5 Ways to Clear Memory & Increase RAM on Your Windows Computer
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RAM (random access memory), the final frontier. You’ve been with us since the PC’s invention and you always seem to run out on us. Sometimes, you even cause problems that go unnoticed until you make everything come crashing down.

Internal memory has come a long way, though. We’ll show you how you can free up memory and extend your RAM Is Intel Optane Memory Cheap DDR3 RAM? Is Intel Optane Memory Cheap DDR3 RAM? Wondering what Intel's Optane memory is all about? Is it cheap RAM, or something more? Here's what you need to know. Read More , both virtually and physically.

1. Run ReadyBoost

Microsoft’s ReadyBoost feature takes advantage of the fact that flash storage is about as quick as RAM. Introduced with Windows Vista, ReadyBoost requires a USB drive 5 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About 5 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About We’ve all used USB sticks to transport files between computers and back up our files, but there are other cool things you can do with a USB stick. Read More that offers at least

  • 256 megabytes of storage,
  • access times of 1 millisecond or less,
  • a read speed of 2.5 megabytes per second for 4KB random reads, along with
  • a write speed of 1.75 megabytes per second for 512KB random rights.

While the requirements were a bit intimidating at release, modern USB drives can meet these specifications with ease.

You can enable ReadyBoost by right-clicking your USB drive in My Computer, opening Properties, and then navigating to the ReadyBoost tab. You’ll see several radio buttons that let you enable or disable the feature as well as a slider that lets you dictate how much of the drive’s capacity is devoted to the feature. The ceiling is four gigabytes, if you use FAT32 formatting on the drive, but formatting with NTFS ups the ceiling to 32GB.


Enabling ReadyBoost isn’t as beneficial as installing more RAM, but it does provide some performance improvement. In some cases it can decrease load times by up to 75%. You’re most likely to see a noticeable improvement if you have very little RAM (say, two gigabytes or less) and a relatively slow mechanical hard drive. Windows disables this feature if you have an internal solid state drive because it offers superior storage performance.

2. Use Windows Task Manager & Resource Monitor

The easiest way to free up RAM in use is to open Windows Task Manager. Navigate to the Processes tab and then sort the list of open programs by memory. This will reveal any process that’s consuming an unusually large volume of RAM.

You can see even more information by going to the Performance tab, opening Resource Monitor, and then navigating to its Memory tab. In this view, you’ll see the information found in Windows Task Manager and a graph that breaks down how your system is currently allocating RAM.


Don’t be alarmed if you see some significant RAM allocation. You should, if you’re running Windows Vista or later. Memory management in Vista and later versions of Windows is more aggressive, which means the OS eagerly retains data in memory that may be useful in the future. You should only be concerned if Resource Monitor consistently shows more than three-quarters of your RAM as “In Use,” as that’s a good indication there’s no enough to go around.

3. Disable or Remove Unnecessary Software

As you navigate Windows Task Manager and Resource Monitor, you may notice some programs that are consistently a problem, yet restart themselves whenever your system boots. Dropbox, for example, consumes about 85MB of memory on my PC, but I only use it once in a blue moon. Running it 24/7 doesn’t make a lot of sense.


You can uninstall an offending program, of course, but it’s more likely you’ll want to prevent it from running when your system boots. We’ve already published several articles, so instead of repeating that information, I’ll direct you to our article on how to troubleshoot system issues with MSconfig How To Troubleshoot Your Windows With The MSconfig Utility How To Troubleshoot Your Windows With The MSconfig Utility The System Configuration Utility (or MSconfig.exe) is used to manage the processes that happen when the Windows operating system boots up. Read More and this list of 10 non-essential startup programs you can disable Make Windows Start Faster: 10 Non-Essential Startup Items You Can Safely Remove Make Windows Start Faster: 10 Non-Essential Startup Items You Can Safely Remove So your computer has been booting slowly lately? You probably have too many programs and services trying to start up all at once. Are you wondering how they got there and how to remove them? Read More .

4. Install a RAM Cleaner

If tracking down offending programs feels like chasing your tail, or you’re just not familiar with Windows Task Manager, you can try installing a program that “cleans” your RAM. These programs basically go on a hunt for programs that are consuming memory and shut off their access, freeing that memory up for other uses. Some of the better examples we’ve tested over the years include Cleanmen CleanMem - A Windows Memory Cleaner That Works? CleanMem - A Windows Memory Cleaner That Works? CleanMem claims to reduce your computer's RAM usage. Even if it succeeds, you don't need it. Here's why, and what to do instead. Read More , Minimem and The Ultimate Memory Cleaner (for Mac).


