High Memory Usage in Windows 11: 5 Solutions

This guide explains what you need to know about high memory usage, including how to identify the problem and fix it.

Windows 11, the latest operating system from Microsoft, brings a sleek and modern interface along with enhanced features and improvements. Microsoft regularly releases Windows updates to improve security, fix bugs, enhance features, and address performance issues in their operating system. However, you may encounter High Memory Usage in Windows 11. Users report Windows 11 has extremely high RAM usage after a recent update. High memory usage can slow down your PC, cause crashes, and affect your overall performance. This article explores the reason behind it, and how to fix and reduce high memory usage on Windows 11.

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Windows 11 high memory usage

Memory usage, specifically referring to Random Access Memory (RAM) in a computer, plays a crucial role in its performance. RAM is responsible for storing the data needed for running programs, and it is volatile, meaning it is lost when the computer is turned off. When you open or load something on your computer, it goes into RAM for quick and easy access.

High memory usage can be caused by various factors, such as too many programs running in the background, malware infections, outdated drivers, faulty hardware, or incorrect settings.

  • Numerous programs launching during startup can contribute to high memory usage.
  • Windows 11’s visual effects and animations, while visually appealing, may increase memory consumption
  • Some applications may have memory leaks, gradually using up more memory over time.
  • Inadequate RAM for the tasks you’re running can lead to high memory usage and system slowdowns.
  • Inappropriate virtual memory (pagefile) settings may contribute to increased memory usage.
  • Using outdated applications or drivers may result in compatibility issues, leading to increased memory usage.
  • Issues with RAM modules or other hardware components may lead to abnormal memory behavior.
  • Malicious software can disguise itself as legitimate processes, causing a spike in memory usage.

Close unnecessary programs and services

One of the easiest ways to reduce high memory usage on Windows 11 is to close the programs and services that you don’t need or use. You can use the Task Manager to see which programs and services are consuming the most memory and end them.

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  • To open the Task Manager, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard, or right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  • In the Task Manager, click on the Processes tab and sort the list by Memory.
  • You will see how much memory each process is using. To end a process, right-click on it and select End task.
  • Be careful not to end any system processes that are essential for Windows to run.

You can also use the Services tab to see which services are running in the background and stop them if they are not needed.

To open the Services tab, click on More details in the Task Manager, then click on the Services tab. You can sort the list by Status to see which services are running.

To stop a service, right-click on it and select Stop. Be careful not to stop any system services that are essential for Windows to run

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Scan your PC for malware and viruses

Another possible cause of high memory usage on Windows 11 is malware or virus infection. Malware and viruses can consume a lot of memory and CPU resources, as well as compromise your security and privacy. To fix this issue, you need to scan your PC for malware and viruses and remove them.

You can use Windows Security, the built-in antivirus software in Windows 11, to scan your PC for malware and viruses.

  • To open Windows Security, click on the Start button and select Settings
  • Then go to Privacy & Security, then Click on Windows security

windows security

  • Click on Virus & Threat Protection then Scan options,
  • Select Full scan or Custom scan, depending on how thorough you want the scan to be.
  • Then click on Scan now to start the scan.

Full scan with windows security

You can also use a third-party antivirus software to scan your PC for malware and viruses. There are many antivirus software available online, such as Malwarebytes, Avast, Norton, etc. Choose one that suits your needs and preferences, download it from its official website, install it on your PC, and run a scan.

Update your drivers

Another possible cause of high memory usage on Windows 11 is faulty or outdated drivers. Drivers are software that allows your hardware devices to communicate with your operating system. If your drivers are faulty or outdated, they can cause memory leaks or corruption, which can lead to high memory usage.

To fix this issue, you need to update your drivers to the latest versions that are compatible with Windows 11. You can use Device Manager to update your drivers manually or use driver updater software to update them automatically.

