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Test for Low Memory

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How much memory do you have installed?


What operating system and service pack do you run?


Is it just slow when browsing, or is it also slow when opening folders and things like the control panel?


Does it also run slow if you boot into safe mode with networking and open a few things ? (including your browser)

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I'm running IE 8

Total physical mem: 512mb

Avail mem: 112.90

Total virtual mem: 2.00 GB


Avail. VIrtual mem: 1.96


I use Firefox as a browser


When first starting the computer it takes forever to load be it Firefox or email


Clicking on either does nothing . . . clicking several times eventually opens numerous windows of the same thing be it Firefox or Thunderbird.


Once it opens the system seems to function OK . . . but is very slow at times.


I went through a complete check up at Geeks to Go and nothing was found for viruses or spyware. The tech did say it was possible it was low memory.




When sta

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What is your operating system, XP?


So you have 512 ram (memory) it would be a good idea to add another 512 stick.


You could go to the crucial site and run the Crucial System Scanner Tool on the site which detects how much memory you have, what type it is, how much more you can add, and how much it would cost.



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1. More memory is always better.

2. Is your harddrive constantly busy writing and reading information ? Then I would advice to install a program called Cleanmem.



It makes sure the memory is used more efficiently. Especially with only 512 Mbytes of RAM. Install it and report whether it was helpful.

3. What are the (minimum) system requirements for the Firefox version you're using ?

4. do you know after installing which program your computer became a snail ?

Edited by Willy2
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After doing numerous tests for spyware/virus with no detections, my computer is still running slow. I think it's low memory. Is there a way to check for low memory?


Yes, there is!



Right-click my computer/Properties & see how much RAM you have.

CTRL + ALT + DEL to bring up task manager

Click performance tab & look at Commit (MB). If Commit = more than the RAM you have, your in need of more RAM.


Typically, 1 GB is a bare minimum, & many users find that 2, 3, or even more GB of RAM are needed.



I have 4 GB RAM on my 32 Bit 7, & I am using 3 of them right now.


* Example: My PC shows 3,040/6,652 in use. Don't be confused. Windows adds Virtual RAM (HDD) to use when it runs out of physical RAM. But HDD VR is SLOW!


512 MB is low. I usually have problems on computers with 512 MB RAM. I can make XP machines only use 136 to 300 MB RAM, but it doesn't last long if you add antivirus/Firefox/other apps that you use.


1 GB is a bare minimum, & if you can get 2 or 3 GB, you will never regret it!


Get the Crucial Memory Scanner from the link Hazelnut suggested, & let it tell you the max supported RAM for your system.

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I did the Tweaker Install


I also did "Crucial" and found I have 512 MB


System seems to be running a little quicker . . . but will have to wait until later to return. Have an important meeting to attend.


Will check back later

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My old XP laptop had 512 Mb of memory and 64 Mb was used as video(-memory). That would leave 448 Mb for other programs. Assuming you have the same setup, would mean, between 65% and 85% of your memory is used and then the system also maintains a file system cache (not reported by Task Manager (??)) that can grow (very) large. Yes, then your system can turn into a snail.



1. Install Cleanmem (CM, see above). CM reduces the memory usage of programs/processes (running in the background) every 15 (default) minutes and can (when enabled) collapse the system file cache, also freeing up memory. (CM also can tell you how large the file system cache is) Then Windows doesn't need to write data from the memory to the (slow) harddisk that often anymore. Install CM and don't enable anything except for the System tray Icon. It tells you what percentage of the memory is used. Then compare that with the icon says after you have enabled a number/all things. Place a shortcut to CM in one of the start up folders. Then you have a clean system when it has finished the start up procdure.

2. Buy more RAM. More memory is always better but I don't know if you are willing and able to pay for more RAM. And how memory your system can handle.


Was this helpful ?

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in the folder where CM is installed you'll find a program called "Mini Monitor.exe". Run it and a system tray icon pops up. I would recommend that you keep the system tray icon. Right click on the system tray icon and select "Monitor settings". Then another window pops up. That window give you access to all the features of CM.

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Enable the CM system tray icon in the "General Settings". It shows what percentage of the memory is used and how effective CM is.


I don't see "Enable the CM System Tray Icon" in General Settings


While trying to open something, "memory used" is reaching well over 400MB and climbing and the computer is S-L-O-W and still not opening an application!

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Regarding CleanMem in the tray. When I click on it it shows up indicating the memory and usage. But when I click on an application it disappears. I have to click on it again to appear. Is there to make it show constantly?


Computer seems a little better now, but every now and then takes a long time to get going or load something. The memory used indicator goes up and down quite a bit depending on what I'm doing.

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Memory usage of 400 Mb on a 512 Mb system is indeed massive. Which process is using the most memory (task manager) and how much ?

Perhaps you can disable one or more processes/programs that are started upon start up (with e.g. Piriform's Ccleaner) ? Perhaps some update programs are always running upon start up ? Then move those tasks to the Task Scheduler and let them run e.g. once every week or month.


Did you place a shortcut to CM in one of the start up folders ?


In the Mini Monitor settings windows/program: (right click on system tray icon and select "Monitor settings")

1. Select "Menu", "Start Cleanmem settings wizard". In the wizard, in step 1/4, enable "Clear System File Cache". Go through all the other steps, select whatever you want and close the wizard.

2. Tick the "Global hot key" box in "General" and select a hotkey. Also tick the box "Show percentage used ............". Then the system tray icon will show what the percentage of used memory is.

3. Go through all the settings windows and select/change what you want to select/change.

4. Apply the Global Hot Key (as selected under 2) ) and see what changes in memory usage (system tray icon).


In CM there's (under "Menu") an option "Show file cache info"". It tells you the current and the peak size of the file cache.

Edited by Willy2
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How do I determine which process is using the most memory?


CCleaner does run at start up but doesn't take much time.


I don't have anything scheduled for updates on start up that I know of.


AVAST updates on it's own.


I used the CM icon on the desk top to open it.


I'll check the settings for CM later when I'm on the home computer

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Memory usage: See Task Manager.


CM opens/runs upon startup and after it has performed its task, it closes again, it doesn't run in the background. It's kicked into action by Task Scheduler every 15 minutes. (but the user can change that time interval). CM's Mini Monitor can be instructed to keep running after start up.


Use Ccleaner to see which tasks/programs/update programs are run upon start up. Google "Ccleaner, Piriform, filehippo". Run the program, select "Tools", "Startup". Then under "Windows" or "Task Scheduler". Some update programs are always running while running them once a week or month would suffice. Ccleaner can be used to disable to a number of start up items.


A virus scanner can swallow A LOT OF system resources (e.g. CPU and memory), especially when one has only 512 Mb of memory. (Did you activate the Firewall ? did your system become a snail when you installed the virusscanner ?)


For me the choice is obvious: remove a number of heavy memory users (e.g. virus scanner (not recommended), Firefox), buy more memory or buy a new faster computer. Has anyone else other/better suggestions ?

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