What happens when Win7 runs out of RAM


E

Eric

Still pursuing a general system slow-to-a-crawl problem that occurs
suddenly sometimes when a lot of IE windows are open. Since I had been
able to cure the problem a couple times by killing the Explorer task
(not IE) and restarting it, I had originally thought that it was
related to Explorer. But maybe not!

So back to basics: I know that Win7 should swap out to disk-based
virtual memory when it runs out of ram, but I'm not sure of the
circumstances and repercussions. Does anyone know about this?
Are there cases where Win7 never quite gets back to normal speed? Any
way to gauge when the virtual memory swap occurs?

The other mystery is that Process Explorer can look like only 70% of
ram is used when the slowdown occurs, and when the system slows, it
doesn't indicate any problems with CPU load, and doesn't flag any
process as using large amounts of CPU, despite the system being barely
responsive.
 
P

Paul

Eric said:
Still pursuing a general system slow-to-a-crawl problem that occurs
suddenly sometimes when a lot of IE windows are open. Since I had been
able to cure the problem a couple times by killing the Explorer task
(not IE) and restarting it, I had originally thought that it was
related to Explorer. But maybe not!

So back to basics: I know that Win7 should swap out to disk-based
virtual memory when it runs out of ram, but I'm not sure of the
circumstances and repercussions. Does anyone know about this?
Are there cases where Win7 never quite gets back to normal speed? Any
way to gauge when the virtual memory swap occurs?

The other mystery is that Process Explorer can look like only 70% of
ram is used when the slowdown occurs, and when the system slows, it
doesn't indicate any problems with CPU load, and doesn't flag any
process as using large amounts of CPU, despite the system being barely
responsive.
Windows 7 has Resource Monitor.

The Hard Faults column shows paging activity, but it might be in or out.
If the system was under memory pressure (i.e. chkdsk is running), and
then the pressure is removed, applications will "reinflate" by paging
in. So the hard faults column could be in or out, depending on what
was happening. On my laptop, a reading of 100 in that column, is
enough activity to affect performance. A reading of 2 or 3 a second in
the column, if present, doesn't hurt things. And in many cases
(i.e. chkdsk not running), you won't see any activity at all.

http://www.thebuzzmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/windows-7-resource-monitor-standby-ram-cache-500x375.png

Hmmm. After reading that paragraph, it almost suggests chkdsk as a
diagnostic tool :) As a memory subsystem behavior check (i.e.
demonstrate when a hungry program is loose on your system). Apparently,
chkdsk will use 15GB on a 16GB system, if the disk partition is
large enough to result in a significant runtime for a chkdsk run.

To test that, I made a 110GB partition with millions of small
files on it, to keep chkdsk busy for a while, while testing it.

If a chkdsk run doesn't look or feel the same as your problem,
then it probably isn't a memory/paging type issue.

Paul
 
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D

Dave-UK

Eric said:
Still pursuing a general system slow-to-a-crawl problem that occurs
suddenly sometimes when a lot of IE windows are open.
How many are 'a lot' ?
 
P

pjp

Still pursuing a general system slow-to-a-crawl problem that occurs
suddenly sometimes when a lot of IE windows are open. Since I had been
able to cure the problem a couple times by killing the Explorer task
(not IE) and restarting it, I had originally thought that it was
related to Explorer. But maybe not!

So back to basics: I know that Win7 should swap out to disk-based
virtual memory when it runs out of ram, but I'm not sure of the
circumstances and repercussions. Does anyone know about this?
Are there cases where Win7 never quite gets back to normal speed? Any
way to gauge when the virtual memory swap occurs?

The other mystery is that Process Explorer can look like only 70% of
ram is used when the slowdown occurs, and when the system slows, it
doesn't indicate any problems with CPU load, and doesn't flag any
process as using large amounts of CPU, despite the system being barely
responsive.
Your guess as good as mine. I notice the same thing often enough to
wonder but have concluded it's just one of the too many background
tasks/services doing it's thing, e.g. indexing etc.

I also notice things like open a folder with lots of avi files in it and
have it set to details and system slows noticeably while it's filling in
the demensions and length fields etc.

I peg it as nothing more than continued bloat and it ain't going to go
away. Even wife's system with 16 gigs ram on an I7 exhibits it.
 
C

Char Jackson

How many are 'a lot' ?
That's my question, as well, and if he thinks the problem is related
to IE, why is he killing the Explorer task? That makes no sense.
 
