I'm trying to get a VAIO with 1.83 GHz Intel Atom N470 and 1 GB RAM to run more smoothly. It's using Windows 7 Starter. It's using most of it's RAM just being idle. Right now, it's running taskmanager and msconfig.exe and according to taskmanager, it's using 70% of its RAM. I've brought it down from 80+%, by preventing a bunch of programs from opening up at startup, and disabling some services, but I don't know how to get further because I am at the end of my experience with Windows.

I've gone to the Resource monitor, and I'm looking at memory usage. Seems like memory usage in the taskmanager isn't quite the real deal. Here, in the Resource monitor, it says that, for example, mcshield.exe has a whole 130,000 kb 'commited', while task manager says it's using ~3900K (about the difference between 'Working set' and 'shareable set' in the resource monitor incidentally). I just disabled most of McAfee to see how my resource use would change (not much, considering it was the top user of RAM before, according to taskmgr)
So is Win7 hogging memory for certain processes ? Mcshield is a part of McAfee security center, which was preinstalled, btw. mcshield showed up as 77000K on taskmgr before, now it's 3900K and 130,000 kb commited memory on resource monitor. I'm not sure exactly what the physical memory stuff means. Is commited memory unavailable to other processes? I'd appreciate a little explanation of this committed/working/shareable memory idea.

Does anyone have experience with uninstalling pre-installed VAIO/Windows stuff? a lot of people (including me) aren't happy with uninstalling things they don't understand but don't seem to do anything harmful.it's not my computer either, so I need to be sure.

Any other important tips about clearing up memory? This little thing is outfitted with the bare minimum of memory for Win7 as it is, and RAM hungry stuff like VAIO-ware and McAfee aren't helping at all..

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Last Post by stormal1

Freeing memory is based on two points:
* Do not start what you do not need
* If it is an option, try to limit the memory usage of the running applications and services by configuring them, if they have this option.

Windows uses virtual memory addressing. Based on that, every process automatically reserves up to 4 GB of memory (in 32 bit processor or compatibility mode) 2 of them for code and the other 2 for data.

Of course, you do not have all the phisical memory for that, so the OS uses a method of paging memory in blocks of 4 KB, and reservers as many pages are currently used, reserving more or less dinamically while the process is running.

For each process, including the kernel, there are some pages that must be allocated in phisical memory, while others can be on virtual.

Virtual memory is easely extended by using one(or more)file called swap file, that will hold a copy of the really reserved pages, while in memory exist only those really needed at the current point of the process. When a page is not needed anynmore in the phisical memory is copied back to the disk, and when a page, that does not exist in the phisical memory, is needed, it is read from the disk.

Thus the current memory usage and the commited memory can have distinct values.

But using disk as memory is near 1 million times slower than phisical memory.

In order your computer runs smoothly, the only way is to 'limit' the traffic between the phisical memory and the swap file(s).

Finally, maybe you can remove all the demos preinstalled (that you do not plan to acquire).

Also, you can use the MSConfig.exe utility on your computer to verify what programs and services are started, and disable those really not needed at startup (be aware to note them before disabling, and disable only one, then restar the computer an fully verify if everythig is OK).

Hope this long runt helps.


My 20cents worth.
Further to the above really excellent explanation of managing windows memory one option was omitted. That is; buy more memory. Memory today is really very inexpensive in comparison with upgrading the entire unit.

My experience has provender that YOU NEED to give Windows as much memory as 1: it will be able to use or 2: you can afford.

32 bit windows can, by nature of its 32 bit design, only address 3 . Something gigs where 64 bit can address way more than you need. (Exact figures can be found but do not reside in my head and are irrelevant for this reply.)

I have a similar computer to the one in question and put 4gigs in and it now operates as one would hope it would.

Good luck with your project.


Thanks for taking the time to type this out. It does help. I had disabled most services and all the programs that start running when I start up that I deemed not necessary. It did help, the memory usage went down. I don't know how I'd control the use of 'swap' files in practice though, but what you said does make it all seem more understandable. Is there any way to tell Windows to give priority access to RAM to certain processes, instead of making it use virtual memory/'swap' files? Would that make a process go faster/freeze less? Are 'dump files' related to swap files?

I'm not sure if there's the space for that; it's a very small laptop and quite heavy for it's size and considering it has no disk drive more so. It's also not mine and adding hardware is something the owner doesn't want. My first thought was to put a less 'hungry' OS on there, but that didn't fly either. I do agree though. I am going to buy a new computer soon and a lot of quality RAM is more important than other things. Thanks for your input


To increase memory on this type of hardware is done by replacing existing or 'upgrading' there is no space for additional memory modules. lolafuertes implied this by pointing out that swa pping out moves memory to the hard drive which is way slower than (more) memory. Check the price of a 4 gig memory module and consult your client. This is the best solution for their problem. Further this is the most reliable as no setup changes are required which may have to be maintained by someone. This solution is not new hardware it is more memory.
Cheers. :-)


Thanks for clearing that up. It's not a client, though, it's a family member's laptop i spotted in a workshop and offered to take a look because it had slowed down. I'm not a professional by any means in any branch of IT. I thought that would be clear from my cluelessness ;) Kingston ValueRAM does sell 4 GB for less than 20 € though. cheaper than i expected


Housekeeping first...

Trackers, etc, can insidiously hog the resources of even the beefiest of computers. Download and install Superantispyware. When installed go to preferences and untick the option to start when Windows starts. You can then run it as and when needed.

Next you need to do a disk clean-up.

Click Start > Computer > Right-click the "Local Disk (C:)" > Properties > In the bottom right of the window that opens you will see the button "Disk Cleanup" > You will see it scanning, and then a list of tick boxes of stuff you can clean out.

How much space is left on your Hard Drive?

As for Antivirus packages, in the great majority of comparisons Mcaffee always appeared in the bottom quarter of the numerous Av's tested. I've always used Avast, but I'm going to give BitDefender a go after reading this report.


Thanks, I had neglected spyware. I tried your program out on my own computer, it threw out a bunch of cookies, an Eclipse plug-in, and a zip file from sourceforge... The other laptop's hard drive is mostly empty, however. It was just used for a tiny bit of surfing and skype telephony in the workshop. I threw out McAfee the other day and put AVG on. McAfee is just bundled with VAIO, is all. BitDefender did get the best marks on your report. I'll give the free version a try
Disk clean-up is next on the program. Thanks again for your input


Threw out McAfee and put on AVG.
Aw, heck. For a light and hardworking load use Avira, or Avast. Both free. Either outperform the two you mention. And it's not only the opinion expressed in the report BigPaw recommended in his link above.
A lot of that committed memory you mention is going to be on your paging file. Mem mgmnt ensures only that needed absolutely, immediately or often is actually in RAM.

Edited by gerbil


I put bitdefender (free) on my own laptop earlier, based on the paper. i didn't like it at all, however, and now I'm using avast (instead of AVG). it's performing well enough so far. . AVG did alright on my machine, though, never had issues. I am liking avast so far and probably won't switch back. I don't really know how much memory avast is using, though

Edited by AndresOend


If you truly desire a freeware AntiVirus install Microsoft Security Essentials - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5201

and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free - http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free/

Piriform CCleaner is another free & useful utility - http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

But I recommend paying for a license for ESET NOD32 Antivirus 5 - http://www.eset.com/us/download/home/detail/family/2/

I personally recommend & use NOD32, Malwarebytes & CCleaner.

Edited by stormal1: typo

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