Solved Memory Usage 50% at Idle

VFN

Member
My memory usage is at 50% when no programs are running. I just downloaded several updates and I'm not sure if that has to do with it, but restarting after the updates was unusual and restarting generally now seems to take longer as if there's a delay in the process of getting to the sign-in screen.

I don't tend to look at my memory usage but I did a month ago in checking my virus scan. During that scan my memory usage was essentially flat at 500 MB or 25%.

Thanks

Added a shot of processes of all users while idle.

About 2.5 hours after posting I closed the installed programs window I was looking at and saw the desktop icons kind of flicker. I checked my memory usage at idle and it was down to 38%.

Restarted, back to 50%.
 

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My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
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richc46

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Sorry that you are having problem, but its easy to check
With system restore go back to pre update times. If memory is usage is back to normal that is the problem.
Now restore the updates one at a time, to find the culprit. Report back and lets see what we can do.
If uninstalling the upadates does not work, report back and we will test the memory and check for other possiblities.
 

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MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
The ones at the top of the memory hog list are svchost.exe. You need to right click and select Go To Services. TM will then show you which service it is running. If those are related to the updates then you are probably right.

But as Rich says, the quick fix is to run a Restore Point from before the update. Update should have made one before it started making any changes to your system.

Also you might look through the updates and see what they are for. If a particular one is for a system you don't use, it may be all downside and no upside installing it. The more variables in the equation the more permutations you have to go through to weed out the bad updates. It uses quite a bit of time if you have installed say, 1/2 fixes in one shot. I prefer to put on a Service Pack or just an individual fix I know I need, rather than just whatever is issued that week.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
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    Phenom X4 9850
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    8 GB
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    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
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    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

VFN

Member
Thanks for responding.

I just woke my pc from sleep and the idle usage is at 35%. I did what Miles suggested and I've posted the pic of the services running. The updates I installed yesterday were 3 .NET Framework security, 2 Vista 64 security and malware removal tool. I'll be away from my pc for several days so I can't try a restore now or anything that you may suggest after reading this. However, I'll check in on this thread while I'm away.

I should add that I have no idea if the updates were at fault. I hadn't looked at my memory usage for a month so the issue may've existed anytime after that.
 

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My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Vista Home Premium x64
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 546
    CPU
    Sempron LE-1300
    Memory
    2GB DDR SDRAM 800MHZ-2X1GB DIM M
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated ATI Radeon HD3200
    Sound Card
    VIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" HDTV
    Screen Resolution
    1366 x 768
    Hard Drives
    320GB NCQ Serial ATA (7200 RPM) w/ 16MB DataBurst Cache

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
There's also a chance it's just the prefetcher loading up your system with cached apps. Try loading a whole slew of programs you don't use often. Then close them all. Look in Task Manager. You may see lots of free memory as it discards the cached programs to make room. That could be all it is. I noticed on my Vista 64 8 GB system I only had about 1 GB unused. I loaded up a bunch of apps as I mentioned. The next couple of days it returned to normal, for my setup. I only let Superfetch cache boot files. Usually I have over 3.5 GB Unused(I usually only have 2 or 3 apps open simultaneously. Not country Tray Hotkey stuff.)

Also use Ram Map from
Windows Sysinternals: Documentation, downloads and additional resources

It gives a color coded bar graph of memory usage similar to that in Windows Seven. You can see what's happening at a glance.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
    CPU
    Phenom X4 9850
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

Cytherian

Vista Guru
I wouldn't worry about 50% of the memory being used. Windows tries to use as much of it as it can, instead of caching data on the hard drive. I find I'm very often at 70-80% used. I have no performance issues that I can complain about either.

If you're experiencing a lot of performance lag when using your computer, then you might want to peruse the performance and maintenance tutorials. There are lots of good tips in the articles posted there that should certainly help you increase the performance of your system.


Also... I don't know how long you've had your system, but if you're talking like 3-4 years and you've done a lot of installing/uninstalling on your system, it may be time to do a complete hard disk format and a re-install of your operating system. I have found a marked improvement after doing this. And... after doing it and applying the service packs (1 and 2) and numerous updates, as well as software install, backup your system right then and there... because you can always restore from that backup and save yourself a lot of time.

Lastly, consider getting an SSD (solid state) or SSD+HD (hybrid) drive. SSD's are super fast, although a bit expensive depending upon the size you get. I bought a hybrid, which is kind of the best of both worlds (you get near SSD performance but for a marginal cost above a regular HD [hard drive]). My cold boot up time went from just under 5 minutes (for a usable desktop--all start up processes completed) to just over 1 minute. Yes, 1 minute 15 seconds and my desktop is ready to go! All for just $60. It was hands down the best investment I've made in my laptop. Everything seems to work faster, especially where the hard drive was involved (like streaming videos that are cached on the HD).
 

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MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I agree 50% memory use doesn't indicate the OP should hit the panic button. But if it's a sudden change for no perceptible reason, it may be wise to take a look what may be causing it.

On my Vista 64 machine usually I have over 3 GB free ram. But right after a video mux that might go down to less than 500 MB free. It gradually moves back to the usual level unless I do more muxing.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
    CPU
    Phenom X4 9850
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

whs

Vista Guru
Gold Member
You are a lucky man. At least half of the RAM you paid for is being used, LOL.

But seriously, you have no problem. With a small RAM of 2GB I would not expect any different. If it bothers you, install more RAM. The Dimms are cheap these days.

I have the opposite problem. My RAM is hardly being used although I paid good money for it.
 

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    6 external disks 60 to 640GBs
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    Also 1xHP desktop, 1xHP laptop, 1xGateway laptop

roy69

47,65,65,6B
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I agree with the above post. Unless you start having serious problems (such as running out of ram and using the HD as a swap file like in the old days) then dont worry. Prefetch files are very common and it is the OS only trying to speen things up.
 

