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Windows 7 Using 5gb+ ram idle

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November 22, 2009 10:36:29 PM

I just installed windows 7 ultimate x64 and noticed that its using over 5gb of my 6gb of ram, on idle! I have no idea what's going on. Any idea? Thanks

More about : windows 5gb ram idle

a b $ Windows 7
November 23, 2009 1:00:44 PM

There's an article over at BetaNews that explains some changes to the Windows kernel made from Vista to Win7. I quote the relevant portion below:
Here's another counter-intuitive notion: It's more efficient for a system to use as much memory as possible -- not to fill it with data, necessarily, but to populate memory pages with something. In an illustration for his part of this morning's workshop, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Landy Wang showed a Windows 7 Task Manager panel where a machine with 8 GB of DRAM, running just a handful of regular processes, ended up with 97 MB free, or completely "zeroed." And that was a good thing.

"A lot of people might think, 'Wow, 97 megabytes doesn't seem like a lot of free memory on a machine of that size,' said Wang. "And we like to see this row actually be very small, 97 MB, because we figure that free and zero pages won't generally have a lot of use in this system. What we would rather do, if we have free and zero pages, is populate them with speculated disk or network reads, such that if you need the data later, you won't have to wait for a very slow disk or a very slow network to respond. So we will typically take these free and zero pages as we come across them, and pre-populate them with any files you might have read before, or executables we think you might run in the future -- we will get that in advance, so you don't have to wait when you click on something. It's already in memory, but you shouldn't take this low counter as implying that we're using a lot of memory."

Then Wang paused before adding, "We really are using a lot of memory, but we think we're using it in a smart way that you really want us to be using it in." said:
Here's another counter-intuitive notion: It's more efficient for a system to use as much memory as possible -- not to fill it with data, necessarily, but to populate memory pages with something. In an illustration for his part of this morning's workshop, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Landy Wang showed a Windows 7 Task Manager panel where a machine with 8 GB of DRAM, running just a handful of regular processes, ended up with 97 MB free, or completely "zeroed." And that was a good thing.

"A lot of people might think, 'Wow, 97 megabytes doesn't seem like a lot of free memory on a machine of that size,' said Wang. "And we like to see this row actually be very small, 97 MB, because we figure that free and zero pages won't generally have a lot of use in this system. What we would rather do, if we have free and zero pages, is populate them with speculated disk or network reads, such that if you need the data later, you won't have to wait for a very slow disk or a very slow network to respond. So we will typically take these free and zero pages as we come across them, and pre-populate them with any files you might have read before, or executables we think you might run in the future -- we will get that in advance, so you don't have to wait when you click on something. It's already in memory, but you shouldn't take this low counter as implying that we're using a lot of memory."

Then Wang paused before adding, "We really are using a lot of memory, but we think we're using it in a smart way that you really want us to be using it in."

When another program wants the RAM that Windows is using in its speculation, Windows readily gives it up. Unless you are experiencing serious slowdowns, I wouldn't worry about it.
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November 23, 2009 1:36:51 PM

Personally I'd still be concerned about 5gb being used, there's something up with that. Using 5 times the memory of Home premium cannot be right.

Is it peaking to 5gb or is it consistant when idle?
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a b $ Windows 7
November 23, 2009 1:45:00 PM

Give it the three~finger salute. Management console - "Show Processes from All Users". Sort by memory usage to see what is using how much.
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November 23, 2009 9:17:50 PM

It was consistently sitting at just over 5gb. From the first response, so even if its sitting at 5 gbs that sorta like cached memory then? something like vista's superfetch?
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November 23, 2009 9:31:04 PM

Pretty much normal. I'm using Vista 64 with 8gb ram and at this moment I have 73mb free. I have seen it at zero on a couple of occassions!
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November 23, 2009 10:33:09 PM

Comeon, when you have 73 mb free doesnt matter that rest is used.
I am using W7 and have 2GB ram used by programs, 69MB Modified data, 5.5 GB standby (cached date that can easily be overwriten without need to save anything to disk) and 500MB free.

