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Windows XP Pro and RAM

Admiral Michael

Michaelsoft Systems CEO
Ok, heres my question.

I have a Compaq Presario 2100 Laptop (see sig). Anyways, I was testing my ram with memtest86, each module separately. Well I forgot to put in the floppy one time, so it went to windows. While I was there I just happened to check the task manager, it shows about 98MB memory used. Well I put back the other 256MB module, boted to Xp and noticed that now I have 228Mb used. I havent changed a thing, cept the ram. It seems to me that the more memory your system has, the more XP hogs for itself.

Also, I have disabled any non-required service way before all of this, so the only thing on my laptop that changed was the total ram.

Any Ideas why this is would be nice.

PS. I took a screenshot of the task manager when I have 256MB and 512MB installed.
I've noticed that for myself that whether I was running 256 or 512 mb of ram, WinXP Pro tended to use about half of it idling either way. Likes its memory...


Mentally Absent
i personally have a gig of ram, windows xp was designed and optimized to run best with 2 gigs of ram. the more ram you use, the more cache size programs have and the larger the buffers are for various programs and many the kernel.


Act your wage.
Political User
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty certain that the more RAM you have installed, the more Windows allocates to the paging file. If that's the case, then there's your answer. :)


Act your wage.
Political User
Yes, it is on the hard disk, but for some reason I had it in my head that it had an effect on RAM usage as well. You probably shouldn't listen to me though, I'm a bit tired at the moment. :p


The Analog Kid
AFAIK, XP will use the ram available to save writing to the hard disk frequently. This is a good thing. The more you have, the more it will use.


Act your wage.
Political User
dreamliner77 said:
AFAIK, XP will use the ram available to save writing to the hard disk frequently. This is a good thing. The more you have, the more it will use.
I suppose that's what I was trying to say... I just ended up confusing myself. :eek:

Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
pretty simple to understand;

most programs are written with the 90/10 rule - they spend 90% of the time bringing 10% of their code or data into use by any given user, if these programs were allowed all of their code, nothing else would run.

in additionsm well written application will want to reserve a large block of its address space for a particular purpose (keeping data in a contiguous block makes the data easy to manage) but then it might not want to use all of the space. yet (another reason for never lowering your pagefile)

for this reason, programs are allowed working sets when they're initiated...just about every program requests more memory then referanced by the user

when you don't have all of the memory available for all of the requests, (and you never have all the memory for all the requests) xp assigns working sets that accomodate your needs, and the working sets are adjusted according to resources.

the more ram you have, the larger the working set allowed...hardly used features of a program will be snappier, thhe os, everything

if you installed more memory and the os didn't make use of it, then it would sit around and do norhing....I'm wondering why anyone wants their memory sitting around doing nothing, but whatever the reasons, the os and your computing would be slower if you had it that way.

in addition, all memory in use will have a spot on the hardisc reserved for it, since data mut be paged in in the first place; memory allocation in NT is a two-step process--virtual memory addresses are reserved first, and committed second, this is usually represented by the pagefile useage grapgh in taskmanager, which doesn't represent what's in the pagefile, but more the amount of memory in use

like adding more horsepower to your car...your car will run your airconditioner, power steering, alternator all more efficiently when you add more horsepower

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