My computer has been running a little slower lately, so I looked at the stats in the Windows Task Manager and saw that it was not only using a lot of memory, but there was this sawtooth pattern in the usage graph. memory usage sawtooth pattern Note: the graph is unedited and represents a real screenshot of a continuous period of time (even though it looks like there are 3 different sawtooth shapes that were spliced together).

As I've monitored it I have seen this same pattern a lot. Often it happens when I open a new application or a really big file but not always. I don't know how Windows OS manages memory but maybe it's shifting stuff out (maybe to virtual memory?) it hasn't used in a while to make room for new stuff? I tried many searches for an explanation of memory graphs or sawtooth patterns in memory usage but I could not find anything. I suspect this means that I need more memory, but it would be nice to understand it better.

Processes ordered by Handles: memory usage sawtooth pattern *Not sure why Google Drive is using 34k Handles.

Processes ordered by Memory: memory usage sawtooth pattern

I thought that this (sawtooth pattern) might indicate that there is a lot of RAM garbage collection going on or something (maybe like a JVM?), and I was hoping that perhaps someone could explain that in general terms.

Update: After a restart I watched the memory graph and saw the classic sawtooth pattern when I started an app but only when about half the memory was being used. So I think my theory about garbage collection, or something similar to it, does not hold water.

closed as too broad by soandos, Kevin Panko, Dave M, Jeff F., Dave May 20 '14 at 8:01

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    there is nothing definitive any of us can say....it depends on a lot of things ....services, processes being run...etc...etc....we could only offer opinions as this question is so broad. – mdpc May 14 '14 at 2:12
  • Can you look in the processes tab of the task manager, and select in the "View - Select Columns" then click on "Handles" (to display programs handles in the row of data). see what program that is with many many? It may not be pertaining to this at all, I am just interested. – Psycogeek May 14 '14 at 3:54
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    Can you please post a screeny of running process sorted by memory usage ? – HackToHell May 14 '14 at 3:54
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    591k handles sounds like you have a handle leak somewhere. It may not be related to the memory usage, but there is simply no justification for anything to have that many handles open (except maybe a dedicated database server, like Oracle DB, but you wouldn't be running that on a desktop, would you?) – allquixotic May 14 '14 at 3:59
  • For reference, that's about 15 times as many handles as I have open, and I have a ton of background daemons (CrashPlan, MalwareBytes, PuTTY, Adobe CC, Amazon Unbox, Steam, PerfectDisk, and some others). That's simply a ridiculous number of handles, especially considering you're only using about 6 GB of memory for programs (which is a fair bit, but not very out of the ordinary). – allquixotic May 14 '14 at 4:01

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