How much RAM is your PC using? MemInfo can answer

If your PC’s performance is currently suffering because of a few memory hogs, then a few minutes spent with Process Explorer,Process Hacker, or even just Task Manager will probably be enough to tell you what’s going on.

Those tools can be a little intimidating, though, so if you’d like something simpler – or would just like to monitor your system’s RAM usage all the time -- then you may prefer Cathargo Software’s free and extremely lightweight MemInfo.

At its simplest, the program will just display the amount of RAM currently being used in a system tray icon. (Right-click this and select Settings > More Settings if you’d prefer to see the percentage.) This sounds very basic, but it’s enough to be useful: you’ll soon learn what RAM usage levels are typical, and will quickly spot when there’s a problem.

Hovering the mouse cursor over the icon will display more information, including the precise amounts of free and available RAM, details on your page file usage, and more.

Right-clicking the MemInfo icon shows you details on your top ten processes by RAM use. Selecting any of these will tell you more, and you can terminate the process, or ask it to free up some RAM, with a click.

Double-clicking the MemInfo icon launches Task Manager, perfect if you need further details on any particular process.

And a Memory Defragmenter tool may help to condense your free RAM into a smaller number of larger blocks. (Most people won’t see the speed increase the authors suggest, or indeed any difference at all, but this may help in a few situations.)

Under normal circumstances you won’t need any of this, as Windows generally manages your memory just fine. And when you do need to drill down into the raw details of precisely what’s happening on your PC then something like Process Hacker will deliver far more data and options.

If simplicity is what you’re after, though, MemInfo provides a quick and easy way to monitor your current RAM usage. It’s highly compatible, running on everything from Windows NT through to 8. And there’s no need to worry about the program’s own memory consumption: we found it needed less than 1MB RAM on our test PC, and sometimes much less, so should run happily in the background just about anywhere.

Photo Credit: Joe Wilcox

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