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Find out which process consumes memory

Posted on 2010-11-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
My computer (Windows XP SP3) has a severe problem. I leave it running over night and in the morning it is not possible to log in again. There are error message boxes that say that there is not enough memory. Sometimes the screen resolution has changed to very low. And sometimes I get the error message "Error connecting to existing session for <user> (Id 0). A device attached to the system is not functioning." I cannot even shut down my computer; I have to pull the plug. It's worth mentioning that during the day I have no problems like that at all. It is only over night.

I already cleared all energy options so that the computer doesn't go to sleep. But it didn't help. Also the event logs don't contain any entries.

I suspect that some process consumes a lot of memory but I have no idea how to find out which because in the morning my computer is not usable. Is there any tool that helps me logging memory consumption of running processes? Or do you have other ideas how I could find out what the problem is?

Regards,
Dirk.
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Question by:dirkil2
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15 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34162557
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:awawada
ID: 34162564
Did you try Task Manager or Process Monitor.
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34162565
Oh and Google

process explorer tutorial
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:awawada
awawada earned 250 total points
ID: 34162598
Use Process Explorer, Filemon, Regmon & Task Manager to identify performance issues:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgmVDMDtAKY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmN8usQy_QU
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Author Comment

by:dirkil2
ID: 34162602
Process Explorer looks interesting but is there a way that it logs to a file? This is necessary because in the morning my machine is unusable so I cannot have a look at process explorer.
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Expert Comment

by:awawada
ID: 34162613
As i know you can't:
http://forum.sysinternals.com/topic17457.html

@dbrunton
do you know a possibility?
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 34162682
@awawada
Following your links the following two apps are recommended for logging.  Have never tried them.

Process Viewer http://www.teamcti.com/pview/prcview.htm
Process Monitor http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx

I've never tried any of those so can't comment.

Process Explorer does allow you to save a file but it is a snapshot at the time taken and recreates the file from scratch when you save again.  So it is no good as a log file.

Someone could possibly cobble together a script which starts Process Explorer, gets it to save a file and then exits and then appends the saved file to a log file and have the script run through Task Scheduler.  Interesting project but not for me.
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Expert Comment

by:awawada
ID: 34162719
@dirkil2

i to don't have a knowledge in scripting. You can open a new question in the scripting Zones. They can help you to creat a new script or some maybe already having one. I would also post a link to this question.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Qlemo earned 250 total points
ID: 34163099
In such cases you usually let the integrated Performance Monitor create a log for particular sources (processes, system objects, aso.), starting and ending at a given period of time. It is even able to trigger actions on events, like "if available memory is below x, ...".
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Author Comment

by:dirkil2
ID: 34163103
@Qlemo

What is the "Integrated Performance Monitor"?
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Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 34163120
call PerfMon, and you will see ;-).
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:viki2000
ID: 34176582
Try also Process Lasso
http://www.bitsum.com/prolasso.php 
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Expert Comment

by:viki2000
ID: 34176614
Or try Microsoft support
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/248345 
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Author Comment

by:dirkil2
ID: 34179411
perfmon looks interesting. I know by now how to use it. But can somebody recommend a set of performance indicators that help me track down my problem?

I suspect a process to eat up all available memory over time when my computer is idle. So I don't know which process it is and when this process is started. Any idea which indicators would you use to find the offending process?
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Expert Comment

by:Qlemo
ID: 34179517
I would choose the following indicators:
Processes - All instances
   Working Set
   Private Bytes
   VIrtual Size
   Non-Paged Pool Size (or similar)
That records all processes. Schedule it to run in the tightmost time frame you are certain the issue arises.
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