How Can You Free Memory (RAM) In Windows?

By optimizing all your system settings and by monitoring resource usage more carefully, performance slow downs can be avoided, resulting in a smoother and more stable PC environment and experience.

However, this is easier said than done! Learn how you can automatically improve system performance by freeing up RAM in Windows.

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) of your computer is the brain that performs the hundreds of instructions embedded in all programs. Computer memory (e.g. RAM) supplements the CPU to help it perform these programs in the blink of an eye. Working in tandem CPU and RAM allow you to watch movies, play games, write emails, browse the internet and run all other applications on your PC without noticing anything except the user interface.

However is it truly in the blink of an eye? Or has your computer slowed down lately? Are you so fed up from slowing computer response times that you are seriously considering upgrading? Well, as explained in "Improving PC Performance Without Upgrading your Hardware", you may not need to upgrade your PC just yet. The solution to your problem may be just a stone's throw away.

When your computer slows down, people usually tell you to upgrade your RAM memory and/or CPU. This may be the case but your computer may be slow for a variety of reasons (read Why do Computers Slow Down?) and investing in hardware upgrades may be a costly and unnecessary exercise that hides the true reason for slowing performance rather than solving it.

In this article you will learn how you can tweak your computer memory without spending a lot of money to upgrade your computer RAM

Complex Applications Take up CPU Time and RAM
The processing power stored in the CPU of a PC is extremely important when running games, movie players, compression products and graphics software. However, when analyzing overall system performance, CPU speed comes second to having sufficient physical memory (RAM) to run these complex applications.

While many of today's computers have enough RAM to store a small library, modern software and media files do require a lot of memory consuming resources. Memory-related problems can cause delays and glitches that can drastically hamper the software being used with, for example, noticeable slowing down of movies (or delays in playback) and games.

By optimizing all your system settings and by monitoring resource usage more carefully, these problems can be avoided, resulting in a smoother and more stable gaming experience.

Windows, Paging Files and Performance
CPUs can only perform one task at a time however all applications have thousands of instructions that need to be performed almost instantaneously so that your experience will be as smooth as possible. To do this, your opreating system (Windows) prioritises among the tasks and allocates system time to each task within the application. The CPU and RAM work in tandem exchanging tasks and instructions that display this article on your screen, for example. If you hit CTRL+ALT+DEL right now, you will notice some 30 or 40 different processes running at the same time.

You will also see two other columns - CPU and MEM Usage. Word, for example, is now using 54k of the memory of my computer at the moment because it is stored in memory while I am using an HTML editor to type and edit this article. The HTML editor is occupying about 54% CPU time. As I switch from Word to the HTML editor, Windows allocates memory and CPU time accordingly to make my experience appear as stable as possible.

When your computer runs out of physical memory, Windows will use your hard drive to store the information that it cannot place in RAM. It will indiscriminately create what is called virtual memory or a paging file (or a swap file) that stores data from RAM that hasn't been used recently to load up and manage the more recent applications.

In comparison to the minute integrated circuitry of a RAM Chip, a mechanical hard drive is not very fast. The read/write speed of the hard drive is slower than RAM and the technology of the former is not designed toward accessing small pieces of data at a time.

This slows down your hard drive and eventually may lead to a system crash. The greater the number of (or the more power-hungry) applications running, the more RAM is required and the larger the paging files may be.

The easiest solution to this problem and perhaps the most expensive is to upgrade your RAM. There are, however, less expensive solutions that will greatly enhance your PC memory.

Ideally, you would want to avoid using the paging file (hence, your hard drive) directly for complicated operations by making sure that there is always enough RAM to execute these programs. On the other hand, a large sound file containing 30 minutes of audio data might not have to be stored in RAM all the time. By moving less important data to the hard drive, making the physical memory available to the applications that really need it, you can improve both performance and stability considerably.

Managing Memory with Performance Optimizers
Windows is indiscriminate when it moves data from RAM to virtual memory. Windows will also use leave a lot of unused information in RAM until this information is explicitly removed by the application that created it or until the RAM is needed by other applications. In addition, the operating system does not know which applications are more important or whether you are going to start a memory-demanding application.

In the article Finding the Right Performance Optimizer, I suggest that performance optimizers are able to substantially boost up your computer performance just by spending less than $30 rather than spending a hundred dollars (plus) just to upgrade your memory. Optimizing your PC is much better than upgrading RAM simply because optimization maximises what you already have taking away the sources of slowdowns. With memory upgrades you do increase the speed of your PC but you don't solve the problem - you just mask it.

By using a performance optimizer to monitor your RAM usage in real time, you can easily find out if there is enough RAM to run your favourite applications. Performance optimizers allow you free up RAM at any time with a single click. This can be very useful if you running a game or play a DivX movie. By freeing up memory before starting a demanding application, you won't have to experience pauses or skipped frames while the application is running. Such performance optimizers like SpeedUpMyPC can also free up memory automatically whenever your memory usage exceeds a certain limit. This can help you avoid running out of resources when running multiple applications, and will also prevent resources-related crashes.

One way I use SpeedUpMyPC, for example, is to monitor RAM and Page-File Memory. I've set warning levels so that as soon as my page file usage reaches a critical level, SpeedUpMyPC will inform me about the situation, giving me enough time to terminate some applications before the computer crashes or stops responding.

I have also written a tutorial article about how you can boost up gaming performance with SpeedUpMyPC. Have a read.

My suggestion at this point is to try SpeedUpMyPC. I did and I've saved a lot of money (plus I can play Civ 3 with only 5% MEM Usage while waiting for the next installment from Firaxis). There's not much to lose: Uniblue guarantees that if you are not satisfied, they will give you a full refund 100% no quibbles!

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