Re: OT...RAM Question

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Posted by Peter ( on 09:08:53 02/15/08

In Reply to: OT...RAM Question posted by gorilla bob

What your numbers are telling you is (as #1 son pointed out) you only have 512MB of RAM in the PC. Your swap file is where the operating system temporarily puts items from the 512mb of memory so it can use that space for something more urgent. The fact that your swap file is more than twice as large as your actual memory is NOT a sign of a healthy system. Typically, 2x your actual memory is considered the absolute maximum recommended swap file size. The more stuff to be swapped cause something called "thrashing" where your computer spends more time swapping than getting work done which results in very poor performance and a large amount of hard drive activity when your computer should be fairly calm.

My first observation is that you are asking your computer to do more work than it has memory space to manage. Assuming that this is a change from your prior experience, this could be due to new programs, updates to old programs, spyware or viruses. Symptomatically, more memory could help. You need to get a good understanding of what is running on your PC to know if this is an acceptable circumstance or a symptom of something bad.

Microsoft offers a pretty good tool for exploring what programs are started by your computer during startup or login. Try this program autoruns. It is safe but offers a lot of info and so may be a little overwhelming for novices. email me if you want more direct assistance.

One common problem is that some of the very mainstream applications are not memory friendly. Each new release requires more CPU, memory and graphics power. Some are working harder to keep you safer (like Norton) but the price is your computer doing more work (CPU and memory space) to make it happen. Always ask yourself if the new product really offers something important and better than what you have today - otherwise you are just buying hype and overhead.

#1 son had a very good recommendation but not one that many people care for or are prepared for. That is, to reload your entire operating system and applications. This is good thing to do because it removes all those applications that you have accumulated over time. Often, when you remove an unwanted program, it does not completely cleanup after itself and can leave some footprint behind. As these things accumulate over time, they can hog space on you hard drive and in bad cases, still be loaded everytime you reboot. The obvious downside that people don't care for is that unless you took a complete backup of your computer when it was fully loaded and running well, you will have to re-install anywhere from everything to just a few programs depending on the date of your last complete backup.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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