Check and Optimise Windows 10 Memory Use

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is an essential part of your PC and can have a huge bearing on how well your computer performs. Adding RAM is a good way to give your PC an instant boost, but before you go to the expense and trouble of installing new RAM modules, it is worth checking your existing RAM usage to see if it can be optimised.

The first thing you need to do, when trying to optimise RAM usage and performance, is check how much you have and how it’s being used.

Step 1 – To check up on your RAM, you need to open the Task Manager: press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on the keyboard and then select “Task Manager” from the list that appears. If Task Manager opens showing just a simple list of tasks, click the “More details” button to see an advanced view.

Step 2 – Click the Performance tab at the top and then the Memory tab on the left side. You can now check the graph to see how much RAM is being used and see how much you have in total. Try launching a few apps while Task Manager is open, to see RAM usage increase/change.

Step 3 – If it appears that most of your available RAM is regularly being used and you have less than 4GB installed, consider adding more. You can find out what kind of RAM your PC model uses by looking at the memory info in Task Manager. Then visit the PC manufacturer’s website for more specific info.

Step 4 – In theory, Windows 10 (64-bit) can run on a PC with just 2 GB of RAM, but in reality you will want at least 4 GB for regular use. If you can afford to double this to 8 GB, you will not only instantly improve performance, but also add some longevity to the lifespan of your computer.

Using Windows ReadyBoost

If you don’t want to spend out on more RAM right now, there are some ways you can attempt to optimise your existing memory performance. One way is to use ReadyBoost.

Step 1 – ReadyBoost is a way to improve memory performance by creating an extra memory cache on an external USB-connected drive, such as a flash drive. You will need a USB drive with at least 500MB of free space and a high data transfer rate. A USB 3.0 drive can peak at a data rate of 600MB/s.

Step 2 – Insert the drive into a free USB port on your PC and then open the File Explorer. Right-click on the name of the drive in the left-hand sidebar and select “Properties” from the action menu. Be aware that computers which have an SSD installed will not be able to take advantage of ReadyBoost.

Step 3 – Select the ReadyBoost tab then select “Use this device” and Windows 10 will determine if the device can use ReadyBoost. If it is not able to use the feature, it will let you know. Windows will determine how much free space to assign to memory then simply click “Ok” to reserve this space on the connected drive.

Step 4 – If you look at the contents of the drive in File Explorer, you will see a file called ReadyBoost.sfcache. This file shows how much space is reserved for ReadyBoost. If you don’t have a USB flash drive handy, you can sometimes use a smartphone, connected via USB, as a temporary ReadyBoost drive.

Change Paging File Size

The paging file is an area on your hard disk that Windows uses like memory. Increasing the paging file size can help improve your PC’s performance.

Step 1 – In the search box on the taskbar, type, “advanced system” and then select “View advanced system settings”. In System Properties, on the Advanced tab, select “Settings in the Performance area” and then select the Advanced tab > Change in the Virtual memory area.

Step 2 – In Performance Options, Clear the ”Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” check box.
Select “Custom size”, then enter an initial size (in MB) and maximum size in the corresponding boxes then select Set > OK. Restart your PC by selecting Start button > Power > Restart.

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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