Question Help Me Understand How To Better Grasp Task Manager

Aug 13, 2021
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(Not sure if this belongs in this section of the forum, but if not Mods please move to where it belongs)


Im trying to get a better understanding of the Task Manager. More specifically the Memory being used.
I dont have a beefy computer by any means:
Ryzen 5 1600
Seagate 2TB Baracuda SATA 6GB 64MB Cache
Ripjaw 4 Series 16gb (2 x 8GB) DDR4
GeForce 1050 Ti
Win 10 Home

When I open Task Manager I understand what Im seeing, but in some aspects and situations I dont understand.

Something like this would be a real life example - I could have open:
  • FireFox w/ 20+ tabs open (1800+MB)
  • (3) Chrome Profiles w/ a collective total tabs between the 3 profiles around 50+ (2200 MB)
  • (3) Different Windows Explorer File Folders open (40 MB)
  • Discord (200MB)
  • Excel (20MB)
  • Notepad++ (12MB)
  • (2 or 3) Random small programs that only take up (20-40MB each)
  • Malwarebytes (13MB)
MEMORY USAGE IN TASK MANAGER 98%

Ok, this I understand. I have wayyyy too many processes and multitasking going on for my what Im working with spec wise. Too much work and not enough workers, therefor every action I try to perform takes forever to complete.
_

Now, using the same scenario, I have made the following changes and this is where I would like guidance and understanding.
(Unless noted below the same programs listed above are also open below)

  • Using the 1 Tab Add-On within FireFox the usage went from around 1800MB to 475MB
  • Closed Google Chrome Completely
*MEMORY USAGE IN TASK MANAGER 75%
__

Just to add another variable, I ended the FireFox task, which dropped my Memory Usage to 67%
__

Every App I have open now is collectively below 200MB in total
How or why is this possible?

FireFox and Chrome both being open in the 1st example I provided is collectively around 4GB of Memory, which makes my Memory Usage go up from 67% to 98% (+31%)
The Apps I have open now are like 5% of what FF & Chrome take up from a Memory perspective ( 200 is 5% of 4000)

Im not good at Math, so Ill show my work:
  • The Apps running in the examples without Chrome or FF running is around 200MB collectively (1/5th of 1 GB)
  • FF & Chrome running is collectively 4000MB (4GB)
How can around 200MB create 65%+ Memory usage, but adding considerably higher Memory consuming Apps only raise the Memory Percentage 31%?
200MB = 65% Memory Usage
Adding 4000MB = 31% more


Thanks for any help
 

punkncat

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Check to see what your background apps and run in the background apps are. By default (for instance) when you close Chrome, it's still running the background for faster launch. Edge is the same way. You may also have a great deal of other items running by default.
 
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Aug 13, 2021
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Check to see what your background apps and run in the background apps are. By default (for instance) when you close Chrome, it's still running the background for faster launch. Edge is the same way. You may also have a great deal of other items running by default.
I will do that now and reply back, but while Im thinking of this Im going to ask now.

On a fresh install of Windows 10 and after the initial boot up for the first time, what should your Memory % be if you have at least 16GB of DDR4 RAM? I always feel like mine is significantly higher than it should be regardless of the situation or circumstances. If that makes sense
 

Lafong

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I will do that now and reply back, but while Im thinking of this Im going to ask now.

On a fresh install of Windows 10 and after the initial boot up for the first time, what should your Memory % be if you have at least 16GB of DDR4 RAM? I always feel like mine is significantly higher than it should be regardless of the situation or circumstances. If that makes sense
My PC normally idles between 3 and 4 GB; right now using 4.4 after maybe 10 hours running today. I have 8 installed. If you have 16, it may be a little higher.
 
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USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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I agree with the above. 20-25% of use is normal without intervention. After turning off things that don't need to be, or aren't critical to startup, something just around 2.5-3-ish is possible.
Also, Windows adjusts itself to the amount of RAM available.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.

On a system with only 4GB, you can see 2.5GB in use at idle, with NO efforts made to debloat or anything.
Just a vanilla Win 10 Pro install.

On a system with 16-32GB, that exact same usage might reach to 6GB at idle.

Unless the system is really running out of resources, it is not really something to worry about.
 
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Also, Windows adjusts itself to the amount of RAM available.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.

On a system with only 4GB, you can see 2.5GB in use at idle, with NO efforts made to debloat or anything.
Just a vanilla Win 10 Pro install.

On a system with 16-32GB, that exact same usage might reach to 6GB at idle.

Unless the system is really running out of resources, it is not really something to worry about.
Maybe thats part of what I dont understand.
If Win 10 is installed on 2 identical systems with the only difference being how much RAM is installed/available then (1 w/ 16-32GB RAM) & (1 w/ 8GB or less) whats Windows doing in the background to use more RAM on 1 build, but not the other if both builds have a fresh install and are sitting idle at initial boot up?

