RAM usage under XP

Why so high

With no programs running, my RAM usage is showing at 200Mb (out of 512 installed).

Why is this and can I reduce it?



What are you looking at? The reason I ask is becuase if you are looking at the Task Manager, you need to understand what they are really saying. The little graph is a measure of all the virtual memory allocated to the OS (AKA the “commit charge”). Use Perfromance Monitor to get an accurate reading of the physical memory used with a graph. Also, just becuase memory is showing as used doesn’t mean it is not available. A perfect example is SQL server. SQL server gobbles up a ton of a RAM, but most of it isn’t necessarily really used. It is more or less putting place holders out there telling the system “this is mine if I choose to use it”. In XP there is a lot to the memory management that does funny things like this to allow programs access to memory faster. I guess what I am saying is that if you don’t have other processes running, you are probably fine. Do some reading on Windows XP memory management and you will find all sorts of shuffling and weirdness Microsoft has developed to make things faster. On the other hand, you may just have some background process that is a pig. :)

EDIT: Read this. It gives a description of what all the counters in Task Manager are really measuring.

I ran into memory problems recently with N running and I guess around 8 out of 12 midi tracks patched through VSTis. I found that I couldn’t load the 30MB NS-Kit drums in SFZ due to there not being enough memory. I checked this with the system tools in Wondows and sure enough my 256MB memory was all but used up.

I upgraded with an extra 128MB of memory that I had “spare”. Now you would have thought (well I did anyway) that adding an extra 128MB should leave me with at least 128MB spare memory when I repeated the above exercise. Not so! I still couldn’t grab enough memory to do the deed.

I resorted to exporting the midi track into a new project and did what I needed to do to it in there. With no other VSTis running I had enough memory to do the job. I wouldn’t say memory was plentiful though.

I would be interested to know what is going on here.

I agree, the “system” just seems to be down-right greedy.

I remember in the oooold days I used to use something called “end-it-all” to shut down unwanted stuff; I wonder if there is some way of limiting the amount of RAM that the thing hogs for itself. I was thinking of getting more RAM (I’ve 512Mb at present) but it’s hard to see the point if it just gets pinched.

Mike F


“End It All” still works with XP Pro. I installed it for the very reason you describe. I have XP Pro and 512 Meg of RAM. What I was experiencing is…when I would cut text from the internet and attempt to paste it to my word processor I would get the “out of memory” error. So I configured “End It All” to kill all unwanted apps. Now everything works fine. You would be surprised to see how much garbage is running in the background…stuff you didn’t even know you had on your system let alone not need to have running.



Hey, Don where do you find this “end it all” program? Is it a free download? Please reply. Thanks


This should work:)


I noticed you said you has some spare memory sitting around and you placed it in your computer? What motherboard? Do your memory sticks match in terms of performance (nanoseconds, Mhz, etc)?


Yep. Added memory with no problems. Shows up as working without problems in all system utilities I have. Just doesn’t get used the way I want it to be used :(

I found another RAM utility yesterday called “Clean RAM” which scans and frees up RAM at startup. Now everything runs faster and no “out of memory” errors. Sorry, I don’t remember the link but do a Google search for it. The same for EndItAll.