Releasing Standby memory


  1. Posts : 286
    Windows 10 Professional
       #1

    Releasing Standby memory


    Windows 10 Pro, 32GB memory, 970 GTX GPU. Ordinary boring, but previously very capable desktop.

    I'm running a couple Adobe tools. Needless to say, they are total pigs. And it appears they've gotten WORSE in the current version. When the Adobe products are up and running, everything on the system has major lag.

    When I looked at the resource monitor, of 32GB of memory, something over 15GB is reserved for "Standby Memory" and the system shows around 97MB (yes, MB) available. And the Standby Memory STAYS at over 15GB whether Any of the Adobe products are running or not...

    I don't REMEMBER ever seeing this in previous versions of Windows 10.

    In the Resource Monitor I can sometimes see the system churning the pagefile.

    There apparently used to be something called RamMAP that was downloaded from MS to force the system to free Standby Memory, but it doesn't appear to work any more...

    Do I have a memory issue, and if so, do I need more page file? Less page file? Let the system manage the page file? Do I need to somehow make Windows 10 release a bunch of that Standby memory? If so, how?
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  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 20,593
    10 Home x64 (21H1) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #2

    GracieAllen said:
    Do I have a memory issue...?

    No, this is normal behaviour. While it's not being used by any apps standby memory will be used to cache disk access, recently use files and files or software you may be likely to access. This helps speed up the system. As soon as there is a request for memory from an app, the standby memory will be released for its use.
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  3. Posts : 98
    win 10 pro (21H1)
       #3

    GracieAllen said:
    There apparently used to be something called RamMAP that was downloaded from MS to force the system to free Standby Memory, but it doesn't appear to work any more...
    RamMap is working for me, when you click empty standby list you then close it, and it does its thing.
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  4. pparks1's Avatar
    Posts : 1,919
    Windows 10 Pro
       #4

    why buy 32GB of RAM and have it unused? I want every byte of my RAM in use if possible. Keep anything and everything in RAM. When a new app launches and RAM needs to become available, then get rid of some cached content to make room.

    If you use 3rd party tools to clear out your RAM you are effectively dumping it to disk which is hella slower.
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  5. Posts : 1,231
    Windows 10 Pro
       #5

    Maybe "Standby" wasn't the best name for memory in this state. It seems to cause a great deal of confusion. But the term has been in use since NT was first released in 1993.

    Standby memory is in no way reserved. This memory is fully available to any process that needs it and in most cases forms the largest part of available memory. A high value is a good thing. Windows was designed to work this way. A low value for Free memory is a good thing, zero being the optimum value. Many times I have seen Free memory near zero and everything is working well.

    Linux and Mac OS also have an equivalent to standby memory, just with different names.

    Your description of memory values seems completely normal.
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  6. Posts : 286
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #6

    OK, I won't mess with the memory...

    Now I just have to figure out why both Lightroom and Photoshop have become almost unusable. Part of the problem is that everything keeps updating. MS sends out changes to Windows, Adobe changes Lightroom and Photoshop. In my environment, it's normal to see Lightroom use 10-15 GB of memory (according to the task manager), and Photoshop do the same. Memory for Photoshop is recommended at around 18-21GB so I've set the preferences accordingly.

    It's always somethin'!
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  7. Posts : 204
    Win 10
       #7

    This is the first I have heard of any issues with Standby list memory causing issues outside of games.
    I know there were a lot of reports around 1809 of games having issues where the standby list didn't release memory and games would stutter. There are a few programs that can clear up this issue. I have used both and they do work but I only used it for games, never noticed any issues in windows applications.
    ISLC (Intelligent standby list cleaner) by Wagnarsoft and Processlasso by Bitsum can clear the standby list automatically.
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  8. Posts : 505
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit 19042.985
       #8

    Bree said:
    No, this is normal behaviour. While it's not being used by any apps standby memory will be used to cache disk access, recently use files and files or software you may be likely to access. This helps speed up the system. As soon as there is a request for memory from an app, the standby memory will be released for its use.
    That is the thing, standby memory isn't released. It slowly fills all remaining ram and than game crashes/freezes, because of memory leak. Even if you have 32GB ram same thing happens. It is long time known problem, yet microsoft didn't do anything. Game runs fine without standby memory. It is residue from time computers had 512MB ram and windows had to page things to page file and extend memory and memory was also slow so Windows used standby memory to prefetch things into ram.

