Why is my RAM using 75% when I'm doing nothing?

Arishok N7

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I'm sitting at my home screen as I watch how over 6GB's of my 8GB's are being used somehow. I literally don't have anything demanding running right now. My CPU is at less than 10% while my RAM is 75%. What is the deal?
 

Arishok N7

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There is nothing demanding running. Nothing out of the ordinary is running on this computer. The biggest thing I have running is a Google Chrome tab.
 

MalakiArtook

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There is a known problem with windows 8. my roommate new computer will freeze up all the time for no apparent reason. and task manager says he is using all of his memory. I've been trying to fix it for months to no avail. There are a lot of solutions to the problem online but none have worked for me. i suggest you just Google it and read up on it.
 

Arishok N7

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That would help if I actually had Windows 8.
 

Arishok N7

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It showed 81 processes from all uses. And it barley went over 1GB when I added it up. I don't understand how that's possible.
 

Stephen Thurman

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You may be suffering from one of the worst bugs out there, one that plagues gamers every day but seems to also happen occasionally with certain installations of Windows; the dreaded Memory Leak. It's an issue with the RAM cached files (taking files normally stored on the hard drive and "floating" them in RAM space for quick access) and don't show up on Task Manager. This has apparently become an issue with Win 8 despite 7 never really having the problem.

Worst case scenario is a flaw in your RAM itself that is making it not able to fully utilize RAM addresses despite showing the computer they exist. Running a low level memory testing program could find this (Hurray! MEMTest is free!), or you might have to swap RAM with another set to see if the issue persists.

Best case is the system plugging up its cache with random crap that is not really needed. While Vista and up are generally pretty good at managing memory, some people still need what is called a Memory Cleaner to keep the clutter down. New versions of this kind of software don't have to force the RAM cleared like they did back in XP days, but can use the built in Windows management system to keep memory cleared out of junk files. I used to run MemTurbo back in the day but there are several usable pieces of software out there.

As to the possibility of malware, even if you don't see it in the Task Manager, it could be there. Stuff is sneaky at times and might be running in a super stealth mode that doesn't show up on the TM. Yes, these kinds of viruses exist but aren't encountered very often since constant changes to how Windows runs certain things makes them difficult to keep up and stay hidden. Some rootkits work this way since they load before Windows. Doing a thorough virus cleaning and rootkit check/removal is time consuming and annoying, but a good idea to put into practice every so often (1x a month or so).
 

Arishok N7

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I've ran malwarebytes and avast. Everything comes back clean, That game memory leak thing sounds like something plausible. The problem is, it didn't always used to do this. It started like a month ago. The thing is, I also have Windows 7 and not 8. If you had to recommended where to start, what should i download first?

 

Stephen Thurman

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Well, having started as a recent issue, this generally points to a virus or physical hardware issue. Could still be a memory leak flaw from Windows, some update that was installed that caused more harm than good. They HAVE been known for that in the past. Run Windows Update again and see if there are any new ones for your system. They usually detect flawed updates and correct them rather quickly.

Running MalwareBytes and AVast are great and all, but the problem with free AV software is that it is generally lacking crucial up to date information. Also, even Norton won't always find and remove a rootkit. To remove a rootkit, one has to go low level, before Windows has even started to boot. McAfee has a free one with instructions here:
http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/how-to-use-rootkitremover.aspx

MalwareBytes has one as well, but it's in beta stages.
https://www.malwarebytes.org/antirootkit/

Norton's:
https://support.norton.com/sp/en/us/home/current/solutions/kb20100824120155EN_EndUserProfile_en_us

Microsoft's virtually useless advice:
http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/mmpc/threat/rootkits.aspx

And my personal favorite, Kapersky:
http://support.kaspersky.com/viruses/solutions/5353

Rootkit detection and removal is a long and boring process but needs to be done every once in a while since protection against them is more difficult than for standard and commonly encountered malware.


For memory leak issues related to Windows, check what your Paging File size is set to. Normally, it should be set for letting Windows determine the size. If it isn't set for that and has a specific Page size, then you might want to try increasing the available size. Windows uses Page as a "virtual RAM" for files it is accessing a lot, but doesn't need in memory all the time, which also won't show up in the Task Manager. You could also look for program errors in the Event Viewer to see if the RAM use is due to a memory leak caused by another program not letting go even after shutdown. Simple way to access both areas with decent instructions: Window icon, type in the Search box Event Viewer or Virtual Memory or search either term from Window's Help system. The Help system has come a long way since it's introduction back in 3.0.


As to a possible physical RAM problem, download and run MEMTest which will stress your RAM and check for flaws. If it comes back fine, you may also try swapping RAM sticks out with another set and see if the problem persists. Not everyone has spare RAM laying around, so I can understand if this is not really an option, but if you have a friend with the same type of RAM as your own, you might be able to borrow theirs for a quick test.
 

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