Be warned, though, that these tools are controversial. While some users have reported success, others have failed to see an improvement with a so-called cleaning. I personally am among the latter number; though, to be fair, I haven’t had shortage of memory in some time.

You should also be careful to vet the reviews of any RAM cleaner you consider grabbing, because malware apps sometimes masquerade as RAM cleaning or optimization tools. Double-check that you’re downloading a legitimate app from its official website.

5. Add More RAM

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While the techniques already listed can help solve your memory woes, there will inevitably come a time where the normal solutions don’t work. RAM is a limited resource and there’s only so much you can do to stretch the gigabytes you have available.


You first need to identify what kind of RAM your computer uses. This can be made easy by downloading a system specification tool like CPU-Z that informs you what’s installed in your desktop or laptop. However, you may also need to open your system and examine what free slots you have available, if any. If you have free slots you can simply buy more to add to what you already have, but if all slots are filled, you’ll need to replacements that offer more capacity per DIMM.

Once you’ve grabbed the new memory, you can learn to install it by checking out the very helpful installation videos made available by Crucial, a company that sells RAM and solid state storage. Laptop users can also refer to our upgrade guide How To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By Step How To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By Step Is your laptop old, slow, and has the hardware never been upgraded? Working on a slow computer can be a real drag. Before you buy a completely new one, however, you should consider ways to... Read More , which will take you through the process step-by-step.

Never Run Out of Memory Again!

See, RAM? You’re not such a trouble-maker after all. Sure, you cause problems every now and again, but it’s easy enough to resolve them – and often the biggest problem of all is having too little of you! I’m glad we were able to work this out, RAM How to Troubleshoot Low RAM or Memory Leaks in Windows How to Troubleshoot Low RAM or Memory Leaks in Windows Do you have 4 or more GB of RAM and does your computer still feel sluggish? You may suffer from a memory leak or shortage. We show you how to troubleshoot all your Windows (10)... Read More . I think things are going to be okay.

How much RAM do you need How Much RAM Do You Really Need? How Much RAM Do You Really Need? RAM is like short term memory. The more you multitask, the more you need. Find out how much your computer has, how to get the most out of it, or how to get more. Read More to be happy?

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  1. Rosie page
    September 5, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    There are several techniques to clear the laptop RAM and clearing the RAM make the laptop memory free of space and it will make the system run faster and smoother. Go to the properties and select the ReadyBoost to boost the RAM. It will increase the performance of the laptop and users can work easily on it. Visit kaspersky customer service to get more techniques for this purpose.

  2. legri
    January 15, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Ha ha ha ha we knew this a long time ago. say something new

    • BubSmuth
      September 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      This is just a re-posted article from 2014...

  3. Steve
    December 19, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    or alternatively go to crucial.com and download the scanner and it will tell you what's inside your pc.

  4. daniel
    July 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    i have 8 ram recently installed on my laptop but i can use only 2.9 of them , how can i fully use the 8 gb ram installed ?
    win 10 32 bits system X 64 bits processor ...

    • Belgoras
      August 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      A 32 bit windows cannot use more RAM. You need to install a 64 Windows version.

    • Wizzo
      April 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      You can use all your memory.. it requires a PAE patch though. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/unlock-64gb-ram-32-bit-windows-pae-patch/

      I recommend cloning your drive before you install that patch though.. just in case something bad happens.

      This forum is filled with misinformation.. such as people saying that 32 bit windows cannot use more RAM.. it can.. as long as your CPU is 64 bit. Another absurd bit of misinformation is about ReadyBoost. The person writing about it claims that a USB flash drive is as fast as RAM. That is insane. That is like comparing the speed of a race car to a bicycle.

      • Webster Phreaky
        November 6, 2017 at 3:24 am

        Sorry no ... various Windows 7 patches since that ancient article was written ages ago disables that PAE Patch. If you actually had PAE installed you'd know that. I did.

  5. Eric Franco
    April 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Do you need your flashdrive in your computer all the time for ReadyBoost or can you take it out?

    • Grassy the Helper
      May 19, 2016 at 4:11 am

      If you want ReadyBoost to stay working keep the flash storage with ReadyBoost enabled in your computer's USB slot all the time you need to use ReadyBoost.

    • Wizzo
      April 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Flash memory doesn't last forever. It was never meant to be used as RAM. I would not expect the Flash memory on a USB drive to last more than a year when used as RAM.

