8 Untapped Ways to Fix Windows 10 High RAM Usage when Idle

A common problem with new and old Windows computers is the frequent occurrence of high RAM usage at idle. Open the Task Manager at any time, and you may find a few processes taking up a lot of memory resources leading to system lags and performance issues.

The high RAM usage problem is usually common on Windows 10 systems with low physical memory, but that is not the only reason.

In some instances, this problem can also occur if you have multiple startup apps enabled. Also check for issues related to virtual memory, malware infection and Windows OS file corruption.

If you are also bugged by the memory related issues, this is the article you need. In this article, we have listed a few quick troubleshooting steps to resolve the Windows 10 high RAM usage at idle problem with ease.

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A common problem with new and old Windows computers is the frequent occurrence of high RAM usage at idle. Open the Task Manager at any time, and you may find a few processes taking up a lot of memory resources leading to system lags and performance issues.

The high RAM usage problem is usually common on Windows 10 systems with low physical memory, but that is not the only reason.

In some instances, this problem can also occur if you have multiple startup apps enabled. Also check for issues related to virtual memory, malware infection and Windows OS file corruption.

If you are also bugged by the memory related issues, this is the article you need. In this article, we have listed a few quick troubleshooting steps to resolve the Windows 10 high RAM usage at idle problem with ease.

What causes High RAM Usage?

Well, it could be one of these –

What causes High RAM Usage
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  • Concurrent running of too many programs
  • Registry hack
  • Defective program design
  • Windows Startup programs
  • Insufficient disk space
  • Virus or Antivirus effect which I call the “AV effect”
  • Or could be some other unknown reason

The infographic sums it all.

How do I fix Windows 10 High RAM usage when idle?

how to fix high ram usage
Copyright © Techie Trickle

1. Close third-party programs from Task Manager 

A major cause of Windows 10 high memory usage but no process is due to third-party apps running the background unnecessarily hogging system resources. Try to end these tasks manually from the Task Manager and see if that helps resolve the issue. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  2. In Task Manager, make sure you are in the Processes tab.
  3. Click the Memory tab to see all the processes that are using the highest memory resources.
  4. Right-click on processes that are using the most memory and select End Task.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  5. Once all the processes are ended, check the memory usage in Task Manager.

2. Perform a clean boot 

Restarting your PC in Clean Boot mode starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startups processes, helping you determine whether a background program is causing the issue. 

  1. Press the Windows + R key on your keyboard.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  2. Type msconfig.msc and click OK to open System Configuration.
  3. In the System Configuration window, open the Services tab.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  4. Check the Hide all Microsoft services box. Checking this box will hide all the essential Microsoft services.
  5. Once the Microsoft services are hidden, click the Disable All button to disable other services.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  6. Click Apply to save the changes.
    high memory usage at idle
  7. Open the Startup tab and click Open Task Manager.
  8. In Task Manager, open the Startup tab.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  9. Scroll through the startup apps, and click the Disable button to disable all the apps one by one. Once all the apps are disabled, go back to the System Configuration window.
  10. Click OK and restart your computer when prompted.

Your PC will restart in Clean Boot mode. Open the Task Manager again and check if the computer is still using too much RAM at idle. Make sure to disable Clean Boot mode by opening System Configuration and unchecking the Hide all Microsoft services box. Restart your PC to boot in normal mode.

3. Set the PC to best performance mode 

Windows 10 under Advanced system settings offers performance options. By default, the option is set to ‘Let Windows choose what’s best for my computer’.

However, you can manually change the option according to your preference.

While there are multiple options, to fix the Windows 10 high RAM usage at idle issue set it to Adjust for best performance.

When enabled, Windows will try to offer the best performance while reducing all appearance settings you have set. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open File Explorer and right-click on This PC from the left pane.
    high memory usage at idle
  2. Select the Properties option from the context menu.
    high memory usage at idle
  3. Click on Advanced System Settings from the left pane.
  4. Open the Advanced tab, and under the Performance section, click the Settings button.
    high memory usage at idle
  5. In the Performance Options window, select Adjust for best performance.
  6. Click the Apply and OK button save the changes.
  7. Restart your PC and check for any improvements.

4. Disable Superfetch service 

Superfetch service is enabled by default and runs in the background.

It helps computers improve the performance by allowing the memory to load a fraction of the data required to run the programs. 

While it is an essential service for the traditional hard disks, try to disable the service if you have an SSD installed.

  1. Press the Windows + R key on your keyboard.
  2. Type services.msc and click OK to open Services.
    high memory usage at idle
  3. In the Services window, scroll down and locate the Superfetch service.
  4. Right-click on Superfetch and select Properties.
  5. Click the Stop button in the Properties window.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  6. Close Services and check for any improvements. If the Superfetch service is not available, skip to the next steps.

