When using your system, it could get slow or tend to start dragging. This can delay your work or play with the system. Every Windows system still has this problem. In this article, we will explain and highlight eight ways to free up RAM on your Windows computer.
What Is RAM?
Before we dive into tips on how to clear RAM, we’ll briefly describe what RAM does in case you’re not familiar.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, it’s a short-term storage medium that holds programs and processes currently running on your computer.
The more RAM in your machine, the more programs you can run at once without negatively affecting performance. When your computer runs low on RAM, it uses a part of the storage drive called the page file that acts as pretend RAM. This is slower than actual RAM, which is why you notice slowdowns when Windows uses it.
Because RAM is volatile, you’ll lose its contents when your computer shuts off. Anything you want to keep must save to permanent storage, like a hard drive or solid-state drive.
Possible Fixes For Slow System
Now that you’ve got a concept of what RAM is and what it does. It’s time to get into the troubleshooting tips.
Here are the ways to fix RAM issues:
1. Restart Your PC
When you restart your PC, your RAM is automatically cleared and all processes are restarted. This doesn’t in any way increase the RAM present on your system, but it will clear up the useless processes in the background that could be using up memory.
You should restart your computer regularly to keep it from getting bogged down, especially if you use it all the time.
2. Check RAM Usage With Windows Tools
Ultimately, you can locate what processes are eating up your RAM. After you’ve found them, you can cancel them. Here are the steps to follow:
- First, navigate to Task Manager by searching for it in the Start menu, or use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut.
- Click on “More details” and expand the tab fully.
- Next, select the Memory header on the Processes tab to sort from most to least RAM usage.
- Note the apps you see down.
- For more information, switch to the Performance tab. In the Memory section, you’ll see a chart of your RAM usage over time. Click Open Resource Monitor at the bottom and you can get further details on its Memory tab.
The chart at the bottom will show you how much RAM you have free. Sort by Commit (KB) on the top list to see which programs use the most RAM.
3. Clean Up Startup Programs
Unfortunately, fixing memory issues and freeing up your RAM is not usually straightforward. As time goes on, the software you’ve installed and neglected can get embedded into your system but may not consume RAM constantly.
In this case, these programs won’t come up at the top of the list in the Task Manager. However, they are part of the list of programs that launch every time your computer starts and contribute to chewing away at your available RAM. Here’s out to sort that out:
- Still in the Task Manager, click on the Startup tab.
- Then sort the list by the Startup impact field.
- Next, identify applications you don’t recognize or don’t need.
- Lastly, right-click on the application and select Disable.
When each of these programs opens, they devour a bit of memory individually. They all run in the background and consume your RAM. Disabling them from running at startup prevents this from happening.
4. Use Lighter Apps and Manage Programs
What if you need to cut down on RAM usage, but the apps hogging RAM are necessary to your workflow? You can handle this in two ways.
First, try downloading the lite versions of the applications instead of the regular ones. If your computer suffers when you have Photoshop open, try using a smaller app like Paint.NET or GIMP for minor edits. Only use Photoshop when you’re fully dedicated to working on a project.
Secondly, pay more attention to the programs you have running. Close any software that you’re not actively working with. Bookmark open browser tabs that you want to read later, then close them to free up RAM. Keeping a tighter leash on what’s open will help free up RAM. Google Chrome is notorious for eating huge amount of RAM
5. Reduce Windows Visual Effects
Windows 10 features a lot of consuming visual effects for Windows, menus, tooltips and more. If you have plenty of RAM, these visual effects aren’t an issue.
But if you’re running with a bare minimum of available RAM, disabling these effects can significantly increase available memory.
To disable Windows visual effects:
- First, launch File Explorer, right-click on “This PC”, and click on Properties.
- Then, on the left side of this window, click on Advanced system settings.
- Next, in the Performance section, click on the Settings button.
- In the Performance Options window, select Adjust for best performance.
You’ll notice that all the animated features are disabled with this setting. If you want, you can instead select Custom, and then enable any of the visual effects that you can’t do without.
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6. Scan for Malware
Viruses and malware can also affect your RAM. They can mimic high-end processes, raising your RAM usage. It’s advisable to search for malware on your PC. Rogue software stealing resources will obviously suck up your available RAM.
We recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes. Hopefully, it won’t find anything, but at least you can rule out the possibility.
7. Install More RAM
Installing more RAM is possible. This seems like a permanent fix to this issue but you also have to take cognizance of the remaining fixes also. Adding more RSM improves your PC’s overall performance by a stretch.
If you’re wondering how to get more RAM, know that it’s only possible to increase your RAM by opening up your system and adding a new upgrade to your RAM slot. Rumors online about “downloading more RAM” are fake; it’s impossible to add memory this way.
On a desktop, increasing your RAM is a pretty simple upgrade. But due to the confined space on a laptop, it may be difficult or even impossible on portable machines. You’ll also need to make sure you buy RAM that’s compatible with your system.
8. Check for Device Driver Issues
As you use your system, it gradually becomes outdated. You need a constant update of your system and its components. One of such components is the Device Driver. When this feature becomes outdated, memory dysfunctions tend to come up. Your computer becomes defunct and this leads to excessive RAM consumption.
It’s important to make sure your system is clear of device driver issues. You can check this quickly by using the Device Manager. Follow the steps below:
- First, go to the Control Panel and double click Device Manager.
- Next, expand each branch inside the Device Manager and look for a yellow exclamation mark icon. This is an alert for a driver issue.
- If you find an alert, right-click on the device and select Update Driver.
Try to let the system look for the latest drivers online if you can. Otherwise, you’ll need to log on to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver.
Keeping any device issues clear and all your drivers updated will ensure your system is running smoothly and drivers aren’t causing memory issues.
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