Ghost Ram Usage


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I'm having an issue that is stumping me completely:

I just had an update today, and I log back in to my computer. I open up Task Manager immediately, like always, because I like to watch what my computer boots up (I'm kinda paranoid like that... Malware fried my old xp.)

So while I watch the files open up, I notice that it says I'm at 55% ram usage, which is weird since I have 5 gigs of ram, and I just have winamp and firefox open...

So I close firefox and winamp, thinking that it's just FF memory leaking like a busted hose... But I go back, and it still says 42% ram usage, so I check the levels. It's running about 2.3 GB of ram usage, with nothing but the desktop running (no add-ons)

So I go back to processes and add up my kbs of ram usage in total, and it all nicely adds up to around 1 gigabyte less than what the computer is using, according to the performance tab...

Any ideas what this non-process window visible RAM leach could be? It's roughly 1 gigabyte, given around a 100 megabyte variance either way.
 
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Figure out the programs which you're running because some of them uses cache(RAM memory) to store temporary data. The easy to find it by right clicking on the process consuming most of the RAM memory, which open a programs window that were using the process.
Later then, you can unistall those if they were not used since a long time.
 

Digerati

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Is the "Show processes from all users" check box checked in TM?

Note after updates (and reboots) a lot of background housecleaning is done. What happens to your RAM usage if you walk away for a few minutes, then come back? Does it settle down to an "idle" amount?

Also, have you scanned for malware?
 
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I have been running the windows 7 standard antivirus/antimalware: MSMP

Yes, show all processes is ticked, and it's still been going at 1 gig above the total for the displayed usage in the processes tab.

Like for instance, I paused it and it now says that my physical memory total is 5119, cached is 1395, available is 2064, and free is 700. Kernel memory is shoing 624 pages, 236 nonpaged. And system is listing 20699 handles, 853 threads, 72 processes, up time of 1:04:51:40 and a commit (mb) of 2758/9212.

Also to note, I am using ready boost on two 8 gig flash drives.

Now, after adding up my processes tab memory usage, I have just now realized that there are multiple memory types available for checking: working set, peak working set, working set delta, private working set, commit size, and then the paged and nonpaged pools...

Okay, just looking at working set (memory) which I'm guessing is the overall use of memory, not just on my active user but the whole computer (since I have only 1 user anyways)... And now it adds up to aproximately 1.5 gigs of use, since once I get to the 15,880 Kb it's only at 1.244064331054688 Gigabytes roughly (divided by 1024 twice)

Sooo... I'm now looking at around 1.5 gigabytes of ram that's not showing up in processes with show processes from all users checked. Added all up, they are roughly 1.633 Gb of ram, with numbers rounded to the nearest thousand, then divided by 1000 twice to get to GB from KB. So, from ~1.633GB showing up in processes, to 2.98GB showing up in the performance tab. Any ideas as to why this is?
 

TrainableMan

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You haven't filled in your computer specs so could you tell us a few things about your computer ...
Are you running 32- or 64-bit W7?
How much RAM is actually in the computer?
Do you use on-board or do you have a video card? make/model if you use a video card please?
 
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I updated the system information, sorry about that! The no process memory use is still active, running 76 processes, only 3 of which are more than 150,000 K of ram, most are 16,000 K or less... and the computer is still saying that I'm burning nearly 3 gigs of ram. Also, just to reiterate; I am currently using my USB-2 ports for 2 8 gig flash drives (using both for ready boost)
 

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I don't understand your "Other info" information on your RAM. We don't need to know the maximum, we need to know what you have. So please state what you have for RAM. In the Other info, you can add your flash drive/readyboost info.

But to that, I would pull those flash drives and see what it says.

You said in your opening post, you have 5Gb of RAM. That is an odd amount. How is that configured? I note here it says that board supports up to 4Gb.

FTR, I too have 76 processes running and I am using about 2.3Gb of RAM.
 
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I have a max of 8 gigs ram, sorry about that... It copied poorly...

My setup is 2 sticks of 2 gigs, and a 1 gig that my friend didn't need anymore. All of them are operating at the same speed, so I haven't had any issues with it.
 

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It's the word "max" that is confusing. When you buy a computer it usually says something like 6GB, max of 16 and that means there is only 6GB in it but the slots allow you to replace that and put in a max of 16 but you still only have 6. So people don't normally say I have a max of 8GB, they say "I have 8GB of RAM installed".

So you have 5GB installed (2 x 2 + 1) and the max isn't important unless you want to upgrade.
 
