Windows Task Manager Performance Tab Memory Info Explanation
Posted on 2004-11-21
I have a Gateway PC that is a 1.7 G Pentium 4 with 128 MB RDRAM running Windows XP Professional SP2. For quite some time I had noticed that it was sluggish to open programs such as IE & MS Word and just programs in general. I typically format my PC hard drive and reinstall everything once every year or two and decided to do so now on this PC. After reformatting and reinstalling all software I have determined that the problem is just as prevalent as it was prior to taking this step.
I was suspicious of a memory shortage but didn't want to buy more of something just to find out that it didn't really solve the problem. I have been using my Windows Task Manager Performance tab to view memory usage, etc. but don't fully understand what it is telling me. I am for now pretty much ignoring the Totals area of the tab and focusing on the other 3 areas, Physical Memory, Commit Charge, and Kernel Memory. I am not a newbie to this stuff but here are my questions:
1) I believe that Total Physical Memory refers to the amount of RAM in the PC. Also I believe that the Available Physical Memory is the amount of RAM free for the PC to use. I also think I understand that the System Cache is the amount of Level 1 or 2 cache in use. Am I right with these 3 assumptions?
2) Assuming my assumptions were indeed correct in question 1, as a general rule of thumb how low as a percentage of total RAM should the Available Physical Memory be? I have seen it dip as low as 0 to 4 MB once.
3) What numbers on the Performance tab should add up roughly to equal the Total Physical Memory value presented on it or is there enough information even on this tab to determine that?
4) Does the Paged Kernel Memory value refer to the amount of space actually being used as virtual memory or just the amount of space that has been formatted/indexed correctly so that it can be moved to virtual hard drive space if it were to become necessary?