  6. sam
    April 3, 2016 at 10:11 am

    i have problem to load my android studio ..can anyone help me .

  7. Ozka
    February 12, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Iv installed Fallout 4 on my pc but i dont know if it works correctly becuase iv got 7.19 gb of ram and 64 gb of memory but the game seems a bit laggy and stuff like delays whenever i press a button by like 0.5 seconds do i need to clear my ram? or something like that?

    • Aghass
      March 16, 2016 at 3:11 am

      Check your full specs and if they are the minimum. I assume you have 64 gb of Hard Drive space? Try lowering settings and run as administrator.

    • Tech Tips
      May 9, 2016 at 8:23 am

      hello ozka first subscribe my page on youtube Tech Tips and i want to do how you must not delete the game no in the file of fallout you have app is ''uninstall'' you must from here delete the game after restart you computer and after many time you see to your ram being to clean and delete all ''download'' from google
      ;) :)

    • Ali
      May 20, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Whats your Graphics card? Processor? even some decent GPU and Processors are struggling nowadays IF you got a graphics card that is Nvidia GT you better keep it at low to medium else almost any GTX and i5 or i7 that ends with a K will handle medium with no issues and can go up to high and if your specs are good enough you can play at Ultra with no problems

      Recommended specs are

      -i5 6600K
      -Nvidia GTX 960 and higher
      -12 GB RAM or higher
      -Liquid Cooling not required but better it will just keep your processor at optimal temperature for optimal performance
      -A fast HDD or an SSD

      • L337
        January 22, 2017 at 1:50 am

        Nope. These days, an i3 can run some games decently, and something like a GTX 950 does pretty good. A good air cooler can hands-down beat a cheap watercooler, and because CPUs don't have mechanical parts, there isn't an optimal temperature.
        8gb of ram are enough.
        Your main worries should be your VRAM, not having enough is terrible.
        You don't need more than an i5, and in that case, clock speeds are most important.
        The resolution at which you are running deeply affects your performance, sometimes lowering it can make a game playable.

  8. Anonymous
    June 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Is there a way that I can make all of my ram usable

    • Anonymous
      August 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      All of your Ram is being used. If you have 4 gig ram but it only shows about 3.5 gig, it means that 0.5 of your ram is being used as Vram which is essential for many tasks.

      • Anonymous
        October 12, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        Lol bud VRAM is on your GPU. This whole thing is about DRAM.

        • Bishop28
          December 7, 2015 at 7:13 pm

          The gpu is onboard in many computers, and uses onboard DRAM.

    • Wizzo
      April 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm


      Use that to access all your RAM.. but I recommend cloning your drive before doing it.. just in case.

  9. dustin decot
    April 19, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Found page looking forways to free up some ram. Found a nasty eluding virus or so called PermierOpinion under services and chose to change form atimatic to disable. Then went to delete the rest from files and it was removed.

  10. Ikpeama Justice
    March 19, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    kudos, thanks a lot sir

  11. Herbert
    March 12, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Or you can go to downloadmoreram.com to download your choice of deeply discounted (free actually) ram in any size allotment.

    • Anonymous
      June 26, 2015 at 3:50 am

      Nice meme

    • brad
      March 2, 2016 at 12:36 am

      That only works with Google Ultron.

  12. Virtus
    March 4, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    -- Why Memory Optimizers and RAM Boosters Are Worse Than Useless--

    "Yes, memory optimizers can free up some of your PC’s RAM. However, that’s a bad thing — you want your computer to use its RAM to speed things up. There’s no point in having free memory." - How To Geek

  13. Navroz
    January 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    If we will upgrade our ram will everything be deleted

    • Anonymous
      March 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      No it will not

  14. James williams
    December 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Amount of RAM needed is highly specific to the needs of the user. For instance, I have made an 8 core amd with 8gb of ram easily produce a low memory message and begin to get sluggish with just Photoshop, chrome and Norton open.
    Your usage and needs dictate how much you need. I am personally installing another 16gb 1600mhz to add to my existing so that will give me 24gb to make the best use possible of ram driving my essentials for faster than ssd speeds.
    That will undoubtedly help and improve gaming as well by removing the delay of sending content from the ssd to the cpu and therein ram. It's already there and ready to be utilised. This can result in over 100 frames per second in games like world of warcraft, so a smooth 60fps experienfe online, as opposed to that choppy lag that can happen when a lot is happening on screen.
    it can also eradicate a hell of a lot of load times. Using dimmdrive for instance you can ram drive Google Chrome and have a real browsing exprince where 1080p video files are a quarter loaded in seconds. Or you can stick with 8gb going largely uncontrolled by you and rely on only ssd speed to get you there, or mechanical.
    I am of the opinion that you have future tech RAM speeds sat right there in the pc case now. Why would you resist using it...