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Hi Trevor Smith,

I suggest you not worry about your RAM usage. Windows 7 does a much better job of using memory to increase your system's performance. It tracks what you do with your computer and when you do it. This allows apps to be preloaded in cache in anticipation of what you may actually run.

The Task Manager is good for a quick snap shot, but use the Resource Monitor for in-depth information. The memory tab shows physical memory usage. Most of it is used for caching. This is good, memory should be used, not just laying there. As long as your 'in use' memory usage is less than your 'standby' memory usage, there should not be any memory related problems.

Also, do not turn off the virtual memory (swap file). Most apps (and the OS) want to see it available, even if very little of it is actually used. You can set it to a fixed size (equal to your installed RAM) if you want, to keep the OS from resizing it on the fly.

You probably don't need the two 8 gig flash drives to supplement your installed RAM, 5GB is more than enough unless you are doing heavy multitasking or running video editing apps (or other apps that will try to use all available memory). Winamp, for instance, will try to use a lot of memory if you use views that display multiple hi-res album art images (since Winamp is a 32-bit app, this could lead to Winamp crashing in extreme cases).

That said, 70 + processes running just from boot-up is a lot. You probably have services and/or start-up (notification tray) apps running that you don't really need to have running all the time. Again, I would not worry about that, if you are happy with your system's performance. Disabling, or manual start-up of, the wrong things could cause more problems than the slight increase in performance is worth.
 
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Digerati

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I am afraid I don't entirely agree with the above. When the user is idle, and applications (even if opened) are just sitting there, 42% RAM utilization is high - high enough to wonder (if not worry) about why it is that high. Is it due to malware activity? A memory leak? Or is something else hanging?

As I noted above, I have 72 processes running (which is NOT high for W7/W8) and only use 25% of my 8Gb when idle. And I have a lot of stuff going on and up on my two monitors. That includes an opened 41-page Word doc, streaming Pandora, several opened IE9 sessions, each with multiple tabs, MailWasher Pro, PSI, WinPatrol, CoreTemp - and of course my anti-malware (MSE) and Windows Firewall.

I do not recommend setting the page file to a fixed size. This was appropriate and often necessary with XP when disk space was limited and more expensive. But as noted, Windows 7 is MUCH better at memory management, and that includes managing the page file. Therefore, with Windows 7 and 8, let Windows manage it. If disk space is limited, delete some programs or buy a bigger drive. Or better yet, toss in a small SSD and move the PF to it. SSDs are ideally suited for PFs.
 
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I am afraid I don't entirely agree with the above. When the user is idle, and applications (even if opened) are just sitting there, 42% RAM utilization is high - high enough to wonder (if not worry) about why it is that high. Is it due to malware activity? A memory leak? Or is something else hanging?
Those are good points, but it also depends on the apps that are sitting idle. A browser with a few tabs open, along with a few other major apps, could easily cause 42% utilization with 4 or 5 GB of RAM installed. I have 4 GB and multitask a lot and see this level of utilization fairly often.

As I noted above, I have 72 processes running (which is NOT high for W7/W8) and only use 25% of my 8Gb when idle. And I have a lot of stuff going on and up on my two monitors. That includes an opened 41-page Word doc, streaming Pandora, several opened IE9 sessions, each with multiple tabs, MailWasher Pro, PSI, WinPatrol, CoreTemp - and of course my anti-malware (MSE) and Windows Firewall.
I may have misread the other post, but I did say processes running after boot-up. After disabling some unneeded services and switching others to manual and removing some notification tray apps, I have 44 processes running after boot-up. 13 of these are not part of the OS install package and only 1 of them is a Microsoft product (AV, keyboard & mouse utilities, firewall support utilities, etc).

Immediately after my "Action Center" flag is displayed, I usually see from 30% to 36% RAM utilization. The variance is due to background tasks that may or may not have been ran (I do have the Search service enabled with limited indexing options). It is interesting to view the "Peak Working Set (Memory)" in the Task Manager. Some stuff (mainly groups of services indicated by svchost files) use up to 90 times more RAM during the boot-up process than they normally use after that.

