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In a fast-moving world, system speed and efficiency is absolutely essential. We may take the ability to multitask effortlessly on our devices for granted, but this isn’t always a given. An overloaded RAM can result in sluggish system performance which leaves users frustrated and unable to switch seamlessly between applications. Whilst the temptation may be to attempt completely eliminating your RAM usage all together, this shouldn’t be your aim. Remember, RAM is there to be used. Instead, you should be seeking out and getting rid of unnecessary drains on your RAM, so that your system can work at peak efficiency. This article takes you through 11 effective ways to decrease your RAM usage, so you can get the most out of your device.

What is RAM?

Before we take a look at how to decrease your RAM usage, it’s helpful to know exactly what RAM is. RAM stands for ‘Random Access Memory’ and is your computer’s short term memory. The reason it’s called random access is because you can access the stored data in any order rather than sequentially. RAM is a temporary storage space where your computer stores data and information that you’re actively using for easy and quick access.

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What is RAM used for?

RAM is the key to allowing you to multitask seamlessly across different functions and applications simultaneously. For this reason, RAM is involved in most of your computer’s functionality. This includes loading apps, browsing the internet and more.

RAM is the opposite of your hard drive or SDD, which are your computer’s long-term memory. When you turn your computer off, anything stored in the RAM is wiped.

How does RAM affect my computer performance?

As a general rule, the more RAM you have, the smoother and faster your computer will run. In fact, RAM is one of the biggest factors that can negatively impact your computer’s performance. If you find that your device is running slower than you’d like, then there are a few things that you can do to try and decrease your RAM usage.

11 ways to reduce your RAM usage

Everything from open apps, junk files, and unnecessary background processes can drain your RAM and cause your computer to run slowly. Here’s 11 things that you can do to free up RAM:

Turn your device off and on

The oldest trick in the book, and often the most simple and effective. Restarting your device will automatically clear your RAM, speeding up performance. Bear in mind, however, that this won’t increase your RAM’s overall capacity.

However, it’s good practice to regularly restart your computer to keep things running smoothly and make sure that your RAM isn’t getting clogged up with unnecessary data.

Check which programs are draining your RAM

Working out which programs are hogging your RAM doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Simply open up your Windows Task Manager or Mac Activity Monitor and you’ll be able to see which applications are the major culprits. You may find that an app you don’t actually use is running in the background but still using up your RAM.

Cut down background apps

If you discover that some applications are running silently in the background but are still using your RAM, you may want to consider uninstalling them. If you do occasionally need that application, make sure ensure that it’s not set to open at startup, so that it doesn’t continue to run in the background whenever you use your computer.

Use less resource-instensive apps

Although not always possible, using lighter apps that don’t require as much RAM is a great way to decrease your RAM usage. This might mean opting for a lightweight application that offers the same functionality without being so resource intensive. For example, Photoshop is notorious for being highly resource-intensive. If you’re able to opt for a lighter program, this might benefit your computer’s overall performance.

Close apps when you’re not using them

Another quick and easy fix is to close and quit applications when you’re not using them. Being more stringent about which applications are running is good practice to free up your RAM. For example, we’re all guilty of leaving a browser tab open for later reference. Instead, why not bookmark the page and close the tab.

Change browsers

Google Chrome is known to use significant RAM, so if you’re looking to reduce your RAM usage, switching to a different browser can be a quick and easy fix. Another tip is to remove any browser extensions that you don’t use. These are a drain on your RAM which are easy to get rid of.

Clear your cache

Your cache holds on to information, using RAM, allowing you to reload internet pages that you’ve visited previously. Although this means that you don’t have to download the page information again, thus saving you time when you’re browsing, it also uses up RAM. Clearing your cache can free up vital space and speed up your device.

Keep your software updated

For obvious reasons, ensuring your software is up to date is good practice generally. However, in terms of RAM, it’s essential because out-of-date apps can suffer from memory leak which monopolizes your RAM.

Check for malware

If you’ve made adjustments and are still finding that your RAM is at full capacity, then consider checking your device for malware. Fileless malware exists in your RAM and can consumer a large portion of your device’s memory capacity. If you detect malware in your system, you can take the necessary steps to eliminate it from your device.

Adjust virtual memory

If you’re encountering notifications telling you that your computer is running low on virtual memory, you can easily address this and relieve pressure on your RAM. On a Windows device, find virtual memory under your advanced settings and manually set your initial and maximum size. If you’re on a Mac, navigate to the Memory panel in your Control Panel to make the same adjustments.

Install more RAM

If you’re looking to actually increase the overall capacity of your RAM, you can actually purchase replacement RAM and physically install it into your system. As long as you do your research, it’s not too difficult.

Efficient RAM Management with Atera’s RMM

The RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) solution of Atera offers the unique capability to not only monitor RAM usage but also remotely address memory issues. With Atera, you can proactively monitor RAM consumption and, when needed, remotely optimize memory usage for clients. This feature ensures that your clients’ systems run efficiently and experience minimal downtime, all from a centralized location.

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