Freeing Up RAM: Practical Tips for Managing Background Processes


“As an expert, could you explain why my new Asus computer with 8GB of RAM consistently has 5GB in use? This leaves only 3GB available, whereas I anticipated having 5-6GB at my disposal. Is this level of RAM usage normal, and is there a method to reduce the amount allocated to background processes?”


When you purchase a new computer, like an Asus model with 8GB of RAM, you might expect most of that memory to be available for your use. However, it’s not uncommon to find a significant portion already in use when the system is idle. Let’s delve into why this happens and what you can do about it.

Modern operating systems are designed to make the most out of your computer’s RAM. They preload frequently used programs and services into memory to speed up access times. This is why you might see 5GB of your 8GB being used without actively running any large applications. It’s the system’s way of ensuring that everything runs smoothly and responsively.

Is this normal?

Yes, this is perfectly normal. Operating systems, especially Windows, use what’s called ‘SuperFetch’ (or ‘SysMain’ in newer versions) to manage memory usage. This system service anticipates which applications you might run next and loads them into RAM ahead of time.

Reducing RAM Usage

If you’re looking to free up some of this memory, here are a few steps you can take:


Check for Resource-Heavy Applications

: Open the Task Manager and sort processes by memory usage. Identify any non-essential applications that are using a lot of RAM and consider closing them or preventing them from running at startup.


Adjust for Best Performance

: In your system settings, you can adjust for best performance, which will limit the visual effects and background processes that can consume memory.


Increase Virtual Memory

: Virtual memory can act as an overflow for your RAM. By increasing the size of the paging file, you can alleviate some of the immediate RAM usage, though this may slow down your system if it relies too heavily on virtual memory.


Upgrade Your RAM

: If you consistently find that your RAM is maxed out, the best solution might be to add more RAM to your system, if possible.

In conclusion, high RAM usage on a new computer is typically a sign of an efficient operating system rather than a problem. However, if you find that it’s impacting your ability to run applications, the steps above can help manage and reduce RAM usage. Remember, RAM is there to be used, and unused RAM is wasted RAM. It’s all about finding the right balance for your needs.

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