5. Increase virtual memory 

A system with low RAM can utilize the Virtual Memory feature in Windows 10 to fix the idle high RAM usage issue.

It allows the system to use hard disk space to store information that is normally stored in RAM. Here’s how you can increase the virtual memory to reduce RAM usage.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialogue box.
  2. Type control and click OK to open the Control Panel.
  3. Click on System and Security and then select System.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  4. From the left pane, click on Advanced system settings.
  5. In the new window, click the Settings button under the Performance section.
  6. Open the Advanced tab in the Performance Options window.
  7. Click on the Change button under the Virtual memory section.
    high memory usage at idle
  8. Uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size option.
  9. Select a non-system partition that is a partition other than the Windows installation partition.
    high memory usage at idle
  10. Select Custom Size and then enter the Initial Size and Maximum Size in MBs. See more about Initial and Maximum size below.
  11. Click the Set button and then click OK to save the changes.
  12. Click OK to close the Performance Options dialogue box.
  13. Reboot your computer and check if the error is resolved.

In the Initial Size box, enter a value equal to one and half times the amount of computer’s installed memory.

In the Maximum size box, enter a value equal to 2 times the amount of computer’s installed memory. This will reduce the consumption of system resources and improve performance.

6. Check for memory leak 

Unoptimized software applications can cause memory-related issues.

If you’re experiencing high RAM usage after upgrading to Windows 10 1903 with the software running for an extended period in the background may take a large chunk of RAM resulting in performance issues due to memory leak.

While rebooting your system can fix the problem, it is a temporary solution. Open the Task Manager and scroll through the active processes to find any software or background process that is using an unusually high amount of RAM.

End the process and then disable automatic restart from the Startup tab in Task Manager.

If the software is not listed in the startup tab, check the software settings. The startup option for some apps can be disabled from the app’s settings.

7. Scan for virus and malware infection 

Malware or adware infection in Windows 10 can trigger high memory usage at idle. Perform a complete system scan using your antivirus to identify issues occurring due to a malware.

If you don’t have a third-party antivirus installed, use Windows Defender. It is a Microsoft security solution that comes installed by default.

  1. Press the Windows + I key on your keyboard to open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click the Windows Security tab from the left pane.
    high memory usage at idle
  4. Next, click on the Virus & threat protection option.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  5. Click on Scan options and select Full Scan.
    Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle
  6. Click the Scan Now button at the end and wait for the process to complete.

Windows Defender will scan the system for malware and adware issues and recommend appropriate actions after finishing the scan.

That said, at times you may notice your antivirus software is causing the high RAM usage. The surge in RAM usage by antivirus software is common during the scanning process. 

However, if the usage remains high all the time, try disabling your antivirus temporarily. Consider switching to a lightweight antivirus like Malwarebytes to reduce RAM usage in Windows 10.

8. Increase physical memory 

If you work with multiple Chrome tabs, word processors, photo and video manipulation tools, 4GB of RAM is not enough.

Most of the Windows 10 laptops come with an empty RAM slot allowing the users to upgrade their system’s memory up to 16 GB or higher.

That said, before you start looking for a memory, make sure to check your laptop’s user guide to see what type of memory is supported by your system to avoid compatibility issues.

Conclusion 

The high RAM usage at idle is a common issue with Windows 10 computers.

While Windows 10 can automatically optimize memory usage depending on the resources availability, third-party apps also can cause memory issues and may require user intervention. 

Follow the steps above and let us know which method helped you resolve the problem in the comments below.

Feel free to share other tips that helped you fix the high RAM usage problem in the comments below.

Windows 10 High RAM Usage at Idle FAQ:

Why is my RAM usage so high in Windows 10?

High RAM usage in Windows 10 can be caused by background processes, virus infection, antimalware solutions and third-party programs running in the background.

How do I reduce idle RAM usage?

To reduce idle RAM usage, disable third-party startups apps in the Task Manager, scan for malware infection, exit antivirus apps or add more physical memory.

What percentage of RAM usage is normal?

Windows 10 automatically optimizes the memory usage depending on the resources availability. However, around 20-30% RAM usage is normal even when the system is in an idle state.

What can cause high RAM usage?

The most common reason for high RAM usage includes memory leak caused by a bad driver, antimalware solutions working in the background, multiple startups apps and insufficient physical memory.

How much RAM does Windows 10 need to run smoothly?

8GB of RAM is considered adequate to run Windows 10 smoothly for day to day operations. However, if you work with photo and video manipulations tools, open tens of browser tabs, and stream video contents simultaneously, consider upgrading your PC to 16GB of physical memory.

Can too much RAM cause problems?

No. Having 16GB or 32GB of physical memory does not affect your system negatively. Check your computer’s user guide to learn more about the upgradability.

How to free up RAM on Windows 10?

Close unwanted programs and kill the processes in the Task Manager to free up RAM on Windows 10.

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