Monday, June 10, 2013

How to recover from memory leak without restarting

What to do when your computer drags or becomes very slow after being on for some time?

Sometimes after leaving your computer for a while, you encounter some slowness on your PC.

I have had this problem too for quite some time now and have done countless hours looking for answers until I encountered the term memory leak.

What it basically means is that when a program runs, certain amount of memory is allotted for it and normally after it closes, it returns it back to the system to be used again by other programs. But sometimes, this does not happen, specially for poorly written codes. What happens then is, the allotted memory sits there unused. That is memory leak.

So far, searching the internet did not give me the answers I needed. There are so, many forums out there that would immediately advice you to add more RAM when how much more could you add to a system that is already using 3 Gig of RAM on a 32-bit system?

But then I encountered the term handles, more specifically the handles column found on the Task Manager. The handles column provides you a measure of the number of handles or kernel level processes that a certain process has.

What you can do?

  • Enable Handles count - On Task Manager click View (on the menu bar) -> Select Columns -> Check Handles column radio button. 
  • Rank handles - Click on the Handles header to arrange from highest on top to lowest at the bottom.
  • Identify the problem process - To identify the problematic process, look for handles with very high handles with also a corresponding high Memory usage.
  • Close problem process - Once you have decided which one is the problem process, select on it and click end process.
The only difficult part of this is identifying which is the problematic process. If you encounter a process you are not familiar with, search the internet for its description. If you think that it is not so important you may opt to uninstall it.

Also, there are times that only an add-on or a feature of the program is making it misbehave. If that is so, look it up on the internet on how to disable it that way it will not give you anymore trouble.

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