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How to fix high ram usage?

my laptop is really old. i got it way back in 2008, and it still works surprisingly but ive noticed just how slow it runs now. I just use it for watching youtube and playing a really old online MMO so it does its job, but its getting so slow. When idle its RAM usage is at 40% and despite trying plenty of fixes nothing seems to work.

when i check the resource monitor it says svchost.exe is using the most ram. I have tried ending all the services it allows me to and it makes no difference. I even restored my laptop to its factory setting and the RAM usage is still high. it goes as high as 70% when im surfing the net.

I know didly squat when it comes to computers so im sorr if this is a stupid question, but is there anyway to the high RAM consumption, or is it simply that my laptop is an OAP now?

here are my specs:
model: aspire 6920
processor: intel core duo cpu t5750 @2.00ghz
RAM: 3gb
When idle its RAM usage is at 40%...when i check the resource monitor it says svchost.exe is using the most ram...I even restored my laptop to its factory setting and the RAM usage is still high.
Welcome to Vista Forums sezra. The first thing that comes to mind these days is the Windows Update issue that seems to affect everyone running Vista and is described in http://www.vistax64.com/windows-updates/303992-windows-update-just-seems-hang-while-checking.html If one particular instance of svchost.exe is consuming 50% of CPU, open Windows Update and see if it is either checking for updates (which can take "forever" these days) or downloading updates (which has also become part of the problem in recent months). If it is, try setting Windows Update to "never check for updates" and restarting Windows. If RAM usage returns to normal, then we have a workaround that should enable you to get current with Windows updates. But if you were already aware of the Windows Update issue and it is not the cause of your high RAM usage, then I'm not sure what to suggest. Vista has always been a resource hog, but 3 GB of RAM and a dual-core processor should be sufficient.
HI, thanks for the reply. I turned off automatic updates and the RAM consumption has dropped a little. it now sits at about 21% when idle and is 35% when surfing the net. it still seems a little high so i'll have a read of the link you posted.

At least disabling automatic updates has made a difference.
For your RAM detective investigating, in addition to the very good Resource Monitor in Vista, I would also recommend the most excellent Microsoft Process Monitor, which you can download from here:

It's quite intuitive to use and gives some good insight into the running processes/threads/services/files/etc.

I ran it on my system just now, and I was reminded of how much RAM Firehog...err, Firefox...consumes. If you're using Firefox for your browser, and have, say, three or four tabs open, that's probably 300K right there.
RAM consumption has dropped a little. it now sits at about 21% when idle and is 35% when surfing the net. it still seems a little high...
I really don't find your RAM usage alarming at all. When you say your laptop is "getting so slow," do you mean your browser is slow? If so, what browser and version number are you using? Certain add-ons can slow down a browser considerably.

If you need assistance with Windows updates, view your update history and let us know the "Date Installed" of your last successful batch of Windows updates.
I have a couple of older laptops that are identical except for one or two internal adapters.

One has OEM version of Windows XP installed while the other OEM version of Windows Vista 32-bit.
The Windows XP laptop with all the latest Windows Update install runs well without any problems.

The Windows Vista 32-bit laptop ran well under Windows Vista SP1. When I installed Vista SP2 it seemed to run slower but was ok. However after turning on Windows Update which installed all the latests SP2 fixes it ran terrible and started to creep to a crawl.

Your 2008 Laptop was tested to work under certain versions of Windows. Most likely Windows XP and Windows Vista. State Date of Windows 7 wasn't until 2009.

A Windows Vista install, a laptop is going to run slower than under Windows XP. The original Windows Vista install that came with the laptop, manufacture tested, may have been either SP1 or SP2. Which may have run faster and perhaps better than your current installation.

The laptop I've tested under Windows Vista SP2 with the latest windows updates have significantly slowed down the laptop, and ran very poorly when compared to SP1. (was somewhat slower under SP2 without the latest windows updates)

These laptops are from an older generation than your 2008 laptop and the Windows installations with Windows Update were done more than two years ago. Windows Update provides many security fixes and patches for Internet Security. If a PC or laptop isn't required to have Internet Access you should be able to run under a SP1 or pre-SP1.

There are things you can do to speed things things up such as remove pieces of the Windows installation and 3rd party software and drivers.

I have another older PC under Windows Vista 64-bit and often use MSConfig to remove unnecessary background processes and services.
Last edited:

wither 3

Vista Guru
Gold Member
I suggest opening Programs, Accessories, System Tools and selecting the Disk Cleanup utility. When it tells how much space it can recover, make sure that Temporary Files and Empty Recycle Bin are selected. Let it run. Then, reboot. Does that help?

After doing that, you might want to defrag the hard drive using any defragger (The Windows defragger is slow). Also, you can set the Windows Degragger to run on a schedule. The computer needs to be running at the scheduled time.