System RAM only 50% available

  The Belarussian Mafia 14:10 29 Nov 2008

There seems to be a blockage in my Win XP system at the moment, slowing everything down. I've run the AVG AV & anti-spyware programmes + Adaware, removed about 10 GB of unused programmes, defragged, etc., all to no avail.

In System Information I've found that while Total Physical Memory is 1536MB, but only 834MB is listed under "Total available" (-it's been like this for years).

I ran a Memory Mechanic utility to restore & defrag available memory, but still only get 1043MB. Half a gig remaining unuseable seems an awful lot - I presume that much is not essential for Windows alone, or am I perhaps wrong in this?

Another possible anomaly: in Windows task manager I have System Idle Process listed as between 97 & 99% of CPU useage, constantly. Is that actually normal?

As I say, I suspect the RAM issue is to blame. Is there perhaps a setting I need to adjust somewhere?


  Fingees 14:25 29 Nov 2008

We need information as to make, model, motherboard etc.,

Have you got onboard graphics?

This would mean your memory is shared.

When you boot up.
How much memory is listed on the pre boot scan?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:33 29 Nov 2008

System Idle Process listed as between 97 & 99% of CPU usage, constantly. Is that actually normal?

Yes the system is IDLE when you have no programs running.

Windows uses a lot of memory and if you add more then windows will use more.

What amount of virtual memory are you using?
Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Rght click MY Computer - select propeties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a differnt drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok.
If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

  The Belarussian Mafia 14:53 29 Nov 2008

The message on bootup only lasts a second. Perhaps I could try to get into the BIOS (although it'll take a few guesses as to which 'F' key it is.

PC is a Mesh custom build:

Stsem Properties:

AMD Athlon 64 4000+ (2.41GHz) 1.5GB of RAM
Win XP Service Pack 3

Device Manager

Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTS

MB is a NForce4 SLI Socket 939 Athlon 64


Under Device Manager "Computer" is listed as ACPI Multiprocessor PC!!!!!!!

It's a single processor board & CPU, though!

Bizarre. I'm wondering whether the wrong CPU or motherboard driver has been installed following a repair a few months ago. (But I thought CPUs didn't have drivers?)

What on earth is going on?

  The Belarussian Mafia 14:57 29 Nov 2008

Fruit Bat: Thanks for that.

Virtual memory is set to 768MB. Does that sound right for 1.5 GB of installed RAM?

PS the HDD is 200GB, 66% free.

  The Belarussian Mafia 15:54 29 Nov 2008

Fruit Bat: are you saying the paging file should be set to 3GB instead of 768MB, (in view of the fact I have 1.5GB RAM)?

PS Still hoping someone knows why the PC thinks it is multiprocessor (under Device Manager), when it's not!

  DieSse 20:01 29 Nov 2008

Set the Page File to handled by Windows - this is the best general purpose setting for the vast majority of users.

Windows ALWAYS attempts to use as much of the RAM as possible all the time. That makes it run as efficiently as it can. If it isn't running applications, it loads RAM up with system processes. This is perfectly normal.

If your system really is running slow, it'll be down to what processes are running - and yes, the system idle process will be taking up most of the time when you're not running applications. That's what it means - the system is basically idle (ie not doing anything else). The processor runs all the time - so if it's not running other processes, it HAS to be running the Idle Process.

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