  15. ken zi
    June 23, 2014 at 3:20 am

    Also, a quick reboot could free up some ram. I agree, the best thing to do of course, when frequently running out of ram, is to add more ram.

  16. OPCOP
    June 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I currently have 27,5 gigs available. That should suffice :p

  17. Tim G
    June 13, 2014 at 9:50 am

    All you need to do is download more RAM here: downloadmoreram.com

  18. Rob
    June 13, 2014 at 4:32 am

    After upgrading my ram I stopped using ram cleaners since they simply don't work well.

  19. Dan F
    June 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    >Microsoft’s ReadyBoost feature takes advantage of the fact that flash storage is about as quick as RAM.

    What. Flash storage is nowhere near the speed of RAM. DDR3-800 (lowest end DDR3) has a peak transfer rate of 6400MB/s. The peak transfer rate of USB 3.0 is 625MB/s. Over 10x slower. USB 3.0 wasn't even out when ReadyBoost was released, but neither was DDR3. DDR2-400 (lowest end DDR2) has a peak transfer rate of 3200MB/s. The peak transfer rate of USB 2.0 is 60MB/s (closer to 35MB/s due to bus constraints). Even PC100 SDRAM, in use around 2000, has a peak transfer rate of 800MB/s.

    The advantage of utilizing flash memory over page files on mechanical drives is access time. Seek time on consumer grade mechanical drives can be around ~10ms. The minimum access time for ReadyBoost, as you stated, is 1ms, 10x faster. Modern USB 3.0 flash drives can have access times in the sub-microsecond range. Mechanical drives also have a much slower random access speed, and incur a large speed penalty for accessing fragmented pages.

    Flash drives aren't quicker than RAM in any aspect. They do have an advantage over page / swap files stored on mechanical drives.

    • pmshah
      June 13, 2014 at 2:55 am

      I concur. Performance of any PC is directly dependent on only 3 aspects. Processor, amount of RAM and HDD speed. My PC is based on a low power i3-3220T processor. I have 8 GB of ram of which 5 GB are free and pagefile usage out of allocated 8 GB is ZERO. There is just no way ReadyBoost is going to improve performance !

      I however do concede that it could improve performance of my Asus NetBook which came with only 1 GB of ram and x64 Windows Home Premium. By design it cannot accept any more than a single 2 GB dimm, which I have done.

    • Matt S
      June 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Yes, I was referring to access times. Obviously bandwidth is not comparable.

  20. Bryan P
    June 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I have 16 GB of memory. There are times when I hit the ceiling, and things really start going wonky.

    I exit all my browsers. I use Nightly Firefox as my daily browser, which is the 64-bit unsupported version (at least, until lately evidently). I have two accounts on Command and Conquer Tiberium Alliances that pretty much require a connection 24/7 (scripts make the ridiculous maintenance aspects of the game just go away), so that's a portable Release version of Firefox, and I have another portable Beta version of Firefox. Any other open browsers, I exit as well, Palemoon, Chrome, although I haven't killed off all instances of Chrome which now startup automatically for Hangouts and Notifications, or any of the 16 instances that it starts now. :|

    At least by me running the Nightly, it forces me to reboot that browser every day, instead of just leaving it run all the time.

    I also use Sysinternal's Procexp.exe, and I kill all the zombie explorer.exes that are there. There should be two instances running with no open explorer windows. Kill off the the all of them but the last two, that frees up an amazing amount of memory as well. Especially if you have 20 or so still just sitting there, waiting to be killed or for the next reboot.

    I manage my own swap space, with the minimum and the maximum the same size, that way it is always contiguous, which helps a bit. I also try to break it up between drives. Windows doesn't like it when you don't have it on C drive, but thems the breaks. But I haven't paid much attention to how much swap I do use, so I just set Moo0 System Montor to show me that, so I can see if it is also an issue of the swap being full as well as the memory.

    I also have a thumb drive with ReadyBoost. Although I thought that had to do more with faster startups than it did with helping with memory. The other thing they don't tell you, is that the most you can allocate to a drive is 4GB. So don't think that you're going to be able to stick in a 16GB thumb drive and use all of that for Readboost. Just go with a cheap 4 GB (8 GB if you really think getting the full 4 GB is worthwhile) drive. My laptop has a 4GB SD card in it's slot. That's sufficient, especially since it has 4GB of memory.

