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My laptop is used in long time intervals without restarting. The OS tends to use extensive memory (~8GB) as time passes. Below are screenshots of two different states with exactly the same programs are running.

Long Time

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Right After Boot

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It seems that caching causes this situation. I have two questions:

  1. Is this amount of memory usage a bad thing and therefore something to fix?
  2. Why cached amount increases as time passes?


Here's the Poolmon output as I appear to be using 6GB of RAM in another long session. Anything suspicious here?

enter image description here enter image description here

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marked as duplicate by magicandre1981, Indrek, Mokubai, harrymc, Moses May 4 '14 at 18:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

What good is 12GB if your system does not use it. Just because its used does not mean it cannot be used by something else. But you have not provide the memory map information to really understand whats going on. – Ramhound May 2 '14 at 2:23
@Ramhound The Task Manager's "used" memory is actually in-use. You'll notice "available" drops accordingly. You are addressing the common misconception that "cached" memory is no longer listed as "free"; however, that misconception is caused by how some common tools in Linux display memory usage. With the way the modern Windows Task Manager displays memory usage information, that misconception cannot exist, and you are addressing an entirely different and unrelated issue. – Bob May 4 '14 at 16:18

High Memory usage is not a bad thing. See this article for that:

Even Linux, which is more effecient at managing computer usage, has the same "problem":

Finally, Mac OS X also does this:

All that means is that your computer is using the RAM effectively to quickly open programs, etc. RAM is more power effecient that using a hard drive, because a hard drive is super slow, and the RAM already has the energy.

The cached amount of memory increases because as more programs are opened and started automatically, more cached data is stored, which allows the programs to be opened and started earlier. Without the cached data being stored and that RAM being used, the RAM is "wasted" and that extra few gigabytes is never used. Obviously, you want at least a gigabyte of breathing room, but anything over that is not used.

All in all, don't be scared of high RAM usage as long as you aren't using all of it (i.e. 11.5/12 GB). Generally, Windows knows how to use it.

If all the three major operating systems used that much RAM with only a few programs open for no purpose, it's gotta have some usage that's good, right?

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(-1) because in his case it is bad. See the 4.5GB memory leak caused by a driver. – magicandre1981 May 2 '14 at 6:39

Your memory usage is bad because a driver doesn't free kernel memory. Such memory can't be used by other applications and so this is very bad. To see which driver causes the leak, run poolmon.

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How did you diagnose that? I have seen the other question and I'm curious: why there is disagreement among people who I consider trustworthy (judging by reputation) about this issue? One says it's healthy and you say it's a leak and should be fixed. Why is that? – Varaquilex May 2 '14 at 10:44
Where does it say the driver doesn't free kernel memory, I don't see it. He still has 40% of his RAM left, that's enough. If he only had 1 GB or so, that would be kind of bad, but 4 GB is a lot of wiggle room. I have 8 GB of RAM, and not a ton of usage, and win 8.1 takes about 50-60% normally. – ElectronicGeek May 2 '14 at 12:56
Right now I'm monitoring with poolmon, I'll update the question once the computer uses high amounts of RAM. I think we'll be able to identify whether there's a leak or not. – Varaquilex May 2 '14 at 13:34
@Varaquilex only users who haven't read the Windows Internals Book, like ElectronicGeek who downvoted the only correct answer, say that this is ok. Windows Internals stuff is rocket science and such users simply have NO knowledge and because of this they post and vote completely nonsense. You have a driver leak which you should fix and everything will be fine again. – magicandre1981 May 2 '14 at 17:31
@magicandre1981 I will wait until I get my results (probably tomorrow night) before I choose an answer. The part I was curious about was this: how could you tell that it was a faulty driver / memory leak without seeing the poolmon results? Was that a generalisation of cases? How did you tell, really ? – Varaquilex May 3 '14 at 0:10

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