If you try start new program that have data chached it will be faster as it doesnt need read from disk, if it doesnt have data cached, and there is no free memory it will just use part of cached memory without any impact on performance.
Its actually smart that its using all available memory this way.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
November 23, 2009 11:15:13 PM

blaze85 said:
It was consistently sitting at just over 5gb. From the first response, so even if its sitting at 5 gbs that sorta like cached memory then? something like vista's superfetch?
There's tons of ways to indicate "memory usage" in Windows 7. It would help a lot if you told us exactly what you're looking at that says "5GB"....
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November 24, 2009 6:34:44 AM

I agree xrodney.
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November 29, 2009 7:16:04 PM

Problem is solved, after installing the some of the automatic updates from windows, memory usage has dropped significantly according to the built in resource monitor and everest. don't know what was in them but they did something.
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a b $ Windows 7
November 29, 2009 11:14:02 PM

blaze85 said:
Problem is solved, after installing the some of the automatic updates from windows, memory usage has dropped significantly according to the built in resource monitor and everest. don't know what was in them but they did something.

Wow! I'm interested in learning why it changed. Do you know which update it was?
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November 30, 2009 8:40:47 PM

I'll have to look into it because it was so weird. According to my update history i think it changed after i installed these:
ATK - system - ATK0110 ACPI UTILITY
Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB974332)
Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB974431)
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a b $ Windows 7
November 30, 2009 11:23:21 PM

blaze85 said:
I'll have to look into it because it was so weird. According to my update history i think it changed after i installed these:
ATK - system - ATK0110 ACPI UTILITY
Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB974332)
Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB974431)

Hmph! I'm not a programmer so I don't understand all of the technical details of those updates. However, here's what I found:
KB974332 improves application compatibility. Check out this article and see if you use any apps listed there.
KB974431 is a stability and reliability update. It fixes several issues (detailed here), but I don't see anything that would likely cause excessive RAM usage.
Any programming experts have a clue?
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December 2, 2009 11:54:57 AM

Hi there. I have the same problem, except the fact that it only does it when I install something big, like a game. The memory builds up progressively until it gets full, and then it starts to lag badly. Even after the setup is complete, it's still full and continues to move really slow. Any ideas? Thanks
PS: I also have the mentioned updates but it doesn't help
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a b $ Windows 7
December 2, 2009 12:53:03 PM

elfwrath said:
Hi there. I have the same problem, except the fact that it only does it when I install something big, like a game. The memory builds up progressively until it gets full, and then it starts to lag badly. Even after the setup is complete, it's still full and continues to move really slow. Any ideas? Thanks
PS: I also have the mentioned updates but it doesn't help

Did you read Scotteq's post above? Before troubleshooting, we need to know what's causing the problem. I wonder if this happens only on high-RAM systems. My laptop runs Win7 64-bit with only 3 GB of RAM, and I've never had this problem, even when installing large programs. I really don't think the amount of RAM would cause such wildly different behavior, so this leads me to believe that third-party software is causing the problem, maybe AV? Try disabling your security program and then doing a big installation. (You might also want to disable your network connection at the same time to prevent any security breach while the AV is off.)
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December 2, 2009 3:21:47 PM

I've read the post. No AV software. I'm running the 64bit on 4 GB. I don't know what's going on with it. It was working fine with the RC and Beta. However, those were on 32 bits. Maybe it's something related to 64 bits? Not sure how to open the console that he mentioned... plz help
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a b $ Windows 7
December 2, 2009 3:49:26 PM

elfwrath said:
I've read the post. No AV software. I'm running the 64bit on 4 GB. I don't know what's going on with it. It was working fine with the RC and Beta. However, those were on 32 bits. Maybe it's something related to 64 bits? Not sure how to open the console that he mentioned... plz help

