The main memory is one of the basic elements of PCs. In addition to the operating system, programs store their data in the fast memory so that the processor can access it quickly. But the more programs you open, the scarcer the resources become: at some point the RAM (Random Access Memory) will overflow. Then the PC becomes significantly slower in one fell swoop. We will show you how to manage the main memory so that there is always enough RAM free.
RAM knowledge: This is how Windows uses RAM
Windows reports when the PC no longer has enough memory. However, even before an error message is issued, there are indications that the RAM is running low: If programs open slowly, there is a delayed or no reaction to mouse clicks or empty windows are displayed. You can counter this problem by installing additional memory modules. But first you should check with Windows on-board tools how scarce the RAM really is. In principle, any program can be swapped out to the RAM. However, if there is not enough storage space available, Windows temporarily moves the data to the hard disk in the so-called swap file. You can find it in the Windows directory, it is called Pagefile.sys. Temporary paging is virtual memory and is used to ensure that programs run properly. Memory problems and corresponding Windows error messages only occur when neither enough RAM nor sufficient virtual memory is available. This is the case, for example, when you are running many programs in parallel: playing a game while listening to music, downloading something via the browser, performing program updates and many other combinations. However, this problem can also occur when applications no longer free the memory. Microsoft calls this problem memory overload or memory leak. In the following, we explain how to free up the precious memory.
How to expose RAM eaters on Windows
To find out which programs are using how much memory, all you need to do is look at the Windows Task Manager. You can call it up using the key combination Ctrl-Alt-Del, and then click on the corresponding entry. Starting with Windows 8, the whole thing works a little easier by right-clicking on the start icon at the bottom left and selecting the Task Manager from the context menu. By the way, you can go directly to the Task Manager using the key combination Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Once in Task Manager, click on the "Processes" tab. Starting with Windows 8, the first time the Task Manager is called, the display may be less detailed and the option may be missing. Then click on "More details" at the bottom left. With a click on “RAM” you can sort the processes according to memory usage and find out which program eats up the most memory. In our illustration, the RAM is 25 percent full, we are using a PC with 32 GB RAM. The Google Chrome browser is represented several times and with several hundred megabytes it is the absolute leader in terms of memory requirements! This is followed by the game client Origin from Electronic Arts with almost 220 MB, although the program is not currently updating or starting a game. Skype and Spotify also treat themselves to a lot of memory - programs that many users always run in the background. For comparison and not visible in the screenshot due to the sorting: The installed anti-virus protection Avast Free has a real-time scanner, the application executes two processes - but together they only take up around 35 MB. So if you have the feeling that your system is reacting sluggishly, or you even get the error message about insufficient memory, then close the processes or programs that are using the most RAM. In our example, Google Chrome. In this case, right click on the entry "Google Chrome (32 bit)" and then on "End task". This clears the specified amount of storage space again.
Resource monitor: an alternative to the task manager
The Windows resource monitor, which you call up by entering "resmon" or "resource monitor" in the start menu, shows you more details: There you get a detailed overview of the utilization of CPU, RAM, data carrier and network. In the "Memory" tab, the resource monitor shows you the memory consumption of all running processes - comparable to the view in the Task Manager. The column "Assured (KB)" shows you the memory in kilobytes that the operating system has reserved for the respective process in the virtual memory. The “Working set (KB)” column provides information on how many kilobytes the process occupies in the physical RAM. In the right side of the window you can see three bar graphs that show you the utilization of your physical RAM,of virtual RAM and the page faults per second. The latter information is not a cause for panic. Strictly speaking, the page faults per second are not faults at all, but a completely regular process. A page fault always occurs when Windows tries to access data in the physical main memory, but the memory management has stored it in the virtual memory. However, if several hundred page faults occur per second, then this is an indication that there is too little physical RAM installed in the PC, as the system has to constantly swap a lot of data to the hard drive.when Windows wants to access data in the physical main memory, but the memory management has stored it in the virtual memory. However, if several hundred page faults occur per second, then this is an indication that there is too little physical RAM installed in the PC, as the system has to constantly swap a lot of data to the hard drive.when Windows wants to access data in the physical main memory, but the memory management has stored it in the virtual memory. However, if several hundred page faults occur per second, then this is an indication that there is too little physical RAM installed in the PC, as the system has to constantly swap a lot of data to the hard drive. The lower section "Physical memory" in the resource monitor shows you in detail the usage of your built-in RAM. The lower bar in green shows you RAM “In use”, ie the space actually used by services and processes. The indication "Standby" in blue tells you how much memory Windows has reserved for active processes but is not currently using. The resource monitor shows you in light blue how much RAM memory is still free. Here, too, RAM-heavy processes can be exposed and terminated by right-clicking on the name and calling up the context menu and stopping the process. You can even end several processes at the same time by holding down the Ctrl key.
