What Is Pagefile.sys? Can I Delete It?

Pagefile.sys is a file created and used by Windows to manage memory usage.

It takes some special steps if you want to remove it, but it’s not really difficult.

The catch is, you probably don’t want to.

Read moreWhat Is Pagefile.sys? Can I Delete It?

How Do I Tell Which Program Is Using So Much Memory?

Occasionally, Windows will report that it is running low on, or completely out of, memory. When that happens, programs may start to misbehave, fail, or crash completely.

Of course, one of those failing programs could be Windows itself.

Recent versions of Windows have made it a little easier to determine which programs might be consuming more memory than is warranted, leading to the dreaded “out of memory”.

Read moreHow Do I Tell Which Program Is Using So Much Memory?

Do I Need a Computer Memory Upgrade?

Do I need to install additional memory? My machine has 1GB of RAM. I have a HP Photosmart printer & therefore am always downloading from my camera to my computer. Wondering if a computer memory upgrade is called for.

I’ve said it before: upgrading your computer’s RAM memory is one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing its performance.

However, it’s not a silver bullet. Whether or not it will actually help you depends on many things. And of course, whether or not you actually can add more memory is something we also need to look at.

Read moreDo I Need a Computer Memory Upgrade?

What’s the difference between memory and hard disk space?

Memory, hard disk, and RAM: I get a surprising number of questions that show a misunderstanding between these most basic of computer terms.

The most common mix-up is that people believe they are the same. While they’re not, I can see how it could be easy to confuse them at a conceptual level. So, let me explain these three terms.

Read moreWhat’s the difference between memory and hard disk space?

Why is Windows using more memory over time?

I’m currently using Windows 7 Pro, but my question applies to all versions of Windows. I have 4 GB of RAM on my office laptop and after a clean reboot with my basic always-on apps running (Outlook, Communicator, anti-virus, etc.). I have 2 GB free. After running normal apps (Word, Excel, Sequel Server Management Studio, etc.) throughout the workday and closing them, I will only have 1.5 GB of RAM free at the end of the day. Then, less each day after, forcing me to reboot every couple of days if I don’t want to be strapped for memory. This has been happening ever since I can remember. Now I can understand poorly managed apps not freeing up memory after use, but this will happen after using nothing other than Microsoft apps which one would think would have memory management under control? What gives? Any insight would be appreciated.

Memory management in any operating system is unimaginably complex. It’s either the stuff of nightmares or pure magic, depending on who’s talking about it.

From what you describe here, I actually don’t see a problem. That may sound weird, but I’ll talk through why I feel that way.

Read moreWhy is Windows using more memory over time?

Footnotes & references

1: Notepad is such a tiny program that it makes this example somewhat silly. If you like, consider instead some very large program, like Photoshop or Microsoft Word. The concepts all still apply, and the memory involved is much greater.

Why is AVG telling me IE has high memory usage?

I have the free version of AVG anti-virus 2013. And I keep getting this error: “AVG has detected high memory usage by Internet Explorer 8”. When that comes up, my computer slows way down. I do not have any add-ons and I’ve taken just about everything I don’t need off of my computer, but I am still getting this error. I have Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3.

High-memory usage can be related to a couple of things. I’ll discuss four things that might be causing this, but first, I want to talk about an assumption that I think you’re making here.

Read moreWhy is AVG telling me IE has high memory usage?

What’s the Easiest Way to Upgrade an Older Machine?

What’s the easiest way (other than buying a new machine) to upgrade my 10-year-old computer?

Unfortunately, there’s no blanket answer I can give to you. It depends on what you’re trying to do with this machine, and how it isn’t meeting your needs today.

If you’re considering an upgrade, it’s obvious there is something about this machine you don’t like. You either want to improve it or do something with it now that you can’t do currently.

Let me throw out a few ideas.

Read moreWhat’s the Easiest Way to Upgrade an Older Machine?

What is the System Idle Process and why is it using most of the CPU?


What is the System Idle Process and why is it using 96 to 99% of the CPU?

This is a great example of things we geeks probably take for granted, that’s not always obvious to the rest of the world.

I mean, really, a process that regularly takes up 99% of your CPU’s time must be a bad thing, right?

Nope, not at all. Just the opposite, in this case.

Read moreWhat is the System Idle Process and why is it using most of the CPU?

What is Virtual Memory?


What is virtual memory?

There’s memory and then there’s disk space. There’s memory that’s on disk, not to be confused with memory that looks like a disk. Disk that looks like memory? Isn’t the disk a kind of memory? Or is it something else?

It’s very confusing, but we can clear a few things up. Disks and memory are fairly easy. Virtual memory is one way that they overlap; with a little explanation, we can make that a little less confusing, too.

Read moreWhat is Virtual Memory?