There are times when you might find that Windows is struggling to keep up with the demands of your computer.
This can cause problems with your system, and can even lead to data corruption.
In this article, we will explain how to free up memory on a Windows PC, so that it can handle more tasks without crashing.
We also include some tips on how to prevent memory problems in the first place.
- Restart your PC
- Use Windows Tools to Clear the RAM (Task Manager)
- Disable or Uninstall Unwanted Apps
- Update your Apps
- Scan for Malware
- Adjust the Virtual Memory
- Change the Visual Performance
- Clear your Page File Before Restarting your Computer
Table of Contents
How to Free up Memory on a Windows PC
What is RAM and What is it Used For?
RAM or Random Access Memory is a piece of hardware that keeps the processes running smoothly on your computer.
The more RAM there is in your PC, the faster the computer will process applications and background tasks without hanging or crashing.
When your RAM runs low, the computer automatically utilizes a built-in storage drive called the page file to compensate for the shortage of memory.
However, since the page file is generally much slower than an actual RAM, your Windows computer will take longer to load pages and applications.
RAMs are available in different size options, from 4GB all the way to 128GB that can run high performance games without any lags.
So, if your computer is low on RAM then it’s high time you upgrade the system and install a newer version with a larger memory.
Method 1 — Restart your PC
The first thing you need to do when you notice your computer slowing down is to restart the device.
Restarting your computer will clear the contents of the RAM and once your system boots up, the RAM will load with a clear memory.
Another reason why restarting your computer is a preferred option is because any apps that are running in the background which are utilizing the RAM will close and this in turn boosts the speed of the computer.
Method 2 — Use Windows Tools to Clear the RAM (Task Manager)
The second method is to close any apps that are taking up a lot of your memory. To do this, you will need to
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open the Task Manager
- Click on More Details to expand the screen
- Now tap on the Processes tab and under Memory, locate the apps that are using a lot of RAM
- Right click on the app and then click on End Task
If you want to take an in depth look at how much RAM is being used by your apps,
- Click on the Performances tab in the Task Manager
- Tap on the Memory section and then click on Open Resource Monitor at the bottom of the page
- Select the Memory tab at the top and then you will be able to view a complete list of apps that are running and use the Sort Kb tab to bring the heavy usage apps to the top of the list.
- You can then proceed to close the bigger apps by tapping on the check box and then ending the resource.
Method 3 — Disable or Uninstall Unwanted Apps
Now that you know which apps are using more RAM than others, it’s time to decide whether you want to keep the app installed or simply disable the app until you’re ready to use it.
These changes can be made from the Settings app on a Windows PC. To access your list of apps,
- Press the Start icon on the desktop or
- Tap on the Windows key from your keyboard
- Click on Settings and then locate Apps from the left panel
- Tap on Apps & Features or Installed Apps and then select the app you want to uninstall.
There are times where you may not want to remove the app entirely, so for this you can try removing the app from the boot up process.
Here the app will stay on the computer and will only run when the app has been launched.
To do this,
- Launch the Settings app
- Select Apps from the left panel and then click on Startup Navigation
- Click on the toggle next to each app name to disable them from the startup
Method 4 — Update your Apps
Apps that utilize a lot of RAM may be suffering from memory leaks and will not return the allocated RAM to the pool once the app is closed. Updating your apps will fix any memory leaks on the computer.
To update your app, you can
- Click on the Start button and then open the Microsoft Store
- You can also click on the Store icon from the taskbar
- Next, tap on your Account and then navigate to App settings
- Click on Update next to the app name
You can also enable Auto Update from the same page to have your apps automatically updated without your intervention.
Method 5 — Scan for Malware
Sometimes when your computer is running low on RAM, one of the most common culprits is Malware.
Malware is a piece of code that infects the computer (think of it as a common cold for electronic devices) that can suck up any available RAM you may have which will significantly drop the speed of your computer.
Scanning your computer regularly will ensure that your system is functioning properly and will keep your mind at ease.
Method 6 — Adjust the Virtual Memory
Page file that I spoke about earlier is basically virtual memory and you can adjust the amount of memory allocated to a particular drive to improve the system performance.
To do this,
- Click on the Start menu and open the Settings app
- Next, tap on the System option from the left panel and then click on About.
- On the next screen, click on Advanced system settings and form the new window, click on Advanced
- Locate Performance and then click on the Settings button.
- You will now receive a new window on the screen, tap on Advanced again and then under Virtual Memory, click on Change.
To boost your RAM allocation, check the Automatically Manage Paging File Size for All Drives box and then under the Custom Size field, enter higher values for the Initial Size and Maximum Size
Method 7 — Change the Visual Performance
Large apps require a lot of RAM because of their visual effects and animations.
But if your computer can’t handle the load, it’s time to consider dropping the visual performance a bit so the computer runs faster.
- Click on the Start button and then launch File Explorer
- Right click on This PC from the left panel and then tap on Properties
- Next, click on Advanced System Settings and then click on the Advanced tab at the top of the page.
- Locate Performance and then click on the Settings button.
- Set Adjust for Best Performance and click on OK
This setting will modify your apps and adjust the system for best performance.
Everything will lose its appeal, but the computer will function significantly faster than earlier, especially while loading an app.
Method 8 — Clear your Page File Before Restarting your Compute
This way you can clear the contents of your page file when your computer restarts and boost the speed and performance of the system. To do this,
- Click “Start” and type “Registry Editor” into the search bar.
- Click “Yes” when prompted with “Allow Registry Editor to make changes to your device.”
- On the left side of the window, scroll down and click “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.”
- Select “SYSTEM.”
- Select “CurrentControlSet.”
- Choose “Control.”
- Select “Session Manager.”
- Click “Memory Management.”
- Select “ClearPageFileAtShutdown.”
- In the “Value Data” box, enter the number “1” and click “OK.”
While all these methods work in boosting your system performance and RAM usage, the only way you can permanently resolve any issues revolving around memory on your Windows computer is by upgrading the RAM.
It’s important to note that computers do require regular hardware upgrades and updating the software is not going to do much to improve the performance of your computer in the long run.