Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I read: What do the Task Manager memory columns mean?. But I still don't understand what they say.

  • Is Working Set (Mem) exactly a size of process memory on RAM?
  • Is Paged Pool (VirtMem) exactly a size of process memory on swap file?
  • Is total process memory (address space usage) equal to sum of Mem and VirtMem?

Some info available at Wikipedia's Windows Task Manager page.

Seems that Task Manager is right tools to get info about amount of RAM pages owned by process (e.g. discard kernel and driver pages) and how many pages are swapped to disk. But I don't understand which column can show these values.

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 30 '11 at 16:04

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Some related superuser.com/questions/79618/… –  gavenkoa Aug 30 '11 at 18:38
Some related superuser.com/questions/27863/… –  gavenkoa Aug 30 '11 at 18:48
Some related superuser.com/questions/293957/… –  gavenkoa Aug 30 '11 at 18:54
Some related stackoverflow.com/questions/1984186/… (What is private bytes, virtual bytes, working set?) –  gavenkoa Aug 30 '11 at 19:27

1 Answer 1

It's not clear what you're asking. You ask about "total process memory" as if that were a well-defined term. It's really not. The types of memory measurements that seem natural to people who don't have a deep understanding of memory management basically don't exist on modern systems.

A more useful way to do this is for you to tell us what it is you are trying to figure out. We can tell you how to do that. People tend to say things like "I need to know how much memory a process is using", but that's largely meaningless. It's like asking how much space a person is using. Well, they share the bathrooms, should that count? And they have some stuff stored in the garage, but only because nobody is using it and they could throw that stuff away if anyone needed the space, should that count?

There's really no substitute for studying in some level of detail how modern operating systems manage memory, the distinction between physical and virtual memory, clean versus dirty pages, and so on. That way, you can make sense of the numbers the system actually can provide you.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for clarification. I update question. –  gavenkoa Aug 30 '11 at 17:57
"Size of process memory on RAM" is not a well-defined concept. For example, if a program reads a 1GB file and that file is still in RAM, does that count as the size of that process? What if another process is accessing that file too? (Do you think the OS even keeps track of which process read which page of the file?) RAM generally doesn't belong to a process, it all belongs to the OS. –  David Schwartz Aug 30 '11 at 18:12
OK. Agree. Size of process memory on RAM is not a well-defined concept. I can not ask more precisely as don't know related terminology... I go reading books about memory management and OS concepts. –  gavenkoa Aug 30 '11 at 18:20
Sorry to not give you a quick answer, but if it helps, reading about memory management and getting a deeper understanding will pay off over and over. I promise. –  David Schwartz Aug 30 '11 at 18:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.