Windows 10 not releasing standby memory when required.

My system has 16GB of RAM and a max pagefile of 1000MB.

The standby memory cache stays around 7GB even when my commit limit is reached causing either a low memory warning or a program which crashes because it couldn't allocate memory.
I understand that free memory = wasted memory so have no problem that standby uses 7GB normally, but why isn't it releasing the memory when it is needed?

I know the pagefile is small, but it is for two reasons - limited SSD space and a windows controlled pagefile was causing performance issues from swapping too often.
Any help would be appreciated.

Your system is holding on to Standby memory and not releasing it to Free memory. You can force release by restarting your computer but often this is not very convenient. Another way to force the release of Standby memory is available using RAM Map (freeware from Microsoft):
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/ff700229.aspx

 

Download and install, and create a shortcut on your Desktop to RAMMap and / or pin to your Taskbar. When you sense the system is becoming unresponsive use Ctrl+Shift+Esc to access Task Manager. Click the Performance tab and the Resource Monitor button. Click the Memory tab and check whether Free is near to Zero or is Zero. If it is, open RAMMap, click Empty on the Menu bar and Empty Standby list. This action instantly restores Free memory.

 

 

The procedure using RAMMap is an effective workaround but the true solution lies in discovering the source of the problem. Knowing the source you may be able to resolve the problem by contacting the provider of the software and / or updating the software.

 

The solution lies in identifying the software that is accessing numerous files, either to check for malware or to index to facilitate Windows Search. If you discover which files are being unnecessarily accessed you can exclude them from routine scans. The first image below illustrates the problem. The second image identifies the folders/ files. In the example Microsoft Security Essentials has been scanning my G drive, which I have since excluded from future scans.

 

Investigating what makes up the Standby figure may not be easy. How I found out what was the cause on this computer was achieved by following the procedure detailed below.

 

Open RAMMap when your Standby figure is too high and click the File Summary tab. Click the Standby column header to sort the figures as in the image below to determine the really large files held in Standby, see the image below. If you click the Path header you can sort and see what partitions are being accessed. It is important to remember that these files have been accessed since the computer was booted. You then ask yourself what programme might have accessed the file and did it really need to? Programmes having scheduled scans are good potential candidates.

Gerry
Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England
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Hi Gerry,
Thanks for your response. I was researching RAMMap when I saw your reply.
For some reason large data files for a game (Overwatch) are priority 5 which is taking up 4GB of the standby memory (No difference if the game is running or not). There is also 1.2GB in Metafiles.

The only thing I don't understand is how is it a problem with the game if it's not running? Isn't it a bug in the windows management system not freeing the memory?
thanks,
WallyWalrick

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Is the memory held by Overwatch released if you restart the computer?

Gerry
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A restart does indeed free the standby memory. It quickly climbs to about 2.5GB (most being mapped files) when I open my standard programs.
So I did 3 tests..
1. While running Overwatch, loaded as many programs/webrowser tabs as I could to get Zero + Free close to 0 MBytes. The standby memory stayed very close to the same size (checked this by refreshing RAMMap a number of times during the testing period). Opened one more small memory footprint program to see if the standby memory would free but instead had errors with programs not being able to allocate memory. Taskmgr showed that is was only using 9.7GB at the time.
Restarted.
2. Ran Overwatch for a bit, closed it down. According to Taskmgr->Details Overwatch was no longer running. RAMMap showed the large overwatch files in standby memory which at the time I would expect it to as I still had over 6GB Free (according to RAMMap). Again opened programs to get to close to 0 Free/Zero MBytes, refreshed RAMMap but standby memory stayed. Opened the last program and same error.
Restarted
3. Same as other tests but DIDN'T run Overwatch. Standby memory (2.5GB) Same problem again.

I didn't get to see in the first test but did in the last two was that when windows gives the low/no memory error it then starts to release the standby memory, but it's too slow and memory allocation fails. So it's not that the standby memory won't release, just that it's too slow to be useful. This seems like Windows isn't managing the memory properly.

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Wally

My grandson plays Overwatch. When I next get access to his computer I will see if he has the same problem.

Gerry
Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England
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I don't think it's an Overwatch issue. I just tested two other machines (1 has Overwatch, the other doesn't). I matched the pagefile size to 1000MB as well. These computers do not give the same results.
It seems that standby memory isn't the problem. On the other two machines when there isn't any zero/free, it just takes it out of standby without a problem. The problem computer is actually hitting its commit limit which is why there is a problem.

I've looked at number of computers and it seems that in Task Manager -> Performance -> Memory ->

Available + Committed <= Commit Limit
This has been the case no matter what I do with all the other computers. From my understanding this should always be true for Windows 10. Is this right?
My main computer is the exception : Available + Committed > Commit Limit
It doesn't matter if it's a cold boot or running overnight.

Currently it is loaded with a number of programs running


Would this indicate a kernel/driver memory leak?

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Last updated December 1, 2020 Views 119,773 Applies to: