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I'm looking for a piece of software that will visualize this.

Reason is that Process Explorer is showing me that 1.9 of my 2.0 GB Ram is currently in use and I have no idea how it got to that amount. If you add all the programs, you don't even get to that amount...

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This should include some clever way to show shared memory. – Thilo Oct 28 '09 at 1:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It sounds like you've already got a tool to visualize this.

Add the "private bytes" column to the process explorer display, then sortby it descending. Your memory hog processes will be at the top.

Also you could look at "Resource monitor" in Vista. (System and Maintenance > Performance Information and Tools > Advanced Tools. It will also show you which processes are using all your memory.

However, you may not really even have a problem. RAM being in-use is not a bad thing. For windows to use all of that expensive (used-to-be, anyway) RAM that you installed, it tries to, well, use it (as in utilize it). If you aren't using all of it for programs it will use more for the system cache to possibly save time reading from the disk in the future.

Rather than how much is in-use, you want to worry about available memory.

To quote Mark Russinovich:

As its name implies, available memory is available for assignment to a process or the system if required. The Memory Manager of course tries to make the most of that memory by using it as a file cache (the standby list), as well as for zeroed memory (the zero page list), and Vista's Superfetch feature prefetches data and code into the standby list and prioritizes it to favor data and code likely to be used in the near future.

If available memory becomes scarce, that means that processes or the system are actively using physical memory, and if it remains close to zero over extended periods of time, you can probably benefit by adding more memory.

If you have "100 MB" you are not close to zero free memory.

Oh, and make sure you use a paging file, so that windows is free to help you make the most of your RAM.

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It would seem that I only have the performance monitor and not the resource monitor. Even a program that is made specially to at as a shortcut to several programs says that nothing it to be found at the normal location. – KdgDev Oct 28 '09 at 7:30
My bad "Resource Monitor" is the name of the windows 7 tool. "Performance Monitor" is name of the tool in Vista. But you were already are using Process Explorer which is even more powerfull. Did you look at the private bytes column? Sorting by this gives you a ranked list of what matters as far as your memory being used-up. – DanO Oct 28 '09 at 16:16
Yes, I have the private bytes column active. I does show certain amounts, but if you add them all up, you barely reach 1GB. I do have virtual machines running, that might be that culprit. – KdgDev Oct 29 '09 at 13:56
Well of course! Virtual Machines usually have an option to use only physical memory, or allow paging (virtual memory). If the first option is selected, the entire amout of virtual machine RAM is reserved on the host RAM. – DanO Oct 29 '09 at 14:33
For oddball cases like virtual machines, you can also look at the "working set" colulmn in process explorer. This is the amount of physical RAM the process is using. For most processes it is normally not as relevant as "private bytes", which is the total amount of virtual memory the process is using. Your case clearly indicates the need to consider both. – DanO Nov 3 '09 at 20:50

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