Actually, I don't know why he refers to the Management Console (accessed by Start>Run>"mmc", BTW). I'd open Task Manager, go to the "Processes" tab, then "Show processes from all users", and sort the resulting list of running processes by "Memory (Private Working Set)". See what's grabbing the most RAM, or if there's anything unusual (e.g., 100 processes named "explorer.exe"; yes, that happened to me once, though it was my fault).
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December 2, 2009 4:03:05 PM

Nope. Nothing crazy in Task manager. Everything looks the same and the RAM keeps filling up like crazy.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2009 12:09:46 AM

Which program is using all the RAM? It should show up in task manager.
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December 3, 2009 11:21:53 AM

When this was happening to me i checked in the console and their was no programs really using alot of ram. Could this be a problem with Win 7 using ram to populate the cache when a new program is installed?
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December 3, 2009 2:21:04 PM

The program which uses the most RAM is svchost.exe, but it only shows 140MB, plus other smaller versions of it, but it doesn't add up to 4 GB in total. It's absurd.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 3, 2009 7:37:10 PM

Again, when you say "RAM keeps filling up like crazy", where are you seeing this? What program are you using, and what is label of the RAM measurement you're looking at? A screenshot would help, too...
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December 4, 2009 10:58:07 AM

Sorry, I don't visit the forums that much... Basically I read all the RAM measurements in Task Manager. In the performance tab, the RAM is full to 4GB but in the processes tab there is no way there is that much RAM into the processes (all users). I thought maybe it was a Task Manager glitch, but the laptop slows down considerably too and I have to wait a lot for small processes like opening the browser and explorer (suggesting a lack of free RAM I think).
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a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2009 12:49:58 PM

Did this start as soon as you installed Win7, or was it after installing another program or update? Also, on a hunch, what sort of video card do you have? (And are there any integrated graphics chipsets on the motherboard?)
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December 4, 2009 12:56:00 PM

From what I recall, I didn't actually start as soon as I installed Win 7, which might also lead me to your thought of being a third party application conflict, but I can't figure out which application might do this. The only one that I haven't had this far and I have it now is SolidWorks 2009. Unfortunately, I can't delete and install it again cause I don't have the disc anymore. My graphics is GeForce 9600M GS.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2009 2:00:48 PM

elfwrath said:
From what I recall, I didn't actually start as soon as I installed Win 7, which might also lead me to your thought of being a third party application conflict, but I can't figure out which application might do this. The only one that I haven't had this far and I have it now is SolidWorks 2009. Unfortunately, I can't delete and install it again cause I don't have the disc anymore. My graphics is GeForce 9600M GS.

Does the problem happen only when SolidWorks is running? I could see a resource intensive CAD program like that eating up a ton of RAM if it is not fully compatible with Win7. Or does it have some background process that auto-starts? Or maybe new service that SW installs? I Googled "SolidWorks 2009 Windows 7", and it seems that a few people have had crash issues with it in Win7, but for most it works fine.
To confirm, there is no integrated graphics on your motherboard (even if it's unused)?
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 4, 2009 3:00:51 PM

elfwrath said:
Sorry, I don't visit the forums that much... Basically I read all the RAM measurements in Task Manager.
Are you looking at the "Memory" bar graph? Tell us what the numbers in the "Physical Memory (MB)" box say - there should be four numbers:

Total
Cached
Available
Free

The "Commit (GB)" number in the "System" box might also be interesting.
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December 4, 2009 4:03:37 PM

@ sminlal
Total : 4095
Cached : 254
Available: 200
Free: 0

Not sure what the commit was cause I can remember only those.

@bolbi
No integrated graphics at all.
From what I see, solidworks doesn't have any other programs installed. However, in order to run it, had to configure a VPN connection to the university server. The RAM consumption only happens when I install something that's large, for example games or large programs, that take long to install and are >5GB let's say. It progressively fills up while the program is being installed.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 4, 2009 7:20:57 PM

Have you disabled your pagefile?
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 5, 2009 1:28:37 AM

OK, so "Available: 200" would seems to indicate that the memory really is being used and it's not just a side effect of SuperFetch.

