Computer memory is in high demand as you play, err, work on your computer, and performance can take a big hit when it runs low. Control the programs that use more than their share of memory using the Windows program Minimem, which moves unused or unnecessary memory pages to the hard drive. I tried it on Firefox 3, Kallout, Windows Explorer, SpyBot Search and Destroy and a few other processes, most of which seemed to use less memory after being “Minimemed.”
Remember that not all programs should be optimized with Minimem. Some programs manage memory usage well on their own, so you won’t see a difference when trying to optimize that process. It might also have a good reason to keep information in memory, and using Minimem to force it to unload that information will therefore not be a good idea. It might be holding data in memory to help performance (since reading from the hard drive is slower). It is possible that using Minimem to “optimize” a process that doesn’t need it might actually make it run slower, so only optimize where you have to.
Minimem is good for programs that run in the background but you don’t use all the time. Kallout is a good example, it gives options to look up highlighted terms on a bunch of search, reference, video, news and other sites. It gives some handy features but I don’t use them all the time, and it tends to have a pretty big memory footprint.
Another good use is for programs with memory leaks like Firefox 2. Programs like this keep information in memory for longer than they should, and continue to build up more clutter as you use them. Chances are that it will not need most of the information it accumulates, so optimizing with Minimem will help.
I highly recommend Minimem for any power user, especially if you’re running on older hardware. It requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, which is supported on Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 or Server 2008 (Linux and Mac users probably don’t have any performance issues anyway, right? :D ).
What do you think? Are apps like Minimem necessary? Would you use it? Do you know of anything similar? Let’s hear about them in the comments!