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Why is my computer slowing down when I have plenty of memory?

Posted By : Josephine of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on March 18, 2001

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I have a pentium 3 500 Mhz with 256 MB ram and 34 GB hardisk. The thing is when i start my computer I get a message that says that the latency time is 2 and then my computer runs and as the time goes by my computer becomes really slow almost like a 486. And then i get messages like s i m running on low memeory. I have a 256 MB ram that shouldn't be probelem. Can you tell me what is cauing this and how i could avoid it? Thanks.

This question was answered on March 18, 2001. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


Some possible causes and resolutions from knowledge base, articles Q259161, and Q185832.

Programs may be started automatically when you start your computer Programs that run when you start your computer typically run all the time; this uses a portion of your computer's system resources that cannot be used for any other task.

You may be running a program that creates memory leaks When you quit a program, the system resources that the program uses should be returned to the operating system; however, some programs do not return all of these resources, effectively "leaking" memory - this can create a low system--resource state.

To resolve:

1 Verify that any programs that start automatically when you start your computer are truly needed and, if not, quit them To determine which programs are running, press CTRL ALT DELETE, and note all of the programs that are listed Don't quit Explorer or Systray; these need to be running; also, you should leave your antivirus program running Determine which programs must run all of the time, then quit the remaining programs To quit a program, press CTRL ALT DELETE, click the program you want to quit, and then click End Task.

2 Determine if you are running programs that create memory leaks Your computer may be leaking memory if it becomes slow after you run and quit one or more programs If your computer runs well before you run a program, but then slows noticeably after you quit the program, the program may have a memory leak To verify this:

1 Restart your computer and do not manually start any programs.

2 Right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click the Performance tab Note the percentage number that is next to System Resources This is the amount of free system resources before you run any programs.

3 Start one of your programs, use it as you normally would for 15 or more minutes, then quit the program.

4 Right-click My Computer, click Properties, then click the Performance tab Note the percentage number next to System Resources, and compare it to the number you saw in step 2 If the System Resources are substantially less, the program may be creating a memory leak To resolve, contact the manufacturer of the program to ask about a fix for the issue To work around the problem in the meantime, restart your computer every time you quit this program.

Another possible cause is starting a program and quitting it before it has completely started This also causes memory leaks Don't quit a program before it has completely started To verify that all of your system resources have been freed, restart your computer.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

About the author

Posted by Josephine of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on March 18, 2001

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