When you say the memory fills up while "the program is being installed", what program are you talking about? Are you really installing it, or has it already been installed and you're just trying to run it?

Zoron's question about the page file is a good one - if you tell us the "Commit (GB)" figures from Task Manager that will tell us how much page file you have (if you have 4GB of physical RAM and the 2nd number is, say 6, that means you have 2GB of pagefile space).

In the Task Manager window / Performance Tab, click on the "Resource Monitor..." button at the lower right, then click on the "Memory" tab of the Resource Monitor window that opens up.

Click on the "Working Set (KB)" and "Private (KB)" column headings in Resource Monitor to see which processes are using the most memory.
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December 5, 2009 4:14:25 PM

Ok guys, sorry for the long wait, but finally, I managed to take some screenshots. I'm not sure how to put the images though. Can I put them in the forum or do I have to have them on another site and give you the link? If I need another site, please give some suggestions.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 5, 2009 6:59:32 PM

I post my pictures to PhotoBucket and then link to them in various forums.
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December 6, 2009 10:33:15 AM

Thanks for the tip sminlal. Here they are. http://s758.photobucket.com/albums/xx224/elfwrath/
You will see there what's going on. I did this yesterday so it's pretty fresh. The problem happens during the installation and remains after, no problem during the actual running of the game. I haven't disabled my pagefile. The curious thing is that the Commit(MB) is actually quite similar at idle, during and between. Is it supposed ti be like that?
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 6, 2009 2:36:23 PM

It's very odd that the used memory is so high without a corresponding process using a lot of memory. I notice one of your screenshots shows a program being installed, so it seems like this isn't just a bare-bones Windows 7 system. I think what I would do is to start with just Windows 7, and then install each piece of software or hardware drivers separately, monitoring memory after each one, to see which one is causing the problem.
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December 6, 2009 5:11:07 PM

It's very strange to me too. I don't think it's just from Win 7, cause it didn't use to do this right from the start. I'll see how things evolve, maybe delete some programs and see the effect, at least until the next time I format and install a fresh copy. Thanks anyway for your help.
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December 8, 2009 10:05:20 PM

Having the same issue here. It just started happening, had W7 x64 for just a few days but it wasn't happening before. Total memory usage doesn't add up... I'll check in here if someone can help us know what's going on. Right nos, 3.6GB in use out of 5, and I'm doing nothing, and it doesn't add up to what each process is using. The one using the most is svchost and only 12MB. However, there are 11 instances of it (each with a different thing written between '()' ). What intrigues me is that adding up every process memory usage it doesn't get remotely near 3.6GB
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January 3, 2010 9:07:34 PM

RuiRui said:
Having the same issue here. It just started happening, had W7 x64 for just a few days but it wasn't happening before. Total memory usage doesn't add up... I'll check in here if someone can help us know what's going on. Right nos, 3.6GB in use out of 5, and I'm doing nothing, and it doesn't add up to what each process is using. The one using the most is svchost and only 12MB. However, there are 11 instances of it (each with a different thing written between '()' ). What intrigues me is that adding up every process memory usage it doesn't get remotely near 3.6GB


Are using any virtual drive software? such as poweriso or daemon tools if so try umounting any mounted drive or turning off the app itself, I was having the same problem and as soon as I did that my memory went back to normal usage at 20-30%
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September 27, 2011 12:55:15 AM

Thats the same thing with me!!! i have 12gb of ram and it says im using 2.55 and to 4.3 gb at IDLE!!!!!
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January 25, 2012 8:34:47 AM

i have the same issue windows is useing up to 2.16gb in the start and when i launch a game it goed up to 5.9 then my computer gets really slow and gets stuck what can i do???
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a b $ Windows 7
January 25, 2012 8:40:21 AM

Open a new thread on your problem, that is the best way to get helped : )
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a b $ Windows 7
January 25, 2012 8:40:32 AM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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