How to Use Task Manager to Check RAM Usage


A computer with high memory usage slows down to where it takes several seconds to complete commands. You can monitor memory usage on a Windows machine using an application called the Task Manager. The Task Manager shows the memory and processor usage in one screen, so you can evaluate if your system needs more memory. If memory usage is high, adding more random access memory (RAM) to the machine helps speed up processing.

  • Click the "Ctrl+Alt+Del" keys on your keyboard. In the new window that pops up, click the "Task Manager" button. The Task Manager opens.

  • Click the "Performance" tab. This shows you a reading for your RAM and processor usage. Two values on this window are important for evaluating RAM availability.

  • View the "Physical Memory" section. The first entry is labeled "Total." This is the total amount of memory installed on the machine. The "Available" label tells you how much memory is available for use. If this number approaches 0, the computer performance is poor. When physical memory is low, the machine requires virtual memory, which is a system where the computer saves information to the hard drive. Virtual memory is much slower than physical memory.

  • View the "Commit Charge" section and view the "Total" entry. This shows you how much memory is being used by the software on your machine. The "Peak" entry is the total amount of memory used when software is loaded or high-memory requiring software is run. If this number is above 70 percent of memory usage, you may experience very slow processing time on the computer. More RAM installed on the machine will remedy the issue.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Task Manager also displays the processor usage. If this is above 70 percent, the computer's performance is slowed.

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