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Windows takes more resources when available

RTXboy123
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One odd behavior I have seen about Windows, in terms of memory management, is that it takes more memory when more RAM available to the system, and it compromises on memory when there is less RAM is the system. And yes, I am EXCLUDING cache (standby). I did an experiment. My device has 4 GB of RAM. And Windows with some optimizations, on a restart, takes about 1.6 GB of memory. Now, with msconfig, I set my memory to only 2 GB. After a restart, Windows took a lot less memory. At first it took a bit, but it suddenly dropped in memory usage after a while. It took about 1 GB of memory. If I see people with a lot of RAM, I do see the memory is a lot too, and heck, a guy on YouTube made a video on a system with 2 TB of RAM, and Windows, when idle, without any background tasks, took 27 GB of memory, and 8 GB of cache! So is there a way to make Windows compromise on memory so that I have more memory left?

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There's no real advantage to that. Windows will make the RAM available to running applications when needed. Otherwise it is used to speed up things. If you force Windows to behave as if it was running on a low-memory system, you'll likely lose performance as a result.

 

~edit: Let me put it another way: Worry about the resource usage of Windows when you run into actual issues (e.g. programs crashing because no more memory is available). Otherwise, just let the memory manager do its thing. Resources are there to be used, so why should Windows not make use of them while they aren't needed elsewhere.

Remember to either quote or @mention others, so they are notified of your reply

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I've never understood the fixation over using as little RAM as possible in modern systems that have plenty of it. RAM is there to be used! Modern memory management has been a solved problem for decades, and system resources are plentiful now. Windows isn't going to starve itself or your applications of RAM. Limiting resources will just make it page to the drive a lot more.

 

It was something to worry about back in ye olde days, when you were lucky to have 32 megs of RAM. Memory management was a major problem on pre-X Mac OS, where each application staked a claim to a continuous chunk of RAM and wouldn't cede any of it no matter how little it was using. (Remember hard drive fragmentation? Well, your free RAM could get fragmented depending on the sequence you open and close applications in!) Nowadays though? It's mostly just folklore, nothing to lose sleep over.

Oh no my chronic foot-in-mouth is flaring up again...

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1 hour ago, RTXboy123 said:

So is there a way to make Windows compromise on memory so that I have more memory left?

 Unused RAM is wasted RAM. It's using more RAM simply because there is more RAM available to it. However, it isn't necessarily "used" in the way you may think it is. Linux has the same "problem": https://www.linuxatemyram.com/

Memory that is You'd call it Linux calls it
used by applications Used Used
used, but can be made available Free (or Available) Used (and Available)
not used for anything Free Free

 

Basically memory that is not actively used by an application or the OS can be used to store things the OS thinks may be useful to have fast access to. It's like offering the drawing desk of your colleague to someone who just needs to type a document while they are not drawing (the desk is "free"), on the condition that that other person leaves when your colleague comes back. That makes the desk "used, but available". When your colleague returns and actually needs their desk to draw something, the other person leaves and the desk becomes "used".

Crystal: CPU: i7 7700K | Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z270F | RAM: GSkill 16 GB@3200MHz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti FE | Case: Corsair Crystal 570X (black) | PSU: EVGA Supernova G2 1000W | Monitor: Asus VG248QE 24"

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Look, what @Tikker is saying is about standby memory, and I am excluding standby memory. Ok, there might some more important cache, so that is why it might not be showing as standby memory. But I only have 4 gigs of RAM, which is not really enough for today, and not mentioning the slow hard drive. Also, you might think a little weird about me, but for me it is just too much frustrating to see how much resources Windows itself takes. Even though, practically the performance is better with cache, I would prefer Windows to run slower, but more stable and take less resources.  

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4 hours ago, RTXboy123 said:

Also, you might think a little weird about me, but for me it is just too much frustrating to see how much resources Windows itself takes. Even though, practically the performance is better with cache, I would prefer Windows to run slower, but more stable and take less resources.  

The key question here is are you actually seeing a performance impact? Do you see instability or slowness because Windows is using that memory, or are you just worried because you see it being used?

Crystal: CPU: i7 7700K | Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z270F | RAM: GSkill 16 GB@3200MHz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti FE | Case: Corsair Crystal 570X (black) | PSU: EVGA Supernova G2 1000W | Monitor: Asus VG248QE 24"

Laptop: Dell XPS 13 9370 | CPU: i5 10510U | RAM: 16 GB

Server: CPU: i5 4690k | RAM: 16 GB | Case: Corsair Graphite 760T White | Storage: 19 TB

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11 hours ago, RTXboy123 said:

One odd behavior I have seen about Windows, in terms of memory management, is that it takes more memory when more RAM available to the system, and it compromises on memory when there is less RAM is the system. And yes, I am EXCLUDING cache (standby). I did an experiment. My device has 4 GB of RAM. And Windows with some optimizations, on a restart, takes about 1.6 GB of memory. Now, with msconfig, I set my memory to only 2 GB. After a restart, Windows took a lot less memory. At first it took a bit, but it suddenly dropped in memory usage after a while. It took about 1 GB of memory. If I see people with a lot of RAM, I do see the memory is a lot too, and heck, a guy on YouTube made a video on a system with 2 TB of RAM, and Windows, when idle, without any background tasks, took 27 GB of memory, and 8 GB of cache! So is there a way to make Windows compromise on memory so that I have more memory left?

Yes, since Windows Vista (and part of the freak-outs, until people forgot about it by the time Win7 came out), Windows memory usage is adapted based on your system specs.

If you have 2GB of RAM, Windows Vista/7/8/10/11 will all adapted accordingly. In the case of Windows 10 and consume around 1.2GB of RAM, if I remember correctly when I did the test a while back, if you have 2GB of RAM.

 

When things are on RAM, it deliver a faster computing experience in terms of using the system. Things feels faster and more responsive as a result.

Windows XP and prior versions had an aggressive algorithm white put everything on the pagefile as it can, regardless of how much RAM you had free. So, more RAM didn't equal more performance if you had enough for the OS and programs. Windows XP was designed for 128MB of RAM (that is 128MB is the min specs, XP used less, and you had some memory for basic tasks, without using page file), so after 256MB of RAM it was a quick diminishing return in terms of using the system. A fix to this was to disable page file, which forced XP to use the RAM. The experience improvement was notable.  Of course, you had programs and games that would crash as you are our of RAM quickly (or all the free memory chunks in your RAM were not big enough for a program to operate or even open, and so crash)

 

In an ideal world, your RAM would the size of your drive, and everything is on there. No more loading, everything is ready. Actually, no, in an ideal world, the L1 cache of your CPU would be the size of your drive(s), and everything would be there, forgoing RAM... and teh GPU vRAM would have direct access to the L1 cache of the CPU.... really eliminating any loading... but.. yea...anyways...

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