A

Ashton Crusher

Still pursuing a general system slow-to-a-crawl problem that occurs
suddenly sometimes when a lot of IE windows are open. Since I had been
able to cure the problem a couple times by killing the Explorer task
(not IE) and restarting it, I had originally thought that it was
related to Explorer. But maybe not!

So back to basics: I know that Win7 should swap out to disk-based
virtual memory when it runs out of ram, but I'm not sure of the
circumstances and repercussions. Does anyone know about this?
Are there cases where Win7 never quite gets back to normal speed? Any
way to gauge when the virtual memory swap occurs?

The other mystery is that Process Explorer can look like only 70% of
ram is used when the slowdown occurs, and when the system slows, it
doesn't indicate any problems with CPU load, and doesn't flag any
process as using large amounts of CPU, despite the system being barely
responsive.

Are you running Norton Anti-virus? My Vista System did what you are
describing and uninstalling Norton fixed it.
 
B

Bob I

Your guess as good as mine. I notice the same thing often enough to
wonder but have concluded it's just one of the too many background
tasks/services doing it's thing, e.g. indexing etc.

I also notice things like open a folder with lots of avi files in it and
have it set to details and system slows noticeably while it's filling in
the demensions and length fields etc.

I peg it as nothing more than continued bloat and it ain't going to go
away. Even wife's system with 16 gigs ram on an I7 exhibits it.
Definitely not normal behavior, what do the two systems have in common?
Frequently things like this can be caused by setting things up in a
manner that causes the system to struggle, like user wiping out
pre-fetch folders, or forcing re-indexing or a "favorite" anti-virus
that is a resource hog. For instance McAfee was a real pig and when it
kicked in things go to hell in a hand basket. Think about what is common.
 
K

KCB

Eric said:
Still pursuing a general system slow-to-a-crawl problem that occurs
suddenly sometimes when a lot of IE windows are open. Since I had been
able to cure the problem a couple times by killing the Explorer task
(not IE) and restarting it, I had originally thought that it was
related to Explorer. But maybe not!

So back to basics: I know that Win7 should swap out to disk-based
virtual memory when it runs out of ram, but I'm not sure of the
circumstances and repercussions. Does anyone know about this?
Are there cases where Win7 never quite gets back to normal speed? Any
way to gauge when the virtual memory swap occurs?

The other mystery is that Process Explorer can look like only 70% of
ram is used when the slowdown occurs, and when the system slows, it
doesn't indicate any problems with CPU load, and doesn't flag any
process as using large amounts of CPU, despite the system being barely
responsive.
Are these multiple IE tabs all running Flash content? I saw in your other
thread that Youtube was involved. One thing to check is that you have the
latest Flash version. Go here to see if you need to update:
http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player.html
 
E

Eric

Over a hundred. (Yes, I know..."Doc, it hurts when I do this...")
That's my question, as well, and if he thinks the problem is related
to IE, why is he killing the Explorer task? That makes no sense.
That was part of the mystery. I had been able to recover speed by
killing and then restarting Explorer. My guess was that it was an
obscure interaction with IE, or a reaction of Explorer to low ram.

In any case, I tried leaving the system alone for a few hours,
thinking that any temporary disk-swap could right itself, but such was
not the case.
 
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C

choro

What happens when Win7 runs out of RAM?

Why, the ewes will not get screwed, of course.

Unless the shepherd is willing. ;-)

-- choro
 
T

Tim Slattery

choro said:
What happens when Win7 runs out of RAM?
That's what the virtual memory system is all about.

Each process running in your machine thinks that it has its own memory
space, 4GB in a 32-bit system, 8 terabytes(!) for a 64-bit process in
a 64-bit OS. Of course there's never enough actual RAM for each
process to have that much physical memory to itself.

So the virtual memory system keeps track of everything: where each
chunk of virtual space for each process is, what needs to be read in
from the swap file, what needs to be written out to the swap file. The
individual processes know nothing about all this, it's entirely
handled in the OS.
 
C

Char Jackson

Over a hundred. (Yes, I know..."Doc, it hurts when I do this...")
I routinely have 40-80 web pages open and wouldn't be surprised in the
least if I had well over 100 open at times, but I use Firefox and that
may make a difference. My point is that your usage isn't totally
unusual.
That was part of the mystery. I had been able to recover speed by
killing and then restarting Explorer. My guess was that it was an
obscure interaction with IE, or a reaction of Explorer to low ram.
If you suspect IE is the culprit, just kill IE. Doesn't it reload your
open tabs when you restart it? I assume any modern browser would offer
to do that.