    Even if you had 128GB ram, it would probably happen eventually. You can clean standby memory with something like ISLC, but at that time game freezes on a moment, which annoying and standby memory fills quickly again. So you will experience freezes, each time it is cleared. But than it works completely fine even with 0 stanby memory. Battlefield 3 required 4GB ram recommended specs, yet people even with 16/32GB of ram complained on memory leak and game freezing, when all remaining free memory was contained... It must be Windows problem, but microsoft either don't care, or don't want to fix it. You can use page file, which will wear down your ssd and slow things down, if you put that on hdd. Even it is used rarely.

    EDIT: IT TURNS OUT, IT WASN'T MEMORY LEAK. BUT FACT: THAT WINDOWS TRIES TO COMPRESS MEMORY TO SAVE SPACE, ONCE YOU RUN OUT OF FREE MEMORY! AND THAT CAUSES PROGRAMS TO CRASH. IT WAS DISABLED BY DEFAULT FOR ME ON NEWEST WINDOWS, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT WAS THE CASE PREVIOUSLY.

    How to enable memory compression Windows 10 - Super User
    Last edited by empleat; 06 Feb 2021 at 08:56.
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  9. Pejole2165's Avatar
    Posts : 836
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    I'm wondering why you are seeing this behaviour (I don't believe it is a Windows issue, or at least not entirely), I just did a quick test, Windows states there is 7440Mb standby (cached memory), 3.2Gb in use, so I opened Gimp and used went up by .5Gb but standby increased by approx 4Mb, I then loaded a 4K image, used went up by 1.2Gb, standby remained constant, I then opened Blender, used went up by 150Mb, standby increased by approx 4Mb again, I loaded a 400Mb staging file, used memory went up by 400Mb, I rendered the file, used went up by 2.4Gb then dropped by 2.4Gb once the render was complete. All through this the used amount increased and decreased, going back to 3.2Gb once both apps were closed, standby decreased by approx 5Mb at the end of the test.
    This is on Windows 10 pro, 2004, with 40Gb ram and a 5Gb page file (which did not get used at all). So Windows did not keep hold of the memory used by the apps I ran or from the files I opened except for a small amount added to standby which I assume relates to caching the apps I started and the files I opened with them.
    Another test was to restart so that Windows had 2.5Gb in use, the rest of the memory was free, I ran Macrium and created a full system disk image, once it had completed Windows reported all the previously free memory (36Gb) as standby (obviously used as a disk cache by Macrium), so I started Elder Scrolls online, it started as quick as always and ran perfectly, no stutters or pauses, even when changing locations.
    I quit Elder Scrolls and checked memory, all was still reported as standby. Now I know Elder Scrolls uses up to 8Gb of ram, but there were obviously no issues with Windows giving the game all the ram it needed regardless of it being termed as standby. The only thing I have done to my system is to turn of prefetch since I am using an SSD, everything else is at out of box settings including page file settings.
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  10. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 Home 2004 - 19041.329
       #10

    When I see that the amount of standby Ram in my system has grown and yet I still have more than 64Gb of RAM left, (right now I'm using 15.2gb with 112 free) then why would the entire system slow down. Windows begin to open slowly, display of contents in folders slows down and Programs take much longer to execute. Eventually it gets to the point where I have to actually reboot to restore performance or use a program like RamMap to empty the standby. (only rebooting really brings things back)

    I have 128GB of ram in my system. In theory, I should be able to disable the paging file completely and the system should have no issues running. That's not the case. (I do have a paging file but I shouldn't need to anymore) In addition, with a Threadripper CPU running at around 3Ghz, there should be no reason for this system to ever slow down unless I'm doing something super intensive. What appears to be the major cause is when you do things with large files. Try compressing a folder containing 10gigs or more, or play a big fat video file. Some of the high end video files can be in excess of 32GB each. That file sits in standby hours after I'm done watching the video and closed the program. Sometimes RamMap will even just freeze up when trying to clear out the standby RAM. I've seen Adobe files get huge when your making an absolutely gargantuan image for use on the side of a vehicle or building. So if you want to duplicate this issue, fill up a 1.5 terabyte hard-drive with about a TB of info, then compress it. Or use a program like WinRar to pack up large files. The compression is pure Microsoft and I feel shows how it's a Windows issue and not something other applications are "doing wrong".

    I don't know as much about RAM as other out there but when I'm experiencing a slow system with a large standby set and free RAM, I have to wonder why I even bothered to get 128GB of it. This is a problem and one that Microsoft doesn't seem to want to address.
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