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I'm sure everyone has experienced it - if you leave a computer on too long, every once in a while, it needs a fresh reboot. I have a laptop, and I only hibernate it, but every week or two, I'm going to need to restart otherwise it will just slow down (usually when windows update makes me restart)

I was wondering though... why? What are some of the things that occur that eat up memory that can seemingly not be freed unless I reboot the OS.

In addition, are there any programs I can get that can free up this memory and keep the computer alive for longer? Preferably for windows 7.

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just Windows? i'm sure it happens on other OSs through right? Even my iphone requires a fresh re-boot every now and then. – RoboShop Feb 22 '11 at 6:52
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This has nothing to do with Windows itself (any more - once upon it time it was true). My Windows machine has been running for nearly 4 months solid now and is doing fine. I haven't even needed to restart for the last few rounds of monthly windows updates. This has everything to do with programs running in Windows - often bad device drivers.

If you genuinely have a memory leak, you'll be able to see it (and the culprit process) in the task manager, and should be able to improve things by restarting the process.

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So how to make PC fast without shutting down/rebooting? – Santosh Kumar Aug 25 '12 at 6:23
Sometimes you can't. Most things you can just kill the offending process, but some things, like device drivers, are integrated with the kernel and might not even show in the list. – Joel Coehoorn Jan 3 at 3:35

Some program may be buggy and may leak Windows handles or memory.

You could verify which, by using Task Manager, Processes tab, menu entry View / Select Columns.

Select the following columns : Peak Working Set, Memory (Private Working Set), Paged Pool, Handles, USER Objects, GDI Objects, I/O Reads, I/O Writes.

By clicking twice on a column one can sort the processes by ascending order. This is the simplest way to find out which processes are most using these resources.

The Resource Monitor is another and a more sophisticated tool.
See Taking A Closer Look At Windows Resource Monitor.

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