Thats a pretty significant difference. Just because the RAM is available Windows uses more of it to do the same thing its doing with less on a exact same build with the only difference how much RAM is installed & available?
 

Lafong

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Just because the RAM is available Windows uses more of it to do the same thing its doing with less on a exact same build with the only difference how much RAM is installed & available?
I think that is right and deliberately so...a system with 16 has a greater cushion than a system with 8.

People have been fighting Windows memory management forever and will probably continue to do so. I continually read that the best advice is to let that be because Microsoft has devoted tens of thousands of hours testing for the best compromise. Not that everyone will be mollified by the testing.

Additionally, on an established system I think Windows makes some assumptions about what your tendencies are.....what you might want to do next, based on your prior history.

And therefore different stuff is in RAM than would be on a fresh install that has no prior history.
 
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USAFRet

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Maybe thats part of what I dont understand.
If Win 10 is installed on 2 identical systems with the only difference being how much RAM is installed/available then (1 w/ 16-32GB RAM) & (1 w/ 8GB or less) whats Windows doing in the background to use more RAM on 1 build, but not the other if both builds have a fresh install and are sitting idle at initial boot up?

Thats a pretty significant difference. Just because the RAM is available Windows uses more of it to do the same thing its doing with less on a exact same build with the only difference how much RAM is installed & available?
Yes.

My little Asus Transformer with 4GB RAM will sit at idle with about 2-2.5GB consumed.

My Win 10 HTPC with 32GB RAM idles at 3.5-4GB.

While not identical hardware, 2 different systems, both Win 10 Pro.




When/if YOU and your applications need RAM space, it adjusts.

Unused RAM is wasted RAM.
 
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geofelt

Titan
Windows manages the space for your apps as best it can.
It will keep unused code resident in ram on speculation that it might be reused.
High occupancy rates are not bad, in fact, a bit of good.
The key test as to if you have sufficient ram is to look at the hard fault page rate.
A hard fault happens when you need some ram and it is not resident.
The page manager will swap out code to the page file to make room for what you need.
This takes time on a HDD, much faster on a ssd.
You can get the hard fault page rate by accessing the resource monitor/memory tab.
If you see any hard fault page rate in excess of zero, you need more ram, or you need fewer tasks running.
 
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Yes.

My little Asus Transformer with 4GB RAM will sit at idle with about 2-2.5GB consumed.

My Win 10 HTPC with 32GB RAM idles at 3.5-4GB.

While not identical hardware, 2 different systems, both Win 10 Pro.




When/if YOU and your applications need RAM space, it adjusts.

Unused RAM is wasted RAM.
Windows manages the space for your apps as best it can.
It will keep unused code resident in ram on speculation that it might be reused.
High occupancy rates are not bad, in fact, a bit of good.
The key test as to if you have sufficient ram is to look at the hard fault page rate.
A hard fault happens when you need some ram and it is not resident.
The page manager will swap out code to the page file to make room for what you need.
This takes time on a HDD, much faster on a ssd.
You can get the hard fault page rate by accessing the resource monitor/memory tab.
If you see any hard fault page rate in excess of zero, you need more ram, or you need fewer tasks running.
Ok that does make more sense then. I forgot that "Unused RAM is wasted RAM" and additionally I didnt know Windows would adjust to the moments of need versus just idling. I was just making sure Windows is relinquishing the RAM when the need for it came about. I was having the Win 10 "Disk Usage 100%" for no reason, but was able to Google so DIY fixes and also debloated.

Thanks for you guys' help (y)
 
Another detail here is how OSes will reserve how much RAM will be used by an application when it wants it. OSes will generally reserve more RAM than requested, because often times if there is a request for memory, more will likely follow and it's much faster to overprovision rather than do house keeping for each request.

Also, at least on Windows, apps will have their own so-called page table. From the app's point of view, it's the only thing running on a computer with whatever memory space the computer is capable of. This keeps things simple because the app developer doesn't have to worry about how much RAM a system actually has. However, this page table tends to grow with how much RAM there actually is.

Lastly, though this is a minor detail, 64-bit applications will have some amount of increased memory usage over 32-bit ones because variables that point to a memory address are 64-bit, so they take up twice the space as they would in a 32-bit app. A lot of modern programming languages basically use something like this (a variable that points to memory or something that can act like it)

But in the end, as mentioned, the OS can manage memory just fine. Anyone who thinks they know better than dozens of smart people throwing hundreds of thousands of hours combined at the problem with a simple fix probably doesn't know any better.
 

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