7 Ways to Clear Memory and Boost RAM on Windows

There are few things quite asannoying as a computer that’s starting to run slow.

As good as the Windows 10 operatingsystem is, Windows computers still have the problem of running much more slowlyover time.

In this article, you’ll learn seven of the most effective ways to clear out old memory and boost available RAM in a Windows machine that’s suffering from performance issues .

Also, if you want a quick run-down, check out our YouTube video from our sister site, Online Tech Tips. If you like the video, make sure to subscribe to the channel!

Why Computers Slow Down

If you’ve owned your computer for awhile, there are any number of issues that can cause it to slow down. Many ofthese are out of your control, but a few aren’t.

These issues include:

  • Memory leaks from software you’ve installed
  • Power surges and normal usage degrading system components
  • Bad hard drive sectors or bad memory chips due to age and use
  • Not installing enough RAM
  • Excessive software launching at startup
  • Malware and viruses consuming system resources

Even though you can’t control the effects of normal aging, there’s a lot you can do to speed up your computer . These include things like defragmenting your hard drive , performing virus scans, and disabling the User Account Control (UAC) .

However, the most significanteffect you can have on system performance is making sure your memory usage isfully optimized.

1. RAM Hogs: Low Hanging Fruit

The fastest and easiest way to clear up memory that’s beingused is to make sure there are no system processes consuming all the systemresources.

This is an easy problem to develop over time, especially ifyou’re in the habit of installing a lot of software. There’s also a very easysolution.

Check the system processes listed in the Task Manager andlook for problem applications you don’t recognize that are consuming excessiveRAM.

  1. Right click the Windows task bar and select Task Manager.
  2. Click on the Processes tab.
  3. Sort the processes by Memory and look forprograms at the top of the list that you don’t recognize.

If you spot any problem applications, go into the Control Panel, click on Programs and Features, and uninstallthose problem applications.

2. Clean Up Startup Programs

Unfortunately, resolving memory issues and freeing up yourRAM is not usually that easy. Over time, software you’ve installed andforgotten about can get embedded into your system but may not consume RAMconstantly.

In these cases, these programs won’t show up at the top ofthe list in the Task Manager. However, they are part of the list of programsthat launch every time your computer starts and contribute to chewing away atyour available RAM.

  1. Still in the Task Manager, click on the Startup tab.
  2. Sort the list by the Startup impact field.
  3. Identify applications you don’t recognize ordon’t need.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Disable.

When each of these programs launch, they devour a bit ofmemory individually. They all run in the background and consume your RAM.Disabling them from running at startup prevents this from happening.

3. Clear Page File at Shutdown

Whenever you shut down your computer, the system RAM isalways cleared. However, the page file that’s stored on the hard drive isn’t.

The page file is an area of the physical hard drive that theoperating system uses as extra RAM when the physical RAM is full. Ensuring thatthe page file is cleared just like RAM is will keep things clean and efficientthe next time you start your computer.

You can enable this by setting the ClearPageFileAtShutdownregistry key to 1. Windows 10 has this set to 0 by default. Enabling this iseasy.

  1. Click the start menu and type Regedit. Click on the Regedit run command.
  2. This will open the Registry Editor. Navigate toHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\MemoryManagement.
  3. Double-click on the ClearPageFileAtShutdown key on the right.
  4. Set the Valuedata field to 1 and click OK.

The next time you restart your computer, the page file will clear.

4. Check for Device Driver Issues

Over time, device drivers become updated, and various Windows updates could lead to corrupt driver files or driver conflicts. These issues can sometimes lead to memory leaks and the longer your computer is running, could lead to excessive RAM consumption.

It’s important to make sure your system is clear of devicedriver issues. You can check this quickly by using the Device Manager.

  1. Open the ControlPanel and double click DeviceManager.
  2. Expand each branch inside the Device Manager andlook for a yellow explanation mark icon. This is an alert for a driver issue.
  3. If you see an alert, right click on the deviceand select Update driver.

Try to let the system look for latest drivers online if youcan. Otherwise you’ll need to visit the manufacturer website and download thelatest driver.

Keeping any device issues clear and all your drivers updatedwill ensure your system is running smoothly and drivers aren’t causing memoryissues.

5. Reduce Windows Visual Effects

Windows 10 comes with a lot of busy visual effects forwindows, menus, tooltips and more. If you have plenty of RAM, these visualeffects aren’t an issue.

But if you’re running with a bare minimum of available RAM,disabling these effects can significantly increase available memory.

To disable Windows visual effects:

  1. Open File Explorer, right-click on This PC, and click on Properties.
  2. On the left side of this window, click on Advanced system settings.
  3. In the Performancesection, click the Settings button.
  4. In the Performance Options window, select Adjust for best performance.

You’ll notice that all the animated features are disabledwith this setting. If you want, you can instead select Custom, and then enable any of the visual effects that you can’tlive without.

6. Flush Memory Cache

When you open and close applications frequently, sometimescertain programs don’t properly release system memory when closing. Over time,these orphan threads consume RAM and lead to slow system performance.

There is a very simple shortcut you can create that’ll flushthe memory cache and clean out all those old cobwebs of lost memory.

This shortcut is:

%windir%\system32\rundll32.exeadvapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks

If you’re not sure how to configure this shortcut, you can read a guide to flushing the memory cache that’ll walk you through all of the steps.

7. Add More RAM

Of course, one of the easiest ways to free up more memory isto boost the existing amount of RAM you have.

If you’re not sure what kind of memory your computer takes,you can use the Crucial Advisor to run a scan on your PC and find the bestmemory to buy.

Scans are fast and easy, and the resulting web page willlist all memory cards that are available for your system.

Memory Is Important

Of all the things you can do to boost your old computer’sperformance, there is nothing as effective as clearing out or boosting youravailable RAM.

The less your computer needs to rely on your hard drive andthe page file because the physical RAM is full, the faster your computer willbehave.