My system is struggling to provide ram to my applications. For example, if I open IE8 with 6 tabs(my home pages) immediately after booting I receive the message that IE is not responding and a request to close the application. If I wait until after the system stabilizes at idle I am less likely to receive the application exits.
My system is an Acer Aspire with a q6600 running on a g31 chipset, with 2GB ram and a HD3650 with 1GB vram. Initially, with Vista(32 bit), the q6600 was able to soundly thrash the inefficiencies designed into the OS and typically ran with 700-900MB of free ram(according to task manager). The best I can remember is that I was also showing the 700-900MB of free ram after SP1 also.
But then my system went from having sub 30 second boot and logins to 4-5 minutes along with unexpected application exits. So, I began housekeeping, demon hunting(using McAfee and Spybot) and performing hardware diagnostics to no avail. I also suspected Catalyst Media Center(also have an ATI Theater 650) and the .Net 3.5 SP1 as I ran into problems with this update on one of my XP machines. But as this problem was not manifested unless I was running CMC on XP, I eventually discounted it as I use WMC on Vista(even though CMC is installed).
Task manager now shows that "physical memory usage" is typically 1.0GB to 1.15GB with "free physical Memory" as 8-60MB! The resource monitor shows hard page faults! What, with only 1GB used? So, I discovered that 767MB of ram was being shared for graphics purposes...
Aha! I began googling for ways to disable or limit shared memory... lol, The best this noob can determine is that it seems that MSFT has brilliantly hardcoded the shared memory setting regardless of other system resources. And further, that noobs shouldn't fret as the shared memory is freely available for use by other applications. Scratch my head, again, again... then why am I getting the hard page faults, application exits and slow boots.
I updated my drivers, and even though I have been physcologically conditioned to resist MSFT updates - I upgraded to SP2. More housecleaning... No help. So I considered using my Windows 7 upgrade, but it seems there are the same issues with shared memory, which seem to cause an affinity for hard page faults versus using "free" ram. If I keep opening applications and tabs it seems that the highest physical memory usage I have observed is 1.28GB… which I guess, WOULD be using at least .03GB of the shared ram. Is my ram in a 401K where I am punished for using it?
I guess I could upgrade to 4GB, but I have three other 2gb systems I was planning to upgrade to Windows 7... Silly me, I thought the HD3650/1GB would free system ram from having to be reserved to do graphics duty. If we won’t put bankers in jail for threatening the national security, I don’t suppose we would punish MSFT and their employees for owning stock in hardware companies…
I keep trying to tie down the exact time that I began having these issues, sorry, I can not say for sure. It was after SP1. I didn’t upgrade to SP2 until recently. It seems that there were updates for shared memory incorporated in SP1... The best guess I have is last fall, lol, about the time my pre-ordered Windows 7 upgrade was shipped… hmmm.
I am submitting this to the TH community in hopes that someone can point out the error of my logic(and conclusions) and point out the elegance of the WDDM implementation. Or, just maybe, there is a registry tweak to eliminate the affinity for hard page faults.