How to Fix High Memory Usage with Windows 10

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Running out of memory with Windows 10 can result in a frustrating user experience. You’ll typically know this is happening when your computer starts stuttering or running more slowly than normal. Such operational interruptions can mean you have to spend time waiting for pages and programs to load, disturbing your work flow and leading to frustrating delays.

Fortunately, there are some simple solutions. This guide explains what you need to know about high memory usage, including how to identify the problem and fix it.

What Impacts Memory Usage?

There are two main types of computer memory: RAM and ROM. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Random access memory (RAM) stores most of the data your CPU needs to run programs, and is lost when the computer turns off. 
  • When you open or load something, it goes into RAM so it can be easily accessed. 
  • Read only memory (ROM), on the other hand, is required to start your computer and holds onto the data indefinitely. 
  • Your games, documents, music, photos, videos, computer programs, apps, and more take up memory on your device. 
  • You may also have a number of files on your computer that you don’t need or use that are just taking up space and slowing it down. 
  • A slow-running system will most likely be the first sign that your computer is low on memory. 
  • This can escalate to a number of inconveniences, however, including the device freezing or crashing when you’re in the middle of a project, game, or when trying to use multiple tabs on your browser. 

You might also get an alert that says, “Your computer is low on memory,” and you’ll want to free up some space at that point. You don’t have to wait for an alert, though: You can stay on top of memory usage by taking a few actions on a regular basis or any time you notice your computer is slowing down.

6 Tips for Fixing High Memory Usage

There are several ways to free memory on your computer and enjoy the smooth, fast-running system you’re used to. Start here:

1. Close Programs You’re Not Using

Don’t let them run in the background if you’re not actively using them. From your Task Manager, choose the Processes tab and click Memory so you can see which are taking up a lot of space. Right-click on the ones you’re not using, and select End Task.  

2. Move Select Files to an External Hard Drive

This is a great way to manage the photos, videos, and documents you’ve gathered over the years. That way, you can easily access them when you need them without letting them drain your computer’s memory.

You can also set your computer to automatically save future files to the external hard drive:

  • Go to Settings. Choose System, then Storage.
  • Under New storage settings, select Change where new content is saved.
  • Using the drop down menu, choose the location where new apps and documents will be saved. Select Apply
An image showing the settings page

It’s also a good practice to regularly back up any necessary files and programs on an external hard drive in case you experience a system crash or virus.

3. Uninstall Unnecessary Programs

There are several files on your computer that do nothing but slow you down. These include those in your recycle bin, hibernation files, delivery optimization files, and items in the temporary folder.

You can also uninstall the games and apps you’re no longer using. Follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings, choose Apps, and select Apps & features.
  • If you sort by Size, you can determine which apps are using the most memory. 
  • Choose the app you want to remove, select Uninstall, then choose Uninstall again in the pop-up.
  • Follow any additional instructions on screen.

To uninstall optional features like Windows Media Player, follow the above steps and choose Optional Features under Apps & features. You can again sort by size and choose to remove anything you don’t need. 

4. Run a Virus Scan

Some viruses may initiate the “your computer is low on memory” alert to get you to download a malicious program claiming to help you free up space. The virus itself may also be taking up a lot of memory as it damages your system or steals your information. Run scans regularly, remove viruses immediately, and take steps to avoid them in the first place. This includes being careful which websites you visit, not clicking links or opening attachments in suspicious emails, and using only secure networks. 

5. Adjust for Best Performance

There’s an option that will eliminate visual effects and allow your machine to make choices based on performance rather than aesthetics. Go to File Explorer, then:

  • Right-click on This PC and choose Properties.
  • Select Advanced system settings then under Performance, choose Settings.
  • Choose Adjust for best performance, then Apply and click OK.

This will prevent your device from running unnecessary effects that take up valuable operating power.

6. Permanently Delete Files

It’s not enough to uninstall unwanted files or move them to the recycle bin. They’re not really gone, despite what many people think, and you could bring them back with the right instructions. Hackers and thieves rely on that to access the financial records or other private information you thought you deleted. 

The only way to make a file truly irretrievable is to digitally shred it. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Like a paper shredder, a digital shredder rips the file into so many pieces, it can’t be put back together again. 
  • It’s a great way not only to get rid of files that are slowing your computer down, but to destroy files that contain your personal information. 
  • This is also an important step for preventing a data spill that can damage a company’s reputation and harm its customers, employees, suppliers, and more. 

Shred Cube is a simple USB file shredder that allows you to completely scrub unwanted files without having to download any software. Contact Shred Cube today to speak with an expert about permanently deleting files to protect your private information and fix high memory usage with Windows 10.

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