Excessive memory usage in Windows 10?

dogfonos

Well-known Member
I'm trying to understand why my PC (W10 Pro, 32bit, 8GB RAM - 2.16GB useable, Intel Pentium G4400 3.3GHz) seems to use a lot of memory when I haven't even opened any applications (although AVG security opens at startup).

I appreciate that the 64bit version of W10 allows the PC to use more memory and that's on the cards but for now, I'd like to understand what's using a lot of memory. With no apps opened (other than Task Manager) and a few minutes after startup, Task Manager > Processes indicates memory usage of around 70% yet when I add up the individual process memory usages they amount to under 500MB.

Task Manager > Performance > Memory gives other figures relating to memory usage which mean nothing to me (i.e. commited 3.5/5.3GB, page pool 242MB, in use 1.8GB, compressed 102MB, cached 359MB, non-paged pool 135MB, available 340MB, hardware reserved 5.8GB). Note that figures in bracket are with Firefox browser running which pushes memory usage to around 80 - 85% (same effect using Chrome).

Don't know if it's related to memory usage but CPU usage is typically very high too at 90 - 100%. I've tried to read up on memory and CPU issues but this stuff is way above me. I saw one article that said sorting excessive memory usgae is simple then went on to give 80+ steps of instruction! Can anyone suggest relatively straightforward solutions for reducing memory and CPU usage? I'm quite comfortable wiping the PC and clean installing the OP system if that's simpler. Thanks.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
1.8GB is normal, not excessive. It's likely that the 500MB you've added up is just the stuff running under your user profile and the rest will be for the operating system. For comparison my similar G4560 + 8GB system uses 2-2.5GB when idling and shows a similar 500MB of programs.

It's at 70-80% because you've got so little, only 2.2GB of system memory is accessible within the 32-bit limit once other sources are allocated (graphics card etc.)
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
The 500MB memory usage figure is from Task Manager > Processes, not Task Manager > User so, as I understand it, should include all processes currently running, including all Windows processes.

At present (with Firefox running this time), Task Manager states Firefox uses approx. 500 to 550MB of memory and all other processes total approx. 250MB (I quickly added them all up so it's a snapshot but it's a fairly steady figure). That makes a total memory usage of around 750 - 800MB. If my PC has 2.2GB of memory available, as Task Manager states, why is memory usage currently reading a steady 88%? By my reckoning, it should be around 35 to 40%. The maths don't add up.

CPU usage is also very high, typically around 95%. A bit more digging reveals that a process called 'System Interrupts' is frequently at 90+% but can be as low as 10% - it jumps around all over the place. Doesn't seem right. Any ideas?
 

pxr5

Active Member
I had a very similar problem with a Win 10 laptop with 4GB Ram. I even increased the memory to 8GB but always ended up with all the memory being used up. I searched and searched and eventually stumbled upon an issue with a Folder Hider program I had installed (Wise iirc). I wasn't even using it, so uninstalled and all was OK. So may be worth have a look at a program that maybe causing this.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Memory usage is complicated and I don't understand the half of it, but it's perfectly normal that the per-process readings in task manager don't add up to the total amount. As long as the values are in line with other systems and there's no system or application problems that may be memory related then you can assume it's operating fine and as intended.

The figures in task manager are simplifications to help you understand whether you need more physical ram, a larger page file or to troubleshoot which program might be causing issues.

Memory is there to be used, there's little cost for high use like there is for CPU so the system will try and make as much use of it as possible.


The CPU usage isn't normal though, the only process that should be reading 90%+ when you're doing nothing very much is the system idle process.

Looking up system interrupts it appears to correspond to hardware interrupts so you've likely got a misbehaving items of hardware or it's driver. 64-bit Windows uses different drivers IIRC, so that problem may cure itself when you install that.
 

Bolosun

Member
Go into Resource monitor from Task Manager, from there you can drill down into what is using your memory. If my memory serves correctly(pun intended) the usage number is what is allocated to the programs and not what is actually being used. Reboot your system and check the numbers and then open and close the programs. You will see memory still allocated to programs that are closed.
There is a guide here to see if you have a driver gone awol and has a memory leakage. The short version of the guide is to make sure your system drivers are upto date - network ones being one of the main culprits.
 

dogfonos

Well-known Member
Looking up system interrupts it appears to correspond to hardware interrupts so you've likely got a misbehaving items of hardware or it's driver. 64-bit Windows uses different drivers IIRC, so that problem may cure itself when you install that.

Indeed. I looked it up too and consequently lost the will to live. Seems like I needed to work through all my hardware and network drivers to see if they were current. Ye gods!

Anyway, something quite unexpected then happened. I had (yet) another issue with W10 in that a recent Windows Defender update repeatedly failed to install so I tried to sort that out first. To cut a long story short, I eventually tried a solution suggested on the Windows 10 online support pages. I ran 'sfc /scannow' at the command prompt. It reported that everything was fine - and guess what, whilst it didn't help with the Defender update install, it sorted out the 'System Interrupt' high memory usage!?! Bizzare, but that's W10 for you. CPU usage now hovers around 5% instead of 95%. I can only hope this is a permenant remedy.

Go into Resource monitor from Task Manager, from there you can drill down into what is using your memory.
As long as the values are in line with other systems and there's no system or application problems that may be memory related then you can assume it's operating fine and as intended.

I checked out Resource Monitor and now the figures for memory usage add up. Have to say, as suggested by EndlessWaves, nothing seems obviously amiss. To my mind, no single program/service/app is using excessive memory, there's just an awful lot of them. Firefox is by far the greediest memory user (about the same as Chrome though).

I will eventually switch to the 64 bit version of W10 to make use of all the 8GB installed memory. This will be part of a bigger picture upgrade to a dual-boot PC running Ubuntu as my main OS. I'll retain W10 as the secondary OS and only use it when I really have to.

Thanks for your help, folks.
 

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