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When using the task manager in Windows XP Pro, the amount of RAM that is listed as being used by the individual processes is not adding up to the total memory used (as listed by the total commit on the performance page).

The total sum of all the RAM being used the the processes: 195604 K

The amount in use as listed by performance page and the status bar: 280028 K

1) Why is this?

2) How do I reduce the amount of memory used?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

what you see in the status bar is the the total commit charge which represents the current amount of virtual memory used.

The "Mem Usage" column in Task Manager's "Processes" display, however, shows each process's current working set. This is a count of physical memory (RAM) rather than virtual address space.

The total commit charge will always be larger than the sum of these values, as the total includes system-wide allocations such as the paged pool.

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Not all the ram is used by processes.

The OS also uses memory, which is not listed under any of the processes

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Answering question 2) How do I reduce the amount of memory used?

It is probably obvious, but the simplest way to free up RAM is to close applications (or sub-application units like browser tabs or extensions). Maybe you can deactivate some startup items.

If a program has a memory leak, it can help restarting it. Try it and compare the memory footprints in the task manager, to find out where that's worth the hassle. By the way, Sysinternals provides an excellent free advanced task manager replacement called Process Explorer. It can detail out all the aspects of processes' memory usage. You have to choose the respective columns.

As far as I remember, in Windows XP it is also still helpful rebooting the whole system from time to time.

Good luck speeding up!

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