever way to handle that problem.
But I currently use WP 8 as my phone OS Nokia Lumia 925, Windows 7 Ultimate on the only Windows machine in the house as it's needed for syncing my Lumia and the wifes iPhone 4S to iTunes etc and Ubuntu 13.10 x64 as my main machine.
Does anyone know how to tell Windows "KEEP APPS RUNNING IN THE BACKGROUND! don't tombstone them!"? after all, no traditional program has ever stopped functioning automatically just because you minimize it to the task bar!