How to Prevent Windows 7 From Using So Much Memory

Picture this: You have a computer with two gigabytes of physical memory, you turn it on, and just after Windows 7 finishes loading, it’s already using about half of all that memory when you look into your task manager (hold “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” on your keyboard to access it quickly). Even if it looks a little scary, don’t panic!

In case you didn’t know, RAM (also known as physical memory), serves the purpose of storing pieces of every program you open. When you type “I’m Superman” into a text box in an open program, whether it’s true or not, each letter fills a space in your physical memory. This space can be deleted once you erase the phrase.

Windows has always used RAM to store components of every program, service and library it runs. Windows 7, however, does one more thing with your RAM: it stores the data of every program it thinks you might use. This feature is otherwise known as Superfetch, and has many people complaining of W7’s memory usage. Windows basically pre-records the memory for certain applications you often use in order to reduce the time it takes them to load. If you have 2 GB of physical memory or more, you usually end up benefiting from this extra feature. Any less memory, and Microsoft turns your computer into a snail begging for mercy. For those of you with underprivileged computers that don’t have plenty of memory to work with, you may benefit more from disabling Superfetch.

If you don’t feel like you need this feature and would like Windows 7 to stop making decisions for you, disabling Superfetch isn’t difficult and might take at most a minute of your time if you follow these instructions.

1. click your Start menu and click “Control Panel”. In Windows 7, the Start icon is depicted as an orb with a “Windows” icon on it, instead of the traditional text that says “Start” on the lower left corner of the screen. When the control panel window loads, click “System and Security” as depicted below. In Vista, however, this section of the control panel is called “System and Maintenance” and it sits in the same location.

windows-control-panel

2. Once you’re in the “System and Security” area, click “Administrative Tools”.

windows-system-maintain

3. In “Administrative Tools”, you’ll notice a “Services” icon. Double-click on that icon and scroll down to “Superfetch” once in the “Services” window. Right-click “Superfetch” and click “Properties”.

windows-superfetch

4. Once in “Properties”, click the box that says “Automatic” to expand it and then click “Disabled.” Click the “Stop” button below the box you clicked and wait for the application to stop. Once it stopped, click “OK”. The image below shows you what to do.

windows-sfproperties

Once you disable Superfetch, you’ll notice your computer has more breathing room. If this effect doesn’t occur immediately, just restart your computer. There are, however, other reasons your computer might be using a lot of memory. You could have a virus, or run a program that has a memory leak. To troubleshoot this issue, close each program you run one-by-one and monitor your memory usage after the program closes using the task manager (remember: Ctrl+Shift+Esc). Having a healthy amount of memory is essential to your computer’s daily functions.