I have a Windows 7 Professional computer with 12GB of RAM. On a fresh start up, the amount of RAM is more than adequate for my needs. However, a couple of weeks into up-time and it appears that the memory just disappears and starts using virtual memory, causing my performance to degrade.

For example, I typically have 3 instances of visual studio open, which early on in the up-time is perfectly fine. However, it gets to the point where even one instance of visual studio is too much overload to handle, even after restarting visual studio.

Here are some screenshots that show you the differences in the task manager:

On Fresh Restart:

Fresh Restart Fresh Restart

2 Weeks Up-time:

2 Weeks Up-time 2 Weeks Up-time

I understand that Windows 7 will try to use up all available ram over time to allow for quick access of programs and other services (caching basically), but this doesn't explain why after 2 weeks of computer up-time I am having to close tons of programs/processes just to use a program without screen-freezing lag, whereas with barely any up-time I can run multiple programs just fine.

What exactly is happening here?

  • In the first picture you have 135 processes running, in the second you have 155. More programs=More memory..... – BroScience May 8 '13 at 20:32
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    It may not be somthing running as your user. Click Resource Monitor on the Performance tab and go to the Memory tab of the new screen. Post screenshots of that window instead. – Scott Chamberlain May 8 '13 at 20:32
  • @ScottChamberlain Good point. Unfortunately, I just restarted my computer. With that said, svchost.exe is the only outstanding program which is running at 181K right now. I will keep an eye on it. – ROFLwTIME May 8 '13 at 20:38
  • Run Process Explorer from SysInternals suite (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb842062.aspx) and launch it as administrator to get a better picture of what's consuming your memory. On the View menu, click Select Columns and go to the memory tab. Put a check in virtual size, then sort by that column. – Robert Kerr May 9 '13 at 9:22
  • I saw the question bumped to the front page, did you ever get the chance to get the screen shots with Resource Monitor? – Scott Chamberlain May 14 '13 at 7:14

You are looking at Private WOrking Set. I highly recommend adding Commit Size to your taskman columns.

RAMMap is the bomb, but most of the time you just need Commit Size, as apposed to all the other memory counters available.

Commit size, IMXP, has always more closely matched the Memory meter (The old "PF Usage" on XP)

If I worked for MS, I would make it the default, it would save many wasted hours of head scratching


You should run RAMMap when Windows is normal, save it as a RMP file and run it the second time when you have the high memory usage. Now compare both.

Read the linked guide to understand what the values mean.

enter image description here

In your taskmgr picture I can see high (non)paged Kernel memory usage. So drivers are leaking memory. Use poolmon or xperf/WPA to trace which driver is using the memory.


One (or more) programs you run could have memory leaks.

In computer science, a memory leak (or leakage, in this context) occurs when a computer program incorrectly manages memory allocations. In object-oriented programming, a memory leak may happen when an object is stored in memory but cannot be accessed by the running code


A memory leak can diminish the performance of the computer by reducing the amount of available memory. Eventually, in the worst case, too much of the available memory may become allocated and all or part of the system or device stops working correctly, the application fails, or the system slows down unacceptably due to thrashing.

Exiting the programs should free up all of the associated memory.

As a side note I've noticed that web browsers (and their extensions and plugins) are often factors in these types of issues. Use the menu option to Exit Chrome and restart will restore all of your tabs with lower memory usage.

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    Flash and Java are the biggest culprits in memory leak, you also seem to have more than the average amount of processes running average is about 80 you have 153, so close some programs. You could also shut off the "Paging file" so you don't use VRAM. If your running multiple instances of Visual Studio get more RAM at least 16GB. My network admin has 32GB and runs 5 instances of VB and hundreds of chrome tabs. So just a heads up if you want to multi-task that much you might need more power. – Eryper May 8 '13 at 22:06
  • +1 for Java. Browsers seem fine on my windows machine... my friends Macs however usually have Safari or Firefox using 2gig after one week... – Michael May 14 '13 at 6:55

Looks like you have multiple instances of chrome.exe running at the same time. This is probably your problem. Try to delete the process and see what happens to your computer speed. If this helps, delete Google Chrome from your computer. You should not have the problem anymore. If it does not help, make sure that processes are not running from different users on your computer. To find this out, click the 'Show processes from all users' button on task manager, and see if there are a lot more processes.

Hope this helps.

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    Google chrome will start a number of process when it starts and as you browse. This is normal behaviour for this product. When shut down, all instances will disappear. – Sarge May 8 '13 at 20:42
  • Oh, I was not aware of this. I only use Firefox. Get rid of Google Chrome if it is what is taking your memory. Firefox is much better. – HelpingHand May 8 '13 at 20:49

Visual studio is a resource hungry beast and will eventually use up all the resources available to it. Also, some applications have a nasty habit of not releasing resources when closed (just about any Micrsoft product out there). I don't know your requirements, but I would suggest rebooting at least once a week if possible. That will, of course, flush your memory and free those resources.

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