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I previously had another memory leak and it was diagnosed and solved. But now I feel I have another one and I can't seem to detect it the way I had before. Here's the old question - Windows 10 Memory Leak - Tags (poolmon) FMic and Irp - Nonpaged pool at 5.7GB

My issue now is basically the same, the difference is that the Nonpaged pool is not the problem this time at 700-800 MB vs 5.7 GB in the previous question.

I want to understand how to look for memory leaks when I suspect I have one, so I don't have to ask again. The two things in particular which make me suspect I have a memory leak are:

  • My RAM usage climbs over a few days to 90%+ usage when idling
  • My task manager, shows high % usage, but looking at the processes tab reveals that there is a lot of RAM unaccounted for, i.e. there aren't enough processes using enough memory to explain the high memory usage.

This has been a problem for me for years on several computers and after several reinstalls and I'm kind of sick of it. I've more or less accepted that it's either part of a software that I always install or just part of Windows, but after experiencing several crashes of software recently, I'd really like to get to the bottom of it.

PC config and stats with only Opera GX open and some background software:

  • RAM usage / total - currently 10.8 / 16 GB. Grows to ~11-12GB about 24-48 hours after a restart. Grows to ~14GB about 72-96 hours after a restart.
  • Page file - enabled, set to "Custom size" with an initial size of 1000 MB and a maximum size of 20000 MB. Currently, using about ~8100 MB.
  • Task manager processes sorted by RAM usage - the highest RAM user is Opera with 2.8 GB, followed by RamMap with 600 MB and Discord with 80 MB. RAM usage keeps declining to very small numbers from there, i.e. there is lots of RAM which is reported as used but is unaccounted for by Task Manager in the Processes tab.
  • RamMap - Clicking on "Empty -> Empty Working Sets" resulted in a RAM usage drop from 10.8 GB to 6.3 GB, which increased over 2 minutes to ~8.3 GB while I was writing this question.

I know there are several other questions regarding similar problems here, but I can't seem to find help in any of them, so I am asking for a reliable method of discovering the problem myself in the future so I don't have to post more questions. This could be beneficial to other users looking at this question too.

I've attached some images so you can see what's going on. Task manager RAM Map Use Counts RAM Map Processes RAM Map Priority Summary Resource Monitor

What are my next steps, where do I go from here to find the offender?

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  • Admin Tools, Resource Monitor is another good tool. You can set it up (Memory, CPU, Disk, Network) and let it run for an hour. What processes are coming to the top?
    – John
    Jan 25, 2020 at 23:12
  • Do you mean the Resource Monitor built into Windows? Why does it need to run for an hour though? It immediately bring up the processes and their details (PID, Hard Faults/sec, Commit, Working Set, Shareable, Private). I added it to the images above.
    – Sam
    Jan 25, 2020 at 23:17
  • That is the tool I meant. The point of running it for 15, 30 or 60 minutes is to let processes using resources to come to the top.
    – John
    Jan 25, 2020 at 23:26
  • Opera is taking lots of memory. Keep the number of open tabs low (2 or 3). Close unused tabs.
    – John
    Jan 25, 2020 at 23:31
  • You don't always need to worry about leaks - see devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20180228-00/?p=98125. Do you really have 47 windows open in Opera. Anything will only be in memory once but it may be countered many times. Take User32.dll. It is in the file cache, and in nearly every process. But it is in physical memory only once.
    – Mark
    Jan 26, 2020 at 1:04

1 Answer 1

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There might be an issue with Windows OS Standby List management. When a memory page is removed from use, it may not be immediately available for re-use.

You might try a third-party tool, Wagnardsoft's Intelligent standby list cleaner, which expedited returning this RAM to use. When processing many files at once, I've found this prevented crashes, though it was intended to make game-play smoother.

That said, RAM usage statistics are not necessarily meaningful. If your system seems to be operating normally, ignore the high RAM usage. The OS is simply optimizing speed by keeping more data in memory.

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  • My system does not keep operating normally. I just had my 2 side screens turn off and my middle screen freeze. Last RAM usage I saw was 15.9GB / 16 GB before my PC froze and I had to restart it. I had only Opera GX open and the task manager was showing only a few GB used, not 15+. And not to mention I have up to 20 GB of page file. I don't know what the hell is going on.
    – Sam
    Jan 26, 2020 at 16:52
  • Have you scanned for malware, hiding in the background? In addition to your permanent AV, try another one-time scanner running from a rescue USB or disk, e.g Bitdefender, howtogeek.com/howto/36677/… or Kaspersky, free.kaspersky.com/uk . See techradar.com/best/best-antivirus-rescue-disk for some more choices. Jan 26, 2020 at 19:14
  • I haven't, because this is an issue that has plagued me for years across multiple systems and reinstalls, so I didn't think it's possible.
    – Sam
    Jan 27, 2020 at 17:02

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