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I have to monitor my computer physical memory (RAM) usage constantly when I'm working, because sometimes I will work with multiple applications (e.g Sublime Text, Photoshop, MS Visual Studio and Chrome with 10+ tabs open) - and I want to know what's the current RAM usage so I won't push it too far.

Currently, in order to monitor my computer's RAM usage, that's what I do:
Open Windows Task Manager → Go to Performance tab → Watch Memory box / Physical Memory: (Usage Percentage) at the bottom:

Windows Task Manager

However it's not convenient. Sometimes I will open 5 new tabs in Chrome and forget to monitor my RAM because the Windows Task Manager is minimized - only to find that something is going to crash because I'm using too much RAM, followed by my PC shutting down Chrome to free some memory.

What I want is to constantly view and monitor my computer's RAM usage in all of my application, including my browser.

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> so I won't push it too far. Unused RAM is wasted RAM, just like bandwidth. > something is going to crash because I'm using too much RAM Have you modified the swapfile settings or are low on space? You should be able to use as much memory as necessary via virtual-memory. When you use too much, Windows should automatically just page in/out from/to disk without issue unless you have manually limited virtual memory or are out of space on the pagefile volume(s). –  Synetech Oct 2 '12 at 3:54
I have disabled pagefile because my virtual memory is out of space. It's a temporary issue, because I know I will have to do something about it soon, but I preferred to disable pagefile because otherwise it would fill up my C: drive to the last byte, causing my PC to reboot. –  amiregelz Oct 2 '12 at 9:32
Ah, well then yes, you may have problems of you try to use too much memory. –  Synetech Oct 2 '12 at 15:52
You'll notice when you're close to the limit due to more swapping Furthermore, 16 GiB RAM cost around 70 EUR currently so there is no excuse to have too little RAM. –  Joey Oct 27 '12 at 14:31
Synetech: Unused RAM is used by the OS for caching recently accessed files to avoid a HDD round-trip, it's also used by the prefetcher. So there's no such thing as unused RAM. –  Joey Oct 27 '12 at 14:32

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are multiple software written for such a solution. Just a few after a quick google search:

And one that is quite light weight (but doesn't support any Windows version newer than XP):

Either way there are scores of these programmed for all kinds of specifics. So go ahead and choose any one of them. Also I don't think it would be a bad idea to go ahead and upgrade your RAM, 4GB is quite little.

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The first two look nice but I don't think they show the percentage and I need it to really stand out all the time. The third one is not compatible with any Windows version newer than XP. –  amiregelz Oct 2 '12 at 9:58
Actually the second one (RAM CPU Taskbar for Windows 7) is great (very clear), I just wish it would also show the RAM usage percentage. –  amiregelz Oct 2 '12 at 23:54

You can use any number of dock/bar/gadget/widget type of tools and programs. Some stay on top, some cut out their own chunk of the screen, some are transparent, some are pegged to the desktop, most are configurable.

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I'm glad that you include a built in solution. I had no idea that one was available under gadgets, and I think anyone asking this question would feel the same way. –  JFA Oct 8 '14 at 14:39

You wrote :

something is going to crash because I'm using too much RAM

What you mean by "crashing"? Normally if there's too much RAM usage the system start to "swap" from the RAM to the Pagefile.sys and not "crashing"... This swapping may slow down the performances but nothing else.

1) The Virtual Memory: RAM + Pagefile.sys can be increased by adding RAM or increasing the pagefile.sys...

2) The unused Memory is a lost Memory If you run many applications at the time they can't run faster when there's more unused memory...

3) The main bottleneck in performances don't comes from the lack of Memory but from the percentage of CPU / GPU usage. What you have to check is the peak usage of memory, the % of actual usage and the total CPU time.

BTW: check the CPU usage in your screen capture: 93% !

Now to check in "real time" the Memory usage I suggest you to use MS TechNet Sysinternals Process Explorer and set the columns to see the total CPU usage, the total GPU usage and the CPU time. Set the systray icons to see the graphics of the CPU history, GPU history and Physical Memory history as you want.

Process Explorer

Tray icons Process Explorer

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+1 for the crashing/pagefile/performance points. –  mtone Oct 2 '12 at 1:43
Regarding the pagefile: currently both of my drives are completely full. I am going to upgrade to Windows 8 soon, and when I do I'll clean everything and set more appropriate drive sizes (at the moment my C: drives size is 40GB, which is way too low). My CPU Usage is usually between 1-40 so I think that's ok. Also, is there anything I should look for in MS TechNet Sysinternals Process Explorer to see what's causing my memory issue (or maybe 4GB of RAM is quite low nowadays and that's the only problem?). –  amiregelz Oct 2 '12 at 9:27
In my very humble opinion, this is NOT a memory problem but an overload CPU problem. For the pagefile.sys, the best is to let Windows 7 manage it instead or giving it a specific size. BUT you say your HD is full?! May be the lack of space prevent W7 to increase the pagefile.sys when it's required... There's relation between the amount of RAM, the space used automatically by pagefile.sys (on the HD obviously!) and system load... BTW: why are you loading so much applications simultaneously? Is it really mandatory? :-/ –  climenole Oct 2 '12 at 9:44
For Memory specific application at Sysinternals check for VMmap, a process virtual and physical memory analysis utility and RAMmap. technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/dd535533.aspx and technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/sysinternals/ff700229 :) –  climenole Oct 2 '12 at 9:49
Hey wait! You say in comments: «I have disabled pagefile because my virtual memory is out of space.». !!!!! THIS IS THE PROBLEM ::) –  climenole Oct 2 '12 at 9:52

I just found rainmeter on Lifehacker which seems to be very nice.

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Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. At the very least you should provide more than just a link, if possible provide some additional information about the software itself such as what features it has and why it would be useful to the person who asked the question. –  Mokubai Jan 30 at 20:33

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