fresh install - memory hogged ...

Posted on 2002-03-17
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I've been looking back and forth through any possible manual on the web and found no solution.... I installed a fresh 7.2 Redhat on my AMD K6-2 400 box with 128 Mb of memory ... for some stupid reason, the freaking OS eats 90% of my RAM after startup leaving just enough room to do some browsing and working command line and standard tools.  Upon installing Star/Open-office, my memory is saturated and the system hangs (thought that couldn't happen on linux anymore ?????)

tsss...tssss.tssss.... who can help me here ?

Thanx !
Question by:forenzixbe
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 6876787
It's normal for Linux to show a large fraction of memory in use right after a boot. A number of things get started at boot and will still be in memory although they probably aren't in a run state at that point. The normal swapping process will cause them to be swapped out when other demands are made on physical memory.

How much swap space did you allocate when installing? Typically you want to allocate at least 2x the amount of physical memory in the machine. In this case that would suggest a swap partition of 256Mb or greater. Personally I normally allocate 4x memory up to the max of 2047MB.

Also is all of the memory being recognized by 7.2. Run top from a command line and check the value for 'Mem'.

Expert Comment

ID: 6881078
You probably have some processes running that you don't need and are eating up system resources.

If you are running KDE, there's a utility called ksysv (SysV-Init Editor) that will give you a look at all the services that get started at boot time.  If you right click on a service and select properties, you can usually get a description of what it is.

There also tksysv but I've never used it.

Author Comment

ID: 6885040
All my memory is recognized and my swap is activated.
Either in Gnome or KDE the problem is the same.

Seems like most of the mem is consumed (reserved?) by Nautilus-process ... I can work without any problem (sometime short lag) but installing openoffice/staroffice won't work (hang,hang,hang).  Since I discovered Koffice, I don't mind a lot about it ... but I would like me memory back ;-) Otherwise I'll return to the guys from Redmond that empty my wallet but leave me memory untouched ...
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Expert Comment

ID: 6886392
You might want to do a "ps -efH" and see what all is running.  You probably have than you want consuming your resources.
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

jlevie earned 200 total points
ID: 6887419
Okay, you say all of the meory is recognized and swap is configured. I'd really like to see the two lines from top that begin with 'Mem:' and 'Swap:'. Just open a terminal window and execute 'top'

Hmmm, I don't know what's going on here, but I'm not sure that this system is operating properly. I've got a system here (500Mhz, 128Mb) that never exhibits the problems you describe with RedHat 7.2. Yes, I do see about 90% of physical memory in use when X is running (Gnome) and something like 100Mb of swap used. Those numbers run up or down a bit as I do things, which is a normal behaviour. For comparison, the system I'm using right now has 256Bm of memory and during normal operation (again Gnome) the memory in use stays in the 150-230Mb range. Oh yes, Both of these systems are up to date w/respect to the RedHat errata. Both are running 2.4.9-31 and all other applicable updates are installed.

That sort of behaviour is what one would expect. Linux is going to tened to leave things in memory, even if they aren't currently active, until there is some other need for physical memory. When that request occurs, some task that's currently in memory will get swapped out. Provided that the system has been configured with enough swap you'll see a little bit of a performance hit while the swap occurs, but you won't see any hangs or other anti-social behaviour.

The fact that an install of StarOffice hangs makes me think that you've got some basic problem with the HW/SW combination. I'd recommend that you first make sure that the BIOS on your motherboard is the current version. I've seen a number of problems with AMD processors and Linux (or NT) that were solved by a BIOS update. Check with the vendor of your MB for a later version of the BIOS. While looking at the BIOS I'd suggest making sure that PnP is disabled, if your BIOS has that setting.

Next I'd recommend that you bring your system up to date with respect to the errata. If this is a commercial boxed set your could use up2date or you could download the updates and manually apply them. I've got a script that takes much of the pain out of the later method. Send an email referencing this question to if you want a copy of the script.

If you are still having problems when the above two items have been attended to, then I'd say it's time to do some diagostic work to look for a hardware problem. I'd start by running Memtest86 ( It'll take a while for a full scan, but if there are any problems with the memory bus, memory, or cache it'll find it. Once memory is known to be good I'd run a disk exerciser to look for any disk controller or disk problem.

Author Comment

ID: 7045198
soon after my harddisk stopped working (I assume it was a terrorist attack ...). Anyway, moved back to the Win2K I like so much ;-) no more drama in my life ... cheers .F.

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