To update your drivers manually using Device Manager:

  • Press Windows+X on your keyboard and select Device Manager.
  • In Device Manager, expand the category of the device that you want to update.
  • Right-click on the device and select Update driver.
  • Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  • Wait for Windows to search for and install the updated driver.
  • Repeat these steps for any other device that you want to update.
  • Restart your PC after updating all the drivers.

update graphics driver

Also, you can visit the device manufacturer’s website to download the latest driver windows 11 and you need to install the driver following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

To update your drivers automatically, you can use a driver updater tool that can scan your PC for outdated drivers and install the latest versions for you with one click.

Run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

Another possible cause of high memory usage on Windows 11 is memory leaks or corruption. Memory leaks occur when a program or process does not release the memory that it has allocated after it is done using it. Memory corruption occurs when a program or process writes data to a memory location that it does not own or that is already in use by another program or process. Both memory leaks and corruption can lead to high memory usage, as well as errors, crashes, and data loss.

To fix this issue, you need to run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool, which can check your RAM for errors and fix them.

Press Windows+R on your keyboard and type mdsched.exe in the Run box. Click OK or press Enter.

In the Windows Memory Diagnostic window, choose one of the two options: Restart now and check for problems (recommended) or Check for problems the next time I start my computer. If you choose the first option, save your work and close all your programs before restarting your PC.

Memory diagnostic tool windows 11

Your PC will restart and run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. The tool will perform a series of tests on your RAM and display the progress and results on the screen. The test may take several minutes to complete, depending on the size and speed of your RAM.

When the test is done, your PC will restart again and boot into Windows 11. You can view the results of the test by opening the Event Viewer.

  • Press Windows+X on your keyboard and select Event Viewer.
  • In the Event Viewer, expand Windows Logs, then click on System.
  • In the System log, look for events with the source MemoryDiagnostics-Results.
  • Double-click on an event to see the details.
  • If the test found any errors, you may need to replace your RAM or contact your PC manufacturer for support.

Adjust your virtual memory settings

Another possible cause of high memory usage on Windows 11 is incorrect virtual memory settings. Virtual memory is a feature that allows your PC to use part of your hard disk as an extension of your RAM. This can help improve your PC’s performance when you run out of physical memory. However, if your virtual memory settings are too low or too high, they can cause high memory usage, as well as slow down your PC.

To fix this issue, you need to adjust your virtual memory settings to match your PC’s needs and capabilities.

  • Press Windows+I on your keyboard and select System.
  • In the System settings window, click on Advanced system settings in the left pane.
  • In the Advanced system settings window, click on the Advanced tab, then click on Settings under Performance.
  • In the Performance Options window, click on the Advanced tab, then click on Change under Virtual Memory.

Change virtual memory option

  • In the Virtual Memory window, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
  • Select the drive where Windows 11 is installed (usually C:), then click on Custom size.

Set virtual memory windows 11

  • Enter a value for Initial size and Maximum size in MB. The recommended value for both is 1.5 times your total physical memory. For example, if you have 8 GB of RAM, enter 12288 MB for both Initial size and Maximum size.
  • Click on Set, then click on OK.
  • Restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

Update windows 11

Regularly updating Windows and device drivers ensures compatibility and includes performance improvements. Outdated software may have memory-related bugs, and updates can address these issues.

Many programs launch during startup, contributing to initial memory load. Disabling unnecessary startup programs through the Task Manager reduces the memory footprint, promoting faster system boot times.

Windows 11’s visual effects and animations, while visually appealing, can consume significant memory. Adjusting or disabling these effects in the system settings (Performance Options) enhances overall system performance by reducing unnecessary graphical load on the RAM.

  • Press Windows key + R, type sysdm.cpl and click ok
  • Click settings (Under performance), under visual effect select adjust for best performance.

Disable visual effects

If your system consistently struggles with high memory usage, consider upgrading RAM. This provides more memory for running applications and allows the system to handle multitasking efficiently, reducing the risk of slowdowns and crashes.

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