CPU-Z: Information about the built-in hardware
For more details on RAM, we recommend the English-language free tool CPU-Z . After the installation, you will get more details about your RAM via the "Memory" tab, such as the DDR type, the active channel mode as well as the clock frequency and latencies. In the "SPD" tab there is even more information: The program lists the individual memory blocks and shows their properties. These include, for example, the memory manufacturer and the display of the embedded clock frequencies and timings (XMP profile). You will need this detailed information if you want to upgrade the main memory and buy the same modules. is your process using too much cpu? check out this aritcle
More virtual memory: increase the size of the paging file
If necessary, the swap file can be enlarged manually so that problems due to insufficient memory do not arise in the first place. Unfortunately, it can also happen that programs are allowed to cache enough, but run a little slower - after all, the real, physical main memory is a lot faster than the virtual memory on the slower hard drive. To adjust the size, navigate to the "Virtual memory" window (see previous section). Uncheck the automatic size management, activate "User-defined size" and enter a minimum and maximum value. Windows defines the sizes as follows: The initial size corresponds to the built-in physical memory, while the maximum size corresponds to three times the amount of RAM. The size specifications must be in megabytes. A restart is not necessary if the values are increased, but it is necessary if the values are reduced. More RAM: How much RAM does your PC need? Since the prices for RAM modules continue to fall and they are quite easy to install, it is a sensible solution to upgrade your RAM if you have memory problems. In principle, this is also correct, because the capacity of the main memory primarily determines the amount of data to be outsourced - the larger, the more data can be buffered. But before you go to the happy RAM shopping, you should first determine how much RAM you really need. Make sure in advance that the Windows version you have installed can even handle more memory: Because a 32-bit version of Windows is not able to address more than 4 GB of RAM - even if there are some instructions on the Internet and even there are programmed patches that edit the kernel.However, we advise against this. With a 64-bit Windows this is no longer a problem. To find out which architecture your Windows is using, press the Windows Pause / Break key combination. In the “System” window that is now open, the bit version is under “System type”. But not only the operating system can thwart the RAM upgrade, but also the processor. Especially with cheap netbooks there is often no support beyond 4 GB. These include, for example, many processors from the Intel Atom series such as the Cedarview generation (Atom-N and D-2000 models) from 2011, which support a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. The successors to the Z series from 2013 can only handle one to two gigabytes of RAM. But cheaper desktop processors such as the Intel Celeron N2920 can work with a maximum of 8 GB of RAM. You should therefore check in advance whether support is available. You can find information on this either in the relevant manuals or on the manufacturer's website. For example, Intel offers on the sideark.intel.com provides a database with the specifications of all chipsets and CPUs, which also shows the maximum RAM in each case. Such a database does not (yet) exist for AMD chips, which is why more research is necessary here. However, online shops are also a good place to start; they list the relevant information in the technical data. for more tips on how ram works check here.
RAM tuning: How to make RAM faster
If you have installed main memory that is supported by your main board, the computer should recognize it immediately without further input and use the total capacity. The only exception is if the chipset is not designed for this amount of memory. But this is only a problem for older Windows tablets or very old notebooks whose chipsets can handle a maximum of 2 or 4 GB. With reasonably current systems, the maximum RAM capacity is 32 GB. The more decisive question is whether the new memory bar can also work at its highest speed. This can be prevented, for example, by the mixed operation of modules with different work cycles: Here the entire main memory works with the speeds (cycle frequencies and timings) of the slowest module. Otherwise, memory bars with different clock rates and from different manufacturers can be operated side by side without any problems, as long as they are of the same DDR standard and form factor. If you have used memory modules that all work with the same timing, you can check in the BIOS setup whether the computer is using the best possible settings for the RAM. There are special memories, especially for overclockers and gamers, that do not conform to RAM standards.which the standardization committee JEDEC defines because they use lower timings or faster clock rates. Here you usually have to manually define the best settings in the BIOS setup. to find out more about how to monitor ram check here. There is another special feature in the operating mode: With at least two RAM bars, the so-called dual-channel mode is possible, which doubles the theoretical data transfer rate of the main memory because the memory controller can address the modules of each channel at the same time. This technology must also support the processor and motherboard, which actually all reasonably modern systems do. To use this mode, be sure to insert the latches into the correct memory banks. Mainboard manufacturers often give users a hand and mark the matching RAM sockets in the same color. The quad-channel mode also exists, which can quadruple the transfer rates. However, this is currently only reserved for upper-class CPUs and motherboards,such as the Intel Core i9-7900X for around 1000 euros or the upcoming Threadripper models from AMD.