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What's happening to my RAM?

Posted on 2002-04-03
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
When I first turn on my computer and look at the task manager it says I have around 143,000 K available.  Towards the end of the day it goes down to about 50,000 K.  Anybody have any ideas about what is consuming all this RAM?  I have 256 MB of RAM.  I'm running Windows 2000 Pro SP2.  Could it be my DSL connection?  
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Question by:abstractionz
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Expert Comment

by:cookre
ID: 6917087
The proximate cause is one or more programs that fail to release memory.  

Common causes:

* A resident program keeps allocating memory without bothering to release areas it no longer needs.

* A frequently called program fails to release memory when it exits.

To determine the malefactor one must first track memory before and after program executions.  A good place to start would be frequently used non-OS utilities.

Here's an easy to follow tutorial for sniffing out memory leaks:
http://personal.cfw.com/~tkprit/page/leak.html
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 6917170
Right click on the TaskBar and select Task Manager and then click on the "Process" tab and track the process listed under the "Mem Usage" Column. During the day make notations of which ones are using more RAM then they started out using. If you click on the columun header and will sort the process's by the amount of memory being used. BTW some of the RAM increase in usage is by design and not a bug or a flaw.


The Crazy One
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 6917177
If are running an anti-virus scanner especially one that scans your email you may notice that this is where some of this increase in RAM usage occurrs.
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Author Comment

by:abstractionz
ID: 6917221
The main consumer of RAM is my AOL 7.  But I've always known that eats up a lot of RAM.  Then I have 2 processes that are part of my Norton Firewall.  I shut the firewall down, however, these 2 processes continue to run.  Also, when I try to end these processes I get the "Access is denied" message.  And I don't know how they're loading.  
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 6917299
>>>I get the "Access is denied" message

I suspect they are attached to another procees running. It is not easy to track this sort of thing down. These things may be attached to a service. Go to Control Panel > Admin tools > Sevices and take a look there to see if you can indentify a service that may be linked to these process's. Keep in mind playing around with services you are not sure of can cause some problems. So be careful and make a note of any changes you make so you can back out of the changes if need be.
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Accepted Solution

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CrazyOne earned 25 total points
ID: 6917303
Also this excellent free utility you may find useful as well

Process Explorer
http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/procexp.shtml
Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
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