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Old 28th Feb 2013, 12:35   #1
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Programs crashing from lack of RAM

Hello,

My specs:

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WD Green 1.5Tb
Windows 7 64 bit

Over the past few months, with increasing frequency, I've been getting an annoying problem. Programs (mostly games, also Firefox) have been crashing, often just crashing to desktop, sometimes with some sort of error report. The error reports I've seen have all said something along the lines of "program shut down due to lack of memory". Often a game and Firefox will crash at the same time, when each are using roughly 1.5GB of RAM occording to task manager. Looking at the Performance tab of task manager, under Physical Memory, it generally says something along the lines of "Available: 2000 Free: 0".

I realise here that measuring is important. I'm not 100% sure how to see how much RAM is being used for what. Under the Processes tab in task manager I have a column "Working Set (Memory)" which I think is an indication of how much RAM processes are currently using but I'd be interested in different opinions on how to best display this.

I guess my point in all this is that I have 8GB of RAM, my programs use maybe a total of 4GB and I figure Windows uses a couple of GB... which doesn't add up to programs crashing to due to lack of RAM.

Another thing I considered was that the issue had to do with the video RAM on the GPU. I monitored it with GPU-Z and it never went higher than ~60%. So I guess that's not it.

Are there tests I can run, programs I can use to try solve/understand this issue? Or do I simply need to buy more RAM?

Cheers.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 12:37   #2
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Memtest. Download, run, check RAM.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 12:43   #3
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As above make a memtest usb/cd and test.

Check your ram timings are correct in bios.

Reseat the ram (make sure it is in it's slots correctly).

Also run a virus/malware check to make sure you don't have a rouge program eating up your Ram

8Gb of ram is more than enough unless doing some serious video editing etc.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 13:46   #4
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Make sure you have a pagefile of a decent size. I was having similar problems and tried loads of different things (including replacing memory modules with a different brand) until I found that there was no pagefile at all. Soon as I created one all was well.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 14:40   #5
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Hello,

Thanks for the prompt replies.

I ran a single pass of memtest, no errors. I'll leave it running when I go to bed to be sure. I'll try reseating the RAM then too.

Malwarebytes scan came back clean.

My pagefile is currently set to 800-2000MB. I heard pagefiles were bad for SSD's because of the frequent writes, how accurate is that?

I suspect it's a software problem seeing as it's only really started happening recently and my hardware has stayed the same recently (except for the SSD actually - could that be related?).

Cheers.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 16:42   #6
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Windows 7 is fine to manage the pagefile on an ssd. On old ssd's and older OS' s that applied.

So let windows do its job.

Run memtest overnight to be sure.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 18:04   #7
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Hello,

Windows seems to want to make the pagefile 12GB which seems overkill, especially because the SSD is pretty small and I try and conserve space on it. Would it really help my problem making it that large? I was under the impression that the pagefile gets used once the RAM starts to get full which I figure shouldn't be happening anyway.

What's the best way to measure RAM usage of processes?

Cheers.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 18:33   #8
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You really shouldn't be getting problems like this.

12GB is way too big for a pagefile, I've got 11 tabs open in firefox right now and it's only using 252MB

You can get a more detailed picture of ram usage by opening resource monitor from the performance tab of task manager, but the working set should give you a fair idea.

Also I've found that Windows Memory Diagnostic has picked up on Ram errors that Memtest missed.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 19:07   #9
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Hello,

I suspect I do tend to use a lot of RAM. I don't reboot my computer all that often, and I often have ~50 tabs in Firefox. Even then, Firefox doesn't get to more than 1.5GB RAM usage, so I don't really see this as being the cause of my problem.

Something I notice is that the "Free" RAM in task manager is often 0, even if the "Available" is larger. Is this a problem or it this just how Windows uses RAM?

I'll give the Windows Memory Diagnostic a try too.

Cheers.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 19:36   #10
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Yep, there's definitely something wrong. You have more than sufficient memory. Either some sort of memory leak or a hardware issue.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 01:54   #11
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Hello,

Ran 10 passes of Memtest and it came back clean. I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic which seemed to go fine but didn't display any results after it rebooted, not sure if it was supposed to.

So it looks like my RAM is okay. Anything else I can test?

Cheer.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 02:19   #12
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Have you tried moving the page file to another drive? Just to eliminate that from being a possible cause. As someone previously said, they're not bad for the SSD really anymore.

If you've got a spare drive, unplug all your current drives and reinstall windows. See if you continue to get the same error, if you do it might point to more sinister hardware errors.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 02:20   #13
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Oh, I should point out to reinstall windows onto the spare drive.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 02:26   #14
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Hello,

Reinstalling Windows is a bit of a pain in the arse so that's something I'd rather avoid if I can. My current install is only a couple of months old anyway.

Something that someone pointed out to me as being a possible problem is the 32bit limitation of programs. I don't know very much about this but apparently individual processes have a limit on how much RAM they can address, around 1.6GB unless specifically patched to use more. This suggestion was an interesting one because this is around how much RAM games use when they crash (the two games this has been happening with recently are League of Legends and The Secret World).

Could someone who knows more about this issue shed some light on whether or not that could be my problem?

Cheers.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 02:37   #15
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If you have a 64-bit install of windows you shouldn't be getting memory limitations if the game is also 64-bit.

I know reinstalling is a pain, what's why I suggested using a spare hard drive and unplugging your current primary/secondary drives. It won't affect your current install :-)
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 03:36   #16
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Hello,

I was under the impression that games and such were 32bit software even on 64bit Windows. Eg in task manager The Secret World is "TheSecretWorldDX11.exe *32". Does that mean that the game is 32bit software and therefore might have memory limitations?

Cheers.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 03:46   #17
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Generally games and programs are written to fit into 32 bit memory configurations, so max 2GB for OS and 2 GB for the program. I believe this is why there was a decision to make either future battlefield games or future games that use the Frostbite engine (can't remember which) exclusively 64 bit.

On the other hand when you have a 64 bit operating system which doesn't divide the ram, you don't have to apply these rules, so if a 32 bit program were to use more than 2GB it wouldn't run into limitations. So it is possible for a 32 bit app to use more than 2GB, just not common.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 04:52   #18
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Hello,

So assuming that that's not my problem, what else could it be? Are there any other tests I can try to help determine the cause?

Cheers.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 06:33   #19
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Hello,

Just now I was playing Black Ops 2 campaign. It crashed, along with around 3 other programs at the same time. I checked task manager - Black Ops 2 was using 3GB of RAM. I'm assuming that's much more than it should be using. Could I have some kind of memory leak or something?

Cheers.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 12:40   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deders View Post
Generally games and programs are written to fit into 32 bit memory configurations, so max 2GB for OS and 2 GB for the program. I believe this is why there was a decision to make either future battlefield games or future games that use the Frostbite engine (can't remember which) exclusively 64 bit.

On the other hand when you have a 64 bit operating system which doesn't divide the ram, you don't have to apply these rules, so if a 32 bit program were to use more than 2GB it wouldn't run into limitations. So it is possible for a 32 bit app to use more than 2GB, just not common.
It's not quite that straightforward - see here:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/libr...(v=vs.85).aspx

A 32bit app/game in 64-bit Windows will still be limited to 2Gb, unless it was compiled with the IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE linker option, in which case it will be limited to 3Gb
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