    And yes, I wish I could put another 16GB of memory on this computer.

  21. Daniel J
    June 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Good Article, thank you.

  22. Elod
    June 12, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Answering the last question, i have 6 GB of RAM and it's perfectly okay for me since 2011. Sometimes i multitask heavily. I am not a gamer per se but sumetimes i try pretty soliciting games like Far Cry 3, and it runs well. Except for the time that the laptop was full of dust (it did run well though, it just got hot pretty soon). I had it cleaned, and everything was OK.

    So i can safely say, 6 gigs are enough to make me happy :)

  23. Rafael Kireyev
    June 12, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Happiness doesn't happen too much. Recently I upgraded the laptop from 4 to 8, but a desire to continue moving in the same direction has become even stronger.

  24. Tom
    June 12, 2014 at 1:48 am

    What I truly hate is when you buy a new mid-grade PC and they default the specs to 4GB of RAM. I just bumped all of the machines in my office from 4GB to 8GB.... HUGE DIFFERENCE. Most folks just assume it's time to buy a new machine when simply dropping $50 (or less) at your favorite computer store will do the trick.

  25. John T
    June 11, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    or just download some more ram here!

  26. hohum
    June 11, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    For the average punter I recommend 8GB of RAM and a good SSD. You don't need to worry a lot about the speed of either in my opinion. If you have a slower spindle hard disk, then put as much RAM is as you can, particularly if you're on a Mac.

    The other tip I'd suggest if you need RAM, buy it. Trying to cheat never works. Maintain your computer every once in a while is a good tip too - clean the crap off it & consider stuff like spinrite.

  27. Jan F
    June 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I believe the controversy about memory cleaner comes from people having wrong expectations to what it can and can't do. Because the only memory that can be "cleaned" or "freed up" is from processes and services that are used once and never after until a reboot, poorly programmed applications which don't release the memory after quitting or memory leaks (in which case it will continue to eat up your memory either way).

    For the most part what happens is that they force-move the memory data from inactive processes to the paging file. Now if that memory belongs to some startup system process which will remain idle until you shutdown the computer this won't hurt. If that memory belongs e.g. to some inactive tabs of your browser you will actually see a decrease in performance as this data will have to be read from the paging file on the slow hard drive rather than the speedy RAM.

    If your RAM is sufficient for your system but just bloated with stuff the best thing you can do is restart your system. This will clean up all, physical memory, the paging file and the virtual memory management.

  28. Tom W
    June 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I think it's important to re-iterate that freeing up RAM won't speed up your computer unless you're running out. A lot of people think that their computer will go faster if they have more RAM free, but this isn't true so long as you have enough for all of the programs that you currently have running. If you have 8GB of RAM and you never use more than 4GB, the other 4GB serves no purpose.

    • Matt S
      June 11, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Yep, that's true. RAM is kind of all or nothing, you have enough, or you don't, and if you don't things start to get real slow. Works the same way with video cards; once you run out of VRAM performance absolutely plummets, often into single digits.

    • Henne
      April 7, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      well i have an issue, my computer has 12 GB RAM for some reason my computer is always using 9 GB of it and it gives me only 1GB. Can you help with this?

    • Scutterman
      April 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      If you're using Windows, you can see how much ram you're using, and what programs are using it. Open up Task Manager, click "Show processes from all users", and then click the "Memory (Private) tab to sort by RAM usage. Once you've found out what's using the RAM, you can choose how to deal with the program as needed.

    • Simon A
      May 1, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Not entirely true, for me it says that I have 27320MB of available memory (with 32768MB installed).

      However, my memory turns into standby increadibly fast sometimes, and then my free memory drops to 0, and I won't be able to do anything on my compuiter, the standby memory is the thing I fear most of all, because it's like used memory, but you can't use it until you clear it, because the computer won't do that by itself, and when your free memory drops to 0 you are unable to do anything at all, and those with 8GB or less often recieve a bluescreen when it happens (a lot of the times this is the reason for a bluescreen).

      At this point I have given up the search of an easy way to clear the standby RAM, so I just restart my computer.

      Henne, this is most possibly your problem too, your computer stores too much standby memory, one good way to make it store it slower is by using a lightweight antivirus, because they can be storing standby RAM like hell. so if you use something like Panda, Norton or Avast, I would recommend changing to one which won't kill off your computer.

      I could recommend you Comodo or Kaspersky, because those are the two best that I've had.