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Nasty problem with windows memory usage (periodically goes to 100+%)

Last response: in Windows 7
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March 13, 2012 4:45:15 PM

Hello, I've recently started experiencing a pretty nasty periodic event while using my computer. I've got 4 GB of RAM, and using Windows 7 64bit. My normal day to day memory usage is usually 1.2GB-1.8GB, that's using firefox, chrome etc... However recently I've started getting these events where for a couple of minutes at a time (sometimes until I close a particular program), my system will be using every single available piece of memory. Not only does my memory usage reach 100%, my other programs (firefox, chrome, skype etc...) that are open start getting 'squeezed' out; I'm guessing they are getting relocated to the stack. For example, usually my firefox is running on about 150-400MB of memory. During these incidents and for some time after it gets squashed to 18MB, with the same number of tabs open etc... When the event ends, memory usage drops down to 900mb in one instant. What's also interesting is that my CPU usage drops down while this is happening, in fact during these periods it's quite lower than usual (usage doesn't seem to go above 10%).

I've tried finding out what this is, however on task manager and resource monitor, there is no program that is using that much memory. Basically, on the performance tab, it's telling me I'm using 3.9GB of memory, on the processes tab the sum of the memory used by all the programs there can't be more than 500mb (in fact during these fits the total goes down as the programs gets squashed out).

So from that, at least from what I know, I'm guessing either it's a virus (I hope not and doubt it, I don't dl random stuff and I got Kaspersky ISS), or it's my Windows 7 OS which doesn't show up on processes. So I was wondering, is it possible that this is Windows 7? I've never heard of this kind of bug, and I haven't been messing with setting recently, but I can't think what else it could be. Has anyone ever heard or experiences anything like this?

Also: I've noticed that these events can sometimes get triggered by particular events. For example, so far, everytime I've opened DivX, this has happened, and it also lasted exactly until I closed DiVX; however it's not exclusively linked to DivX. It happened once when I was just watching youtube, and another time when I was searching my disk for a particular file.

tl;dr: Periodic memory usage triggered by certain unrelated programs that cause my computer to seemingly try its best to use every single available byte of RAM (and probably stack as well). Lasts for 1-10 minutes.
a b $ Windows 7
March 13, 2012 8:15:38 PM

morphius2 said:
Hello, I've recently started experiencing a pretty nasty periodic event while using my computer. I've got 4 GB of RAM, and using Windows 7 64bit. My normal day to day memory usage is usually 1.2GB-1.8GB, that's using firefox, chrome etc... However recently I've started getting these events where for a couple of minutes at a time (sometimes until I close a particular program), my system will be using every single available piece of memory. Not only does my memory usage reach 100%, my other programs (firefox, chrome, skype etc...) that are open start getting 'squeezed' out; I'm guessing they are getting relocated to the stack. For example, usually my firefox is running on about 150-400MB of memory. During these incidents and for some time after it gets squashed to 18MB, with the same number of tabs open etc... When the event ends, memory usage drops down to 900mb in one instant. What's also interesting is that my CPU usage drops down while this is happening, in fact during these periods it's quite lower than usual (usage doesn't seem to go above 10%).

I've tried finding out what this is, however on task manager and resource monitor, there is no program that is using that much memory. Basically, on the performance tab, it's telling me I'm using 3.9GB of memory, on the processes tab the sum of the memory used by all the programs there can't be more than 500mb (in fact during these fits the total goes down as the programs gets squashed out).

So from that, at least from what I know, I'm guessing either it's a virus (I hope not and doubt it, I don't dl random stuff and I got Kaspersky ISS), or it's my Windows 7 OS which doesn't show up on processes. So I was wondering, is it possible that this is Windows 7? I've never heard of this kind of bug, and I haven't been messing with setting recently, but I can't think what else it could be. Has anyone ever heard or experiences anything like this?

Also: I've noticed that these events can sometimes get triggered by particular events. For example, so far, everytime I've opened DivX, this has happened, and it also lasted exactly until I closed DiVX; however it's not exclusively linked to DivX. It happened once when I was just watching youtube, and another time when I was searching my disk for a particular file.

tl;dr: Periodic memory usage triggered by certain unrelated programs that cause my computer to seemingly try its best to use every single available byte of RAM (and probably stack as well). Lasts for 1-10 minutes.


For what its worth, I use process manager (sysinternals) which shows much more info, and may be of help.
March 14, 2012 3:56:10 PM

ksiemb said:
For what its worth, I use process manager (sysinternals) which shows much more info, and may be of help.


I downloaded it and again it does not show the problem. There is no way the sum of the memory usage depicted in the process manager adds up to anywhere near 4 GB. The only difference is that usually when I'm in one of these full memory lockdowns, there's an instance of svchost which goes to about 150Mb usage; everything else pretty much stays the same and in fact decreases.
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