For the most part, you can see memory usage on a per-process basis by
looking at TaskManager. If IE is using more than you're comfortable
with you can kill it and restart it, which should at least temporarily
drop the usage down.
In any case, I tried leaving the system alone for a few hours,
thinking that any temporary disk-swap could right itself, but such was
not the case.
As expected.
 
E

Eric

I routinely have 40-80 web pages open and wouldn't be surprised in the
least if I had well over 100 open at times, but I use Firefox and that
may make a difference. My point is that your usage isn't totally
unusual.
There does seem to be one 'trigger point' at which the system suddenly
slows. Often does seem to be Youtube that sets that off. The other odd
thing is that Youtube sessions, just left on their own, will slowly
use up more and more ram until Task Mgr reports over 1GB used in a
single session. That doesn't happen on another system that I use a
lot. I thought maybe that was related to Kaspersky, which is loaded
only on the first system. But I've tried disabling Kaspersky to test
it, and it still occurs.
If you suspect IE is the culprit, just kill IE. Doesn't it reload your
open tabs when you restart it? I assume any modern browser would offer
to do that.
Yes, I've often just hit the Big Red Switch and then reloaded all the
web pages. Takes a long while though. And given that it seems related
to IE, the system will often slow up again in the course of reloaded
those pages. The surprise was that it does get back to normal
sometimes, despite reloading all the pages that supposedly triggered
the slowdown.

It did look to me like IE was the sole culprit, but since the entire
system slows, it's got to be a memory or resource-related thing with
global effects. In the course of trying to get to an open folder, I
finally decided to kill the Explorer process and restart. That
restored system response. I was surprised. Presented just as another
clue, not a definitive cause.
For the most part, you can see memory usage on a per-process basis by
looking at TaskManager. If IE is using more than you're comfortable
with you can kill it and restart it, which should at least temporarily
drop the usage down.


As expected.
I've been thinking that it could be an internal Win7 thing that hits a
wall and is unable to recover quickly. Aside from Kaspersky, I can't
think of anything else that would be interacting.
 
E

Eric

Windows 7 has Resource Monitor.
Thanks, Paul! I should have known about that. I just set up a desktop
shortcut, and I'll be checking that next time the problem occurs.

Thanks for the additional info as well. I've logged that for future
reference.
 
J

Just Outsourcing

"choro" wrote in message
What happens when Win7 runs out of RAM?

Why, the ewes will not get screwed, of course.

Unless the shepherd is willing. ;-)

-- choro

In all my 16 years of computer use, this is the first time I've ever heard
anyone ask what happens when a pc runs out of memory. Means technology is
progressing!!
 
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R

Rob

There does seem to be one 'trigger point' at which the system suddenly
slows. Often does seem to be Youtube that sets that off. The other odd
thing is that Youtube sessions, just left on their own, will slowly
use up more and more ram until Task Mgr reports over 1GB used in a
single session. That doesn't happen on another system that I use a
lot. I thought maybe that was related to Kaspersky, which is loaded
only on the first system. But I've tried disabling Kaspersky to test
it, and it still occurs.


Yes, I've often just hit the Big Red Switch and then reloaded all the
web pages. Takes a long while though. And given that it seems related
to IE, the system will often slow up again in the course of reloaded
those pages. The surprise was that it does get back to normal
sometimes, despite reloading all the pages that supposedly triggered
the slowdown.

It did look to me like IE was the sole culprit, but since the entire
system slows, it's got to be a memory or resource-related thing with
global effects. In the course of trying to get to an open folder, I
finally decided to kill the Explorer process and restart. That
restored system response. I was surprised. Presented just as another
clue, not a definitive cause.


I've been thinking that it could be an internal Win7 thing that hits a
wall and is unable to recover quickly. Aside from Kaspersky, I can't
think of anything else that would be interacting.
Youtube uses Adobe Flash, a resource hungry monster.
Are you using Win7x64 or 32-bit?
If 32, check you have the latest Flash player - older version may have
memory-usage bugs.
All below for Win7x64:
Are you running IE8 32 or 64-bit version (it has both) - same for IE9.
You need the 64-bit version of Flash if using 64-bit IE under 7x64:
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/000/6b3af6c9.html
It might be worth trying to run the 64-bit version of IE if you currently
use the 32-bit version as memory management should be far more efficient
(although the 64-bit versions do have some issues.)
HTH
 

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