Windows 10 Low on Memory - Firefox

  1. Posts : 24
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    Windows 10 Low on Memory - Firefox

    Hi all,

    There have been "Low on Memory" error messages from Windows since about 3.1, if I remember correctly.

    However, here we are in mid-2016 and Windows is still 'Low on Memory'.

    I know the difference between physical memory, page file, swap file, commit, paged, non-paged, etc.

    Here lately I've had the 'Low on Memory' dialog box pop up several times with that message (screenshot below). It says Firefox is the culprit. When I open Task Manager expecting to see that a memory leak has caused the message by Firefox not releasing memory, all I see is that there is no indication whatsoever that there is a memory problem of any kind.

    For example, after this latest pop-up, what I see is that I have 2.3GB of my 8GB of physical memory in use, 3.5 of 13.8GB (total of physical + page file(s)) committed, 265MB paged pool, 216MB non-paged pool. (screenshot below)

    Firefox is indeed the #1 memory hog at 408MB with about 6 tabs open, but nowhere remotely near anything to cause a low memory alert.

    Is anyone else having this problem or have a solution for the problem? The standard advice was always the same in earlier years "Buy more memory!", but that's hardly the case these days with 8GB standard and 16GB common.

    Here is technical info if that helps anyone see the problem:
    -Windows 10 Version 1607 Build 14393.67
    -Firefox 48
    -EVGA Z87 FTW motherboard
    -8GB (2x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws memory
    -Intel G3258 Pentium OC to 4.2MHz
    -1913MB (Windows recommended) page file on C:
    -262MB (Windows controlled) swap file on C:
    -4096MB page file on E:
    Total of ~6GB page file.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Windows 10 Low on Memory - Firefox-low-memory-dialog.png

    Windows 10 Low on Memory - Firefox-task-manager-memory.png

      My Computer

  2. Posts : 19,524
    W11+W11 Developer Insider + Linux

    "Low memory" has always been somewhat generic warning and problem. Some times it doesn't really mean what it implies but that a program is trying to access wrong part of what it thinks it's a free block. As far as I got to, is an unsigned driver causing it.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 5,485
    Windows 11 Home

    Try CleanMem Free - it was actually specifically designed for Firefox's memory leaks.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 24
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter

    Hi CountMike,

    Thank you for the reply but you pretty well just repeated what I said except for the 'unsigned driver causing it'.

    As far as accessing the 'wrong part' of an address in memory or marked as free but actually in use, that's just normally an 'Invalid Page Fault' error message, not 'Low on Memory'.

    I don't mean to nit pick what you said, indeed I appreciate the answer, but I have ranted for what seems like 100's of years against the use of generally-industry-related technical terms when a helpful person who is very knowledgeable answers a person seeking help on a public forum. I'm a firm believer in the "Tell it to me like I'm a third grader" answer and that's how I attempt to answer questions here and in other forums. May not always succeed but I try to.

    It's my belief that answers to questions like short and terse "All you have to do is create a new rule in the firewall." or "Use winver to tell me the build suffix." are basically useless.

    As you are a Pro User, Gold Member, and VIP Member here with over 6,000 posts, I'm pretty sure it's safe to assume you are extremely proficient in all matters concerning the computing world.

    Will you join me and next time take a short moment to explain what a 'free block' and 'unsigned driver' is?

    Such as "The problem may be that Firefox is attempting to access a part (aka 'address') of memory called a 'block', which is also marked as 'free' meaning another program should be able to use it unless the program does so improperly which will either go unnoticed by the user or will see an error message pop up, sometimes even with the computer completely freezing up, sometimes with the error message on a blue background, requiring a restart of the computer, either by turning off the power switch or pressing the 'Reset' button on the computer case."


    "All parts of a computer attached to the motherboard, the largest circuit board inside the computer case, require what are called "drivers" (which is just a computer file like all others except that it has a very specific purpose) in order to interact with the operating system (usually Microsoft Windows). Windows will check to see if the driver is "signed" by the programmer who wrote the computer code making up the driver, which simply means that the programmer can be identified and that the driver code has not been somehow modified. Windows does not "like" unsigned drivers. They are potentially, but not always, harmful to your computer. Windows will generally alert you that a particular driver is unsigned but with the option to install it anyway. This is usually safe."

    I realize that this adds a tremendous amount of text to a post but perhaps it can be appended to the bottom of the post with a "(see notes below)" next to any technical terms used.

    Of course saving it in a text file and copying and pasting next time will prevent the large typing time required.

    Naturally it's just instinctive to answer a question using our own level of knowledge as if we were talking to a colleague. That's exacerbated by the fact that most times we don't know the experience level of the person you're answering. That's the whole basis of my "keep it simple' as a default way of answering instead of assuming pretty advanced knowledge, until shown otherwise. But as I said, that's not always possible or easy. Technical terms have to be used because there's no other way to say it.

    I've been a computer technician for 25 years so you and I could talk back and forth using every technical term imaginable but what happens when we say "Yeah that one time I OC a G3258 to 4.3 then had wattage problems so I removed 2 unused drives which helped." and a person Googles "wattage problem" and sees that post of ours. Not one ounce of help, they return to Google hoping to find some sense.

    My question, which I should have stated more clearly I guess was "Hey I'm on Insider-Slow with Build 14393.82 and am using Firefox 48.0.1 and getting "Low on Memory". Anybody else?"

    Anyway, thank you again for your reply and as I mentioned I don't mean to disparage what you said in any way.

      My Computer

  5. Posts : 24
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter

    Hi TairikuOkami,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I checked out the CleanMem page and it's just a utility for removing data from memory every 15 minutes or so to prevent the data from being pushed to slower virtual memory (page file). Also the programmer claims that he wrote it to "clear" the memory periodically because he didn't like "trash" (data sitting there unused but still present) cluttering up his memory.

    The utility is written mainly for systems that don't have much actual physical memory installed, such as 2 or 4GB these days. Another thing is that they are over-simplifying "pushing memory to the page file". It's not as simple as that. There have been arguments for ages about whether to simply turn off the page file so that Windows CAN'T use it and programs are "forced" to use only faster physical memory. Wouldn't it be nice if only that really worked.

    Memory with "Unused data sitting in it" is actually cleared and used for current data in nanoseconds (one billionth of a second). He compares it to having a lot of unused files on your hard drive that need to be deleted. This comparison is way, way wrong.

    Thanks for your post and hopefully someone will arrive here and read what you said and their problem is indeed that they for some reason or the other have only a small amout of memory installed (1 or 2GB mainly. 4GB is plenty to run any version of Windows. Perhaps not to it's potential but it will run. More is better with 8 or 16GB)

      My Computer


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