I do not recommend setting the page file to a fixed size. This was appropriate and often necessary with XP when disk space was limited and more expensive. But as noted, Windows 7 is MUCH better at memory management, and that includes managing the page file. Therefore, with Windows 7 and 8, let Windows manage it. If disk space is limited, delete some programs or buy a bigger drive. Or better yet, toss in a small SSD and move the PF to it. SSDs are ideally suited for PFs.
I agree that it is not necessary to set the page (swap) file to a fixed size with newer versions of Windows, especially if you have enough RAM installed so that it is normally not used much and your storage drive is kept at least 1/3 empty. I was just suggesting it will not hurt. It helps keep fragmentation down on smaller drives. Although fragmentation is not much of a problem with the huge drives now available (as long as you don't fill them up). :)

Furthermore, if you have more than 1 storage drive, it is not a bad idea to place a page (swap) file on each one. I use an OS controlled file (with a relatively small max size) on my OS drive and large fixed size ones (equal to my installed RAM) on my other drives. It provides for slight performance gains when the OS is able to alternately and/or simultaneously read/write to more than 1 page (swap) file.

I strongly disagree with using a SSD for page (swap) files. They are expensive and have a limited, thou large, number of rewrite cycles. It is a waste to use them for files (especially small ones) that are frequently rewritten, imo.
 
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Digerati

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I strongly disagree with using a SSD for page (swap) files. They are expensive and have a limited, thou large, number of rewrite cycles. It is a waste to use them for files (especially small ones) that are frequently rewritten, imo
Sorry, but that logic is flawed. See, SSD FAQs, Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs? and note the following FAQ,

Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs?

Yes. Most pagefile operations are small random reads or larger sequential writes, both of which are types of operations that SSDs handle well.

In looking at telemetry data from thousands of traces and focusing on pagefile reads and writes, we find that
•Pagefile.sys reads outnumber pagefile.sys writes by about 40 to 1,
•Pagefile.sys read sizes are typically quite small, with 67% less than or equal to 4 KB, and 88% less than 16 KB.
•Pagefile.sys writes are relatively large, with 62% greater than or equal to 128 KB and 45% being exactly 1 MB in size.​

In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD.
I was just suggesting it [manually setting PF size] will not hurt.
Ah, but it can if not set up properly, and that is the problem with recommending that action. FTR, I used to ALWAYS set a fixed size with XP. But with Windows 7, I never do.

You are correct that sufficient free disk space is critical for proper PF operation, but setting a fixed PF size is not a fix, but temporary "band-aid" patch. The fix is to uninstall or move space hogging programs, or buy more space.
 
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Sorry, but that logic is flawed. See, SSD FAQs, Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs? and note the following FAQ,
There is divided opinion and studies on this issue. You favor using SSD for page files and I don't. No problem.

Ah, but it can if not set up properly,
That is the case for anything and there are usually alternate ways to do anything. It is true that some ways are easier to perform than others and less accident prone. I think users should know the options and choose those they are most comfortable with.

The Vista/Windows 7 defaults are fine and better than what Windows XP provided. But they are designed for the general cases and can be tweaked for particular cases.

The novice or casual users are best served by just leaving things alone.
[/QUOTE]
 

Digerati

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There is divided opinion and studies on this issue
It is not a matter of opinion. I provided a link to factual evidence. Choosing to ignore facts does not validate flawed logic, or opinions not based on fact. Not in technical discussions. The "fact" (not my opinion) remains. SSDs are ideally suited to host page files.

And if you think about it for just a second, and remember that more and more notebooks and PCs are coming with SSDs only, it would not be good if these Notebooks stopped working because of too many PF hits on their only drive.

The novice or casual users are best served by just leaving things alone.
Agreed. And so are advanced users, unless they really do their homework first. The advantage of letting Windows manage it is that Windows will adjust the PF size as needed - much in near real time. That means Windows can adjust over time appropriately if the user changes their routines. Setting a fixed size may create the perfect size today, but it may not be right 3 months, 6 months, or a week down the road.
But they are designed for the general cases and can be tweaked for particular cases
Yes, but "general cases" is pretty much the middle 90% of all users out there. Only the extreme 5% on either end may benefit from custom tweaking. And again, that may need to be tweaked again next week.
 
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And if you think about it for just a second, and remember that more and more notebooks and PCs are coming with SSDs only, it would not be good if these Notebooks stopped working because of too many PF hits on their only drive.
If you think about it, you may come to see that the industry is now all about selling product. The latest 'whiz-bang' that will keep people buying. No longer are products built too last. How many mobile devices are sold with batteries that discharge quickly, never fully recharge (even when following the 'correct' procedure), and even worse can not be replaced by the user? How many have other non-user serviceable parts that barely last past the 'normal' warranty period?

I have been using and working with PC computers since the mid eighties and things have changed. Their abilities have increased several hundred fold, but their durability has gone the other way, along with the change to a consumer based economy.

