Learn how to reduce RAM usage on your Windows computer, using several methods to boost your PC’s performance. Need to learn how to free up RAM on your computer, perhaps after seeing messages that your Windows PC is low on memory? Don’t fear; we have many tips to reduce your RAM usage on Windows.
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Let’s take a look at some practical steps to clear RAM and keep your computer running smoothly. These apply to both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
What Is RAM and What Is It For?
Random Access Memory is referred to as RAM. It is a form of temporary storage for the applications and processes that are now active on your computer.
The more RAM your computer has, the more apps you can run simultaneously without performance suffering. When your computer’s RAM is low, it uses the page file, a section of the storage drive, which simulates RAM. You experience slowdowns when Windows has to use this since it operates considerably more slowly than actual RAM.
You will lose the contents of RAM when your computer turns off since it is volatile. Any information you want to save must be saved to a hard drive or solid-state drive for permanent storage. Because of this, if your computer shuts off when you have a Word document open and you haven’t yet saved it, for instance.
8 Methods How to Free Up RAM on Your Windows PC
Let’s examine several strategies for lowering your RAM usage. Although you shouldn’t have to do this frequently, these techniques are useful if you do.
1 Restart your computer.
This advice for troubleshooting other issues is probably something you already know, but it’s well-liked for a reason.
Your computer will restart all currently operating processes and completely free the RAM. While it is obvious that doing this won’t increase the amount of RAM you can use, it will clear off any background activities that might be using up your memory. You might not be aware of some procedures that are currently active.
Particularly if you use your computer constantly, you should restart it frequently to prevent it from becoming clogged. Restart your computer if it has been a week since you last did so and it is acting slow.
Utilise Windows tools to check RAM usage
Windows has features to show you what is utilising your RAM, so you don’t have to hazard a guess. Start by searching for the Task Manager in the Start menu or by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut.
If necessary, click More information to expand to the full view. To order all programmes from most to least RAM-intensive, click the Memory header under the Processes tab. Remember the apps you see here since we’ll talk more about them later. Remember that larger apps require more RAM, so consuming a lot of RAM isn’t always a bad thing. For example, a basic notepad programme will use less RAM than a browser with a dozen tabs active.
Go to the Performance tab for further details. You may view a graph of your RAM usage over time in the Memory section. You can view more information on the Memory tab of this tool by selecting Open Resource Monitor at the bottom.
Remove or disable any unnecessary software
Having seen which applications consume the most RAM on your computer, consider if you actually use them. Preventing programmes from using RAM that you never use anyhow is a simple technique to reduce RAM usage.
You should uninstall any apps that have been running in the background even though you haven’t used them in months because they are a waste of computer resources. To do this, go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and select any programme you want to uninstall.
Keep Your Apps Updated
For security reasons, you should always update your apps when they become available, but you can also save RAM by doing this.
Memory leaks, which happen when a programme doesn’t return RAM to the pool once it has finished consuming those resources, affect some apps. Such apps will gradually consume more RAM, leaving less space for other apps on your machine. Installing the most recent version should presumably contain a patch for any memory leak issues an app may have.
Aside from this, the most recent versions of apps may incorporate optimization and upgrades to reduce the overall RAM usage of the programme.
Manage running programmes and utilise lighter apps
What if the apps consuming RAM on your computer are essential to your workflow yet you really need to clean RAM? You have two options for handling this
First, whenever possible, try choosing lighter app alternatives. Try using a lesser software like Paint.NET or GIMP for quick modifications if Photoshop causes your machine to run slowly. Use Photoshop only if you are really committed to working on a project.
Second, focus more intently on the open programmes. Any software that isn’t being used right now should be closed. When you’re finished working on a file, make a habit of saving it before closing the application in which it is open. Close open browser tabs after saving them for later reading (or utilise a read-it-later service like Pocket) to free up RAM. RAM can be made available by controlling what is operating at once more carefully.
Make sure you click the tiny arrow in the bottom-right corner of your screen to expand the System Tray part of the taskbar. Every programme that has an icon here is now operating in the background, so you should right-click on anything you don’t need and select Exit or Close (then use the steps above to prevent it from running at startup every time).
If RAM consistently vanishes from your computer, it’s worthwhile to scan it for viruses. Naturally, rogue software that steals resources will eat up your RAM.
We advise performing a Malwarebytes scan. Even while you hope it doesn’t, you can at least eliminate the potential.
Modify Windows’ Virtual Memory
The paging file was described earlier. If error warnings indicating that your system is running low on virtual memory appear, you can try to increase this to maintain performance steady.
Go to Settings > System > About to do this. Clicking Advanced system settings on this page will bring up a new window. On Windows 10, if you don’t see this link, enlarge the Settings window horizontally until it does. Under Device specifications in the Related links section of Windows 11 is where you may find it.
Click the Settings button under Performance in the new box’s Advanced tab. Once more switching to the Advanced tab, click the Change button under the Virtual memory section to open a new window.
The size of your primary drive’s paging files is now visible to you. The Automatically manage paging file size for all discs option may typically be left checked, allowing Windows to handle it. You might need to uncheck this and increase the Initial size and Maximum size if your virtual memory is getting low.
Use ReadyBoost to increase your RAM.
Try the less well-known Windows function called ReadyBoost if your computer is outdated and only has a small amount of RAM. By doing this, you can insert a flash drive or SD card and have Windows treat them as additional RAM.
Although it sounds nice, this functionality is currently not very useful. No action will be taken by ReadyBoost if your machine has an SSD. Because an SSD is quicker than a flash drive, using the paging file rather than the USB drive as RAM is more effective.
You also won’t benefit as much from ReadyBoost as you would on a dated machine because modern PCs come with more RAM installed by default. The performance advantages from using extra genuine RAM are greater than those using ReadyBoost’s “fake RAM.”
Therefore, ReadyBoost only allows you to boost the effective RAM on outdated systems. In all other circumstances, you must upgrade your computer yourself in order to add more RAM.
There’s just no way around it: you need to add more RAM to your computer if you constantly run out of RAM or want to run multiple programmes at once. If your computer hasn’t had much RAM up until now, upgrading RAM will result in significantly better performance, even though it does cost money.
If you’re wondering how to increase your RAM, you must physically install more memory sticks into your computer. Online claims that you can “download extra RAM” are joking; you can’t add memory in this way.
How Do RAM Cleaners Fare?
You’ve probably encountered RAM cleaning tools that claim to give your RAM a boost in a variety of methods. We advise staying away from these even though they seem excellent in principle.
For more information on why, look at our article on one such app, CleanMem. In conclusion, RAM boosters are, at best, placebos because they “free up” RAM by removing it from likely-needing apps.
It’s a challenging problem in computing to manage memory. The professionals who created Windows have a much better understanding of how to achieve this than some random guy who makes RAM cleaning. Making the most of the resources at your disposal is not necessarily an issue for your computer when it uses the majority of the RAM that is available.
One crucial computer upgrade is RAM.
We’ve looked at a number of techniques for releasing RAM on Windows 10 and 11. The best course of action for RAM-related difficulties is ultimately to add additional physical RAM to your computer, especially if they occur frequently. You can decide whether this is required by going through the aforementioned stages, though.