How to Free Up RAM on a Windows Computer

Free Ram Feature Image

Slow computers are the bane of everyone’s existence. It seems that whenever you are in the biggest hurry to do something on your computer, that’s when it runs the slowest. One reason computers run slowly is that there is not enough RAM (Random Access Memory)available to efficiently run all the processes the computer is trying to run. You can solve the problems with your computer by adding more RAM to your machine. But before you jump ahead and install new RAM to your machine, make use of the following methods to free up RAM on your Windows computer first.


It may seem too simple, or even cliche, but the first thing to try is restarting your machine. If in doubt, reboot. If there are a large number of applications running, restarting will close down all the apps, and when your device restarts, it will only run the startup programs.

Remove unwanted programs

There may be background processes running that are associated with programs you never use. Getting rid of apps you don’t use frees up more memory for the ones you do use.

1. Go to settings.

Free Ram Settings Apps

2. Click on Apps.

3. Select the app you want to uninstall.

Free Ram Startup Apps

4. Click the Uninstall button.

Free Ram Uninstall Button

Monitor RAM usage

If you have eliminated the programs you don’t use, but you still have something causing your computer to slow down, check to see if other processes are using a large amount of memory. To find out which program it may be, try checking your RAM usage.

1. Right-click on the Windows taskbar and click on Task Manager.

Free Ram Task Manager

2. Click the Processes tab.

3. Click on the Memory column heading to sort the processes by the amount of memory they are using.

Free Ram Memory Usage Table

4. Look for programs at the top of the list that you don’t recognize.

5. Right-click on the program and click “End task” to stop the program from running.

Scan for malicious programs

Even if you have an antivirus program on your computer, malware and other malicious programs can still find their way onto your system. Run a scan on your computer using your antivirus to see if this could be causing your slow computer.

Check if antivirus is running in the background

Antivirus software is notorious for taking up a lot of resources, particularly when it is running a scan. If your computer suddenly becomes slow, check your antivirus to see if it is running. If it is, stop it and schedule the scan to run when your computer is idle.

Reduce the number of startup programs

Go to the task manager and click on the startup tab. Disable any programs you do not want to run when you boot your machine by clicking on them and then on the Disable button at the bottom.

Clear Page file at shutdown

The page file is an area of the hard drive that Windows uses as extra RAM when the physical RAM fills up. When you shut down your computer, the system RAM is cleared, but the page file is not. Clearing the page file when you shut down will make your computer run more efficiently when you reboot.

1. Click in the search bar and type regedit to locate the Registry editor.

Free Ram Registry Editor Icon

2. Click on the icon to open it.

3. Navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

Free Ram Registry Editor Final

4. Double-click the “ClearPageFileAtShutdown” key on the right.

5. Set the Value data field to 1.

Free Ram Clear Page At Shutdown

6. Click OK.

If none of these seem to affect the speed of your computer, it may be time to add more RAM. If you are not sure what RAM would be best for your computer, you can use this scan at Crucial Advisor. Their tool will scan your machine and list memory upgrades that will work for you.

Freeing up more RAM on your Windows computer allows it to run faster and rely less on the hard drive memory.


Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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