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Possible memory leak somewhere?


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#1 jonuk76

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:53 AM

I've noticed recently that sometimes my Windows 8.1 system, when left running for a while gradually gets more sluggish.  It's noticeable in all applications - Firefox takes several seconds to switch between tabs, for example.  Memory usage becomes very high (sometimes more than 90%) with no actual applications open, apart from the background programs and services.  The only thing that successfully gets the system back to normal is a reboot.  The computer has also crashed sometimes when it has been in this high memory usage state - generally it crashes during waking up from sleep.

 

How would I go about diagnosing what was causing this?

 

I used Process Explorer and took a couple of screenshots.  They weren't much help to me as it's not obvious where the memory is being used in the second screenshot, but perhaps someone might know what to look for?  Or perhaps someone knows of a better tool for analysing memory use?

 

Thanks for any help you can give.

 

Shot 1 - Computer recently started, 24.7% physical memory use, just Firefox open (and background apps)

 

6BuSIL2.png

 

Shot 2 - Computer been running for a day or so, 78.1% physical memory use, no applications open.

 

9nUOV1S.png

 

The computer is a recent build, it has 8Gb DDR3 memory.  Happy to provide any other info required.

 

Thanks


Edited by jonuk76, 27 July 2014 - 06:55 AM.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:19 AM

You may find this Microsoft article useful.


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#3 jonuk76

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 10:59 AM

OK thanks DC2, appreciate it.  What I'd like to do is track down the specific software or driver that is causing this high memory usage.  Leading on from that link, I did some more reading around and found another tool, Sysinternal's RAMmap which I'm going to take a look at when it next acts up.  So far today, memory usage is what I'd consider normal, and it's been running for a few hours.


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#4 dc3

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 11:27 AM

If you read the article I supplied the link to you will be aware that a memory leak basically is the inability of the memory (RAM and virtual memory) to release it when the task it was applied to ends.  If my understanding is correct this will not be the fault of a specific application, if it is indeed a memory leak.

 

I will be interested in reading what you find.


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#5 jonuk76

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:01 AM

The page is aimed at software developers (which I am not) but my understanding is different in that I took it that an application or driver not releasing memory when it's finished using is likely to be a problem with the way it's coded.  No doubt it is a complicated matter as so many different pieces of software are interacting with each other on a modern OS.

 

Since posting this topic the problem has not re-occured, and free memory is returning to it's baseline of about 20-25% used with no major applications open.  Always the way isn't it :hysterical:


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#6 Willy22

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:59 AM

Are you able to see what the size of filecache is/was ? It could be the filecache that has grown over time to a VERY large size. Did you have a look at what Resource Monitor tells you ? What's the size of "In use" in such a case ? Did you run a backup program ?

 

I know what you're talking about. When I backup my system with one backup program then I know my system will gradually slow down to a snail's pace. One day I looked at what the size of the file cache was after using the program and it was GBs in size. That program doesn't collapse the filecache. No wonder that after that my Harddisk was working overtime (reading from & writing to disk). The filecache occupied a (VERY) large part of the 8 GB memory.

 

To look at the (peak) size of the file cache one can use PcWinTech's Cleanmem. The program is written to reduce memory usage (every 15 minutes) and also can collapse the filecache. The program comes with a "Mini Monitor", that runs in the background and can show in real time memory usage.(in %) in the system tray icon. The Mini Monitor also gives more info on memory usage and the size of the file cache.


Edited by Willy22, 28 July 2014 - 08:13 AM.


#7 dc3

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:04 AM

Since posting this topic the problem has not re-occured, and free memory is returning to it's baseline of about 20-25% used with no major applications open.  Always the way isn't it :hysterical:

Of course this is the way it will happen.  Unless it's something like a flat tire which will remain flat until it is repaired, there will always be the possibility of a spontaneous and mysterious return to a proper working order. :lmao:  


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#8 jonuk76

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:08 AM

Are you able to see what the size of filecache is/was ? It could be the filecache that has grown over time to a VERY large size. Did you have a look at what Resource Monitor tells you ? What's the size of "In use" in such a case ? Did you run a backup program ?

 

I know what you're talking about. When I backup my system with one backup program then I know my system will gradually slow down to a snail's pace. One day I looked at what the size of the file cache was after using the program and it was GBs in size. That program doesn't collapse the filecache. No wonder that after that my Harddisk was working overtime (reading from & writing to disk). The filecache occupied a (VERY) large part of the 8 GB memory.

