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RAM Usage

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a b B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2011 12:14:40 AM

Hey all,
I've noticed my system has been using more RAM than usual lately. I have 9GB, and when idle (right after boot up) it consistently uses half of it (4.5+ GB).

The only constantly running utilities that I installed are Dropbox, AVG Free, Steam, and MSI Afterburner. The rest are system processes. These never drew this much RAM previously, so I don't know what changed.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what is using all of my memory?

More about : ram usage

January 18, 2011 1:01:56 AM

I don't think you're in the right forum for this - this is for assembling systems at home :) .

There are a lot of causes for this, but usually it's a result of an installed program. First, I would do some general housecleaning, I use Microsoft security essentials for AV, Malwarebytes for spyware removal, and ccleaner for the rest of my housecleaning but use what you have. Install windows updates if you've been putting them off and reboot. Run your anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc. Remove junk files using windows disk cleanup, remove programs that are no longer needed, and disable services and programs you don't need via msconfig>services and msconfig>startup respectively. This is a good idea in general, and if it fixes your problem while doing it, all the better.

Task manager>processes (click show processes from all users) would give you a hint if a program is causing this. If nothing seems to be taking up that much memory, try a clean boot http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 . If a clean boot fixes the issue, it's pretty easy to deduce which service/startup item is causing the problem. Remember to go to msconfig>general and select normal startup after to return things to normal.

If that doesn't work, my next guess would be malufunctioning hardware. See if your fans are still working, maybe test the memory with memtest http://www.memtest86.com/ for a cycle or three.

Edit: By the way - what are you using to check this? Windows task manager?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2011 1:26:02 AM

There isn't a better forum for this question (I'm always on TH Forums), and this is technically a question related to a homebuilt system.

Anyway, I've always updated W7 (64 bit, BTW), and I run AVG about once a week (though I never get anything; I only download things from school websites on a regular basis).

I uninstalled several programs I never use, but none of them have background processes. I'll give the clean boot a shot tomorrow.

My hardware seems to be fine; I've run memtest previously and hadn't had any problems.

Yes, I'm using Windows Task Manager, under the Performance tab, to check the RAM usage. My system used to only draw ~0.5GB, so this jump seems a bit excessive.
Related resources
January 18, 2011 1:49:53 AM

"There isn't a better forum for this question"
Software>Windows 7?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2011 2:04:22 AM

Did you add more RAM recently? 0.5GB seems surprisingly low, you must have it pretty stripped down of idle processes. When i added 4GB more, my RAM usage jumped up another 0.75GB at idle, but my Page File usage dropped which was nice, so while you might be using half of it, if its saving you from calling on Page Files often it might be worth it.

@Deltadevil, the forums that far down arent well traveled and you will find the system forum is quite well rounded in regards to both hardware and software.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2011 1:55:43 PM

@hunter315: Yeah, I added the 3GB kit in my signature about a month ago, but I'm not sure if I checked my RAM usage immediately afterward (though, my computer was off from Dec. 18- Jan 8th, so in reality I've used the RAM for about a week and a half).

The 0.5GB was somewhat of an estimate; it was that low when I first put together my system, and crept up to about 1GB when running everything but AVG Free. I think that and maybe a few hidden processes may be driving that usage up.

@anort3: I'll give those programs a shot. As for defragging, what should I use on my SSD? I know standard hard drive defragmenting is damaging to the SSD.

@deltadevil: I considered it a W7 issue, but it also could potentially be a hardware-related issue as well. These issues are always hard to debug *sigh*
a c 82 B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2011 4:15:16 PM

boiler1990 said:
@hunter315: Yeah, I added the 3GB kit in my signature about a month ago, but I'm not sure if I checked my RAM usage immediately afterward (though, my computer was off from Dec. 18- Jan 8th, so in reality I've used the RAM for about a week and a half).

The 0.5GB was somewhat of an estimate; it was that low when I first put together my system, and crept up to about 1GB when running everything but AVG Free. I think that and maybe a few hidden processes may be driving that usage up.

@anort3: I'll give those programs a shot. As for defragging, what should I use on my SSD? I know standard hard drive defragmenting is damaging to the SSD.

@deltadevil: I considered it a W7 issue, but it also could potentially be a hardware-related issue as well. These issues are always hard to debug *sigh*



I missed that you have an SSD ....you do not want to defrag it. The other programs I mentioned will still help though. I have to go with hunter315 though, it is probably a matter of having more RAM for the system to use. I didn't think to ask if you had just upgraded to more RAM, but the more you have the more Windows will use at idle.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 18, 2011 7:52:00 PM

Ok maybe that's the issue. I'm typing this from my desktop, and I just booted up normally and am only drawing 1.73GB with all of the processes minus Steam (it only drew another 0.25GB).

It's usually after longer periods of time that I notice the usage go up, so my thought just now was that it could be caching some of the memory.

I'll still take a look at those programs, since it never hurts to clean out the cobwebs every once in a while.


Thanks for all of the help!
a b B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2011 3:52:10 PM

I used CCleaner and Auslogics' Registry Cleaner. I've been running the disk defrag for over 4 hours now, and it's just over 50% complete.

Other than that, my RAM usage has dropped to below 2GB, even when using my computer for several hours. I wonder if AVG just randomly decided to do a scan or something...?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2011 3:58:43 PM

avg does do some background sweeps, it also has the scan components for e-mail and other programs that will run. I have used both avg and avast, which are both free and very good. I tended to stick with avast because it seems to use less in the way of resources and I like that format of it's setup screens a little more than avg's. You can try switch off some of those other system monitoring components and see if that lowers the ram usage.
!