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MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
You may be able to get the system to leave a bit more ram free by setting Superfetch to only cache boot files. That's how I have it set. There seems to be yet another undocumented thing going on here. If you look at the MS docs it just says to Set EnablePrefetcher to 2. The EnableSuperfetch key is supposed to be 0 for disabled or 1 for enabled. But I notice when I look at the defaults they set the OS up with, they are both set to 3. Prefetch both boot files and programs. So I set them both to 2 and that seems to actually work.

In the article below set both registry keys to 2 if you only want to cache boot files.

www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/change-superfetch-to-only-cache-system-boot-files-in-vista/
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
    CPU
    Phenom X4 9850
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

whs

Vista Guru
Gold Member
I would not muck around with Superfetch. This is a great feature and any changes will most likely slow your system down. The objective should be to use as much RAM as possible. No other storage media is faster than RAM.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell
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    Q6600
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    4GB
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    Also 1xHP desktop, 1xHP laptop, 1xGateway laptop

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I would not muck around with Superfetch. This is a great feature and any changes will most likely slow your system down. The objective should be to use as much RAM as possible. No other storage media is faster than RAM.
It works much better in W7 than Vista. On my W7 machine(2 GB ram) I use a page file and have Superfetch set with default 3's. On this Vista 64 PC caching only boot runs better. Perhaps because I have 8 GB and run no page file.

Anyway, it's not like the universe comes to an end if you turn Superfetch off. Unlike killing the page file, the system will boot no matter what. You can always just set them back to 3's and reboot. Just make sure you are changing the correct settings and back up your Registry first. Restore Point, ERUNT, system image, combination of all 3.

I guess the mystery is, with only 2 GB why was this guy getting more than 50% free in the first place? :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
    CPU
    Phenom X4 9850
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

VFN

Member
Thanks for all the info.

I'll be back to my pc in a few days and will see how things are then. What I didn't mention, because I didn't think it really mattered, is that my hard drive only has about 10% space free. Not sure I had that much more a month ago when my memory usage was lower than it is now so....
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Vista Home Premium x64
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 546
    CPU
    Sempron LE-1300
    Memory
    2GB DDR SDRAM 800MHZ-2X1GB DIM M
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated ATI Radeon HD3200
    Sound Card
    VIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" HDTV
    Screen Resolution
    1366 x 768
    Hard Drives
    320GB NCQ Serial ATA (7200 RPM) w/ 16MB DataBurst Cache

whs

Vista Guru
Gold Member
In principle the HDD coverage should not have any interaction with the RAM coverage. But only 10% free HDD will get you into other problems. If I remember right, defrag needs 15% of free space and pretty soon, you will not be able to make any system updates. So it is time to weed out that HDD.

My first check would be the restore points (shadowstorage). Run this command:

vssadmin list shadowstorage

and check how much Allocated space you have.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell
    CPU
    Q6600
    Memory
    4GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207h
    Hard Drives
    2x250GB HDDs
    1x60GB OCZ SSD
    6 external disks 60 to 640GBs
    Other Info
    Also 1xHP desktop, 1xHP laptop, 1xGateway laptop

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
whs has a good point. If creating restore points is a scheduled task and you never remove them, they can pile up.

You can use CCleaner to remove all but one. Or just turn protection off, then back on. Vista doesn't have a percentage disk space usage setting for restore points like W7. But you can set it with this .cmd batch. I call it SetRestorePointMax.cmd but you can name it whatever you please.

Code:
@echo off
echo --
echo --------------  Resizing Restore Point Max to 24 GB
echo --
echo --
vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /Maxsize=24GB
Run it from an administrative command prompt. Replace the 24s if you wish to set the max to something other than 24 GB.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
    CPU
    Phenom X4 9850
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

whs

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Miles, the vssadmin resize command will suffice. No need to run a batch. Be aware that you may lose all but one restore point when you make the shadowstorage smaller - but that is not a big tragedy. Just create a new one after the resize.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell
    CPU
    Q6600
    Memory
    4GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207h
    Hard Drives
    2x250GB HDDs
    1x60GB OCZ SSD
    6 external disks 60 to 640GBs
    Other Info
    Also 1xHP desktop, 1xHP laptop, 1xGateway laptop

VFN

Member
Thanks.

I plan to move many gigs of files to other storage and remove some programs I don't use which I can reinstall if I choose.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Vista Home Premium x64
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 546
    CPU
    Sempron LE-1300
    Memory
    2GB DDR SDRAM 800MHZ-2X1GB DIM M
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated ATI Radeon HD3200
    Sound Card
    VIA High Definition Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 32" HDTV
    Screen Resolution
    1366 x 768
    Hard Drives
    320GB NCQ Serial ATA (7200 RPM) w/ 16MB DataBurst Cache

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Miles, the vssadmin resize command will suffice. No need to run a batch. Be aware that you may lose all but one restore point when you make the shadowstorage smaller - but that is not a big tragedy. Just create a new one after the resize.
I know. I run the batch for the echo commands. Plus it saves typing all those params. Isn't that what batch is for?
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion m9515y
    CPU
    Phenom X4 9850
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Some Radeon Cheapie with 512 MB Ram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    CRT
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    750 GB SATA 3G
    2 SIIG Superspeed docks w/WD Caviar Black Sata II or III

whs

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Don't type, just copy/paste.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell
    CPU
    Q6600
    Memory
    4GB
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP w2207h
    Hard Drives
    2x250GB HDDs
    1x60GB OCZ SSD
    6 external disks 60 to 640GBs
    Other Info
    Also 1xHP desktop, 1xHP laptop, 1xGateway laptop
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