 

To look at the (peak) size of the file cache one can use PcWinTech's Cleanmem. The program is written to reduce memory usage (every 15 minutes) and also can collapse the filecache. The program comes with a "Mini Monitor", that runs in the background and can show in real time memory usage.(in %) in the system tray icon. The Mini Monitor also gives more info on memory usage and the size of the file cache.

 

Thanks for this.  I wasn't using a backup program at the time, but it gives me some ideas.  I've also been using the computer to stream media to other devices, although I don't imagine that would have this effect.  By "program doesn't collapse the file cache" do you mean that after you terminate the program the memory used by the file cache remains in use?

 

Unfortunately, I didn't screenshot resource monitor but at it's worst, from memory "in use" was most of it, with perhaps 10-20% as "standby", and zero free memory.


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#9 jonuk76

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:10 AM

 

Since posting this topic the problem has not re-occured, and free memory is returning to it's baseline of about 20-25% used with no major applications open.  Always the way isn't it :hysterical:

Of course this is the way it will happen.  Unless it's something like a flat tire which will remain flat until it is repaired, there will always be the possibility of a spontaneous and mysterious return to a proper working order. :lmao:  

 

 

How right you are :)


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#10 Willy22

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 11:17 AM

Yes. The filecache remains in use as "filecache" and I am not aware of any program that shrinks the filecache in a meaningful way. But that's by design in Windows. The thoughts behind that are - of course - very logical. But sometimes it's a "Pain in the ***". Thankfully, Cleanmem running om my system, takes care of collapsing the filecache only when the filecache is larger than 80 MB.

 

10 to 20 % of "Standby" & "Free" memory is indeed a recipe for slowing down one's system. Because then Windows (Superfetch) has perform A LOT OF disk I/O and that's (comparatively) very slow.

 

I also know that parts of a running program can be/are (literally) scattered around (in pieces of 4 kb) in the ENTIRE memory of one's system. That means that as memory usage grows over time Windows needs to do A LOT OF more "bookkeeping" of where all the parts of a program are stored and that takes it's toll on system performance.


Edited by Willy22, 28 July 2014 - 11:47 AM.


#11 Willy22

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:51 AM

I have set Cleanmem to collapse the filecache once the filecache is larger than over 100 MB in size (In normal circumstances that happens about once every hour). Yes, after that my Win 7 system is a bit slower (it needs to re-read data/info from disk) but it keeps the filecache from growing to GIANT sizes (GBs).

 

@Jonuk76:

- DC3 hates when I am pushing this (IMO excellent) program.

- Report back your experiences with the program. Perhaps then DC3 "surrenders" when your experiences are positive.



#12 dc3

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 08:34 AM

- DC3 hates when I am pushing this (IMO excellent) program.

- Report back your experiences with the program. Perhaps then DC3 "surrenders" when your experiences are positive.

The problem I have isn't with the program, it does what it is designed for very well.  But from the frequency that you suggest the use of this it appears that you believe that this will cure everything from the common cold to memory issues. :hysterical:   


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#13 Willy22

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 03:28 PM

- A good program to see what's "hiding" in your memory is Sysinternals' RAMMAP. It shows what files are loaded in the memory, both in "Standby" & in "In use" (Resource Monitor). I was surprised to see a number of files with very familiar names. I was surprised to even see one video(-file).

- There're more tricks to reduce memory usage. Use e.g. Piriform's Ccleaner to regularly clean "Recent Documents" & the contents of the "C:\Windows\Prefetch" folder. Don't worry, Windows will automatically rebuild the content of the "Prefetch" and other subfolders (e.g. used by Superfetch) when needed.

 

Windows uses the info from "Recent documents" and copies that ( on a regular basis) to a file called "Layout.ini" in "C:\Windows\Prefetch". And all the files/folders mentioned in "Layout.ini" are loaded when Windows starts. So, cleaning the "Prefetch" folder will reduce the amount of files loaded upon startup.



#14 jonuk76

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:50 PM

I'll certainly try that program if it starts with the high memory use again.  I've been trying to recreate the same conditions, but the system seems to be behaving itself at the moment, apart from the AMD video card driver crashing earlier.


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#15 Willy22

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 01:37 AM

O.M.G. AMD & crashes ? You don't say ........






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