Yes, but "general cases" is pretty much the middle 90% of all users out there. Only the extreme 5% on either end may benefit from custom tweaking. And again, that may need to be tweaked again next week.
There is no 'set and forget' in this case. If a user changes their apps and/or 'habits' frequently, then the appropriate tweaks also need adjustment as frequently. I admit I'm like a car enthusiast, I spend almost as much time tweaking my system (and looking for better, mostly free, apps), as I spend using it for work and enjoyment. I have a limited budget for hardware, so I'm all about maximizing what I have.
 

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How many mobile devices are sold with batteries that discharge quickly, never fully recharge (even when following the 'correct' procedure), and even worse can not be replaced by the user? How many have other non-user serviceable parts that barely last past the 'normal' warranty period?
Come on! Now you are trying to obfuscate the issue and rationalize your opinion with illogical facts that have nothing to do with this topic. How many people keep buying the same brand if their products keep failing days after the warranty runs out? I guess one, anyway. :(

You are absolutely wrong to suggest consumer electronics don't last. By far the vast majority of consumer electronics are replaced because their technologies have become obsolete, not because they have failed.

I have been using and working with PC computers since the mid eighties and things have changed.
Well, I will not hold your youth and lack of experience against you. ;) And BTW, "using and working with" does not make you an expert. I have been using and working with motor vehicles since 1967. I have even studied mechanics and I know how internal combustion engines, transmissions, hydraulic systems and electric motors work. But I am not an expert auto-mechanic.

You can follow the link in my sig to decide if I might know something about electronics and electronic hardware, including computing and networking equipment, and their repair.

Their abilities have increased several hundred fold
Right. So accept the fact that SSDs today are much more capable than 1st generation SSDs of just a few years ago. That is why I read. Because things that were true just 5 years ago, may no longer be true. Like SSD MTBF rates.

but their durability has gone the other way, along with the change to a consumer based economy.
Wrong! Certainly, there are cheap, poorly designed and constructed examples in every category - PSUs immediately come to mind. But to suggest the major players (Samsung, Corsair, ASUS, Gigabyte, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, etc.) are all making cheap stuff that does not last is simply wrong.

There is no 'set and forget' in this case. If a user changes their apps and/or 'habits' frequently, then the appropriate tweaks also need adjustment as frequently.
Wrong again! If you "set" it to let Windows manage it, you can "forget" it. That is exactly why I said if you manually set a size, you may need to go back next week and tweak and set it again.

I say again, more and more notebooks and PCs are coming with SSDs only. Do not ignore that fact! Notebook makers are not going to do that if SSDs fail prematurely and users lose all their data.

along with the change to a consumer based economy.
Huh? Heard of Free Enterprise? And "change to"? This is a consumer based economy. If consumers are not spending money, companies are not making money, not investing in R&D and not paying taxes - or growing.

Companies don't make it without repeat and satisfied customers.

@Trevor - I apologize for my part in running this thread OT. For my part, I give it back to you.
 
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Hi Digerati,

I never claimed to be an expert. I only offered a comment based on 30 years of observations and helping those who can't afford high end gear or replacing their stuff every year or two. My personal gear, while not high end, is very durable. So far, I have not had to replace anything due to failure, but I know plenty of people who have not been as fortunate. PC technology does turn over faster than almost any other kind, but there is no pressing need for most people to stay on the cutting edge.

I also apologize for straying OT.

One last on topic comment:

25% of 8GB is 40% of 5GB. If the 72 processes you and Trevor Smith are running are close to the same types of things, then the memory being used (25% in your case, 42% in his) is equivalent. So I repeat, if the physical memory in use is less than that in standby, as reported by the Resource Monitor, then there is nothing to worry about.
 

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Trevor hasn't responded for two weeks now, I believe he has likely moved on. I would encourage the rest of you to do the same.
 
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Digerati

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I never claimed to be an expert. I only offered a comment based on 30 years of observations and helping those who can't afford high end gear or replacing their stuff every year or two. My personal gear, while not high end, is very durable. So far, I have not had to replace anything due to failure, but I know plenty of people who have not been as fortunate.
I am reminded of the Honda mechanic who sees nothing but broken down Hondas all day. Even though his own Honda is trouble free, being in the trenches, he does not see "the real world" and begins to think his machine is the exception, and the world is full of broken down Hondas. But the rest of us understand and know the reality, and that is the vast majority of Hondas are running just fine.

Sorry again, Trevor. Please don't let distractions while you are away keep you from coming back. This is still your thread.
 

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