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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    You've all seen the ads (including, I'm sorry to say, in Windows Secrets). Those ads which tell you that their RAM optimizer products are a good alternative to actually installing more RAM. You've all heard 'knowledgeable' friends or members of forums and blogs say how wonderful their RAM optimizers are and that they work well.

    Well, the ads are all hooey and the 'knowledgeable' friends, bloggers and forum members are deluded. Unless you are running Windows 98 or earlier you don't need any third party RAM optimizer because XP and later systems do a great job of managing RAM all by themselves and third-party RAM optimizers - ALL OF THEM - will actually make those systems slower and less responsive! Here's why:

    letmebreakitdown tweakram

    (courtesy of my good friend, Dr. Brian Timmons), which explains simply, clearly and decisively why so-called 'optimizers' are worse than useless. (If you want a more detailed explanation in white-paper form, just ask). Just remember, system cached memory is a good thing. When it fills, it's doing what the system is designed to do. Unused (free) RAM is equivalent to having a powerful many-multi-horsepower engine run a matchbox toy - nice to boast about but a pretty danged silly waste of energy.

    Please Windows Secrets, lead the way. I know you need income and income comes from sponsors but let it be ethical income. Don't accept ads from these companies developing and promoting RAM optimizers/tweakers/fixers unless the ad makes clear its only for Win 98 and below and will actually be counter-productive for all systems above Win 2000. As with registry "cleaners", let's snuff out the snake oil.

    Brian De B

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Hi Brian,

    No, I've not seen the ads - I like to be in control of my PC and the way it behaves .

    Strangely enough, "RAM optimising" can be a good thing, especially as so many programs do not free up RAM when you minimise them to begin working with a different program. Yes, Windows may release some of the used memory eventually but some users would prefer it to be made available when they need it, from the programs users know will not need it for a period of time, not when Windows decides it's necessary and by using some generic formula for deciding which programs will have part of their RAM allocation written out to the Swapfile.

    Agreed that many, if not all, "RAM optimisers" are over-sold but so is almost everything that's advertised anywhere. If the program is written so that it can be controlled correctly by a knowledgeable user then it's likely to be an asset. The problem is that most PC users will just use the default settings and that may well work against their actual usage pattern. Just like cached memory being a good thing - it really is, if it's tailored to the specific usage pattern of that user - for others ... well, maybe, maybe not.

    You'll be telling us next that we can't remove any entries from the Windows/Prefetch folder because it'll make Windows slower ^^.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Rowlands View Post
    Yes, Windows may release some of the used memory eventually but some users would prefer it to be made available when they need it, from the programs users know will not need it for a period of time, not when Windows decides it's necessary and by using some generic formula for deciding which programs will have part of their RAM allocation written out to the Swapfile.
    I don't recall seeing a "RAM optimizer" that was anything but a blunt instrument just requesting a huge amount of memory so Windows would be forced to free up large amount of RAM. If you are aware of something different where you can run a program and then direct it to force Windows to swap certain running applications let us know. But IMO, that all that management overhead of running another program and selecting programs would certainly take more time than just letting Windows do its job.

    Vista & Win7 do a much better job of memory management than earlier versions. Using RAM is a good thing. Windows tracks all the various blocks of RAM and "knows" which are candidates for reuse. The methods used are based on much study and data. When you run a program that requests a lot of RAM Windows will attempt to satisfy the request in a manner that uses RAM most effectively based on your usage patterns.

    Joe
    Joe

  4. #4
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Ok, I've just watched the movie and I stand by what I said earlier. Beats me how someone can make such a sweeping generalisation after "testing" just one such "RAM optimiser" in a VM.

    @JoeP, take a look at Minimem and CleanMem.

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    I keep a RAM Optimizer on my system for just the reason Joe mentioned. It doesn't run all the time. Just when needed.

    Few tools are useless if used properly for the problem they were designed for.
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    I like the notion that an organic organism thinks an analog response or input (e.g., finger pressing mouse key) and resulting overide is faster and more effective than a well-crafted automatic digital [binary] response to a digital [binary] management condition. Doesn't have much plausabiity of course because in today's computing world if someone is looking at RAM use all the time they are overthinking or obsessing or the compulsive micro-management type, but I still like the notion.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    @ Byron Tarbox, what or who doesn't have much plausability? Quotes and specifics are better than allusions and generalisations.

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    I like the notion that an organic organism thinks an analog response or input (e.g., finger pressing mouse key) and resulting overide is faster and more effective than a well-crafted automatic digital [binary] response to a digital [binary] management condition. Doesn't have much plausabiity of course because in today's computing world if someone is looking at RAM use all the time they are overthinking or obsessing or the compulsive micro-management type, but I still like the notion.
    Do you have such a "well-crafted, automatic, digital [binary] response" to offer ??

    If not, I can't say I like the "notion" that an "organic organism", capable of intelligent and independent thought, would offer such a comment if they did not possess such a "digital" response but, somehow, feel it appropriate to respond with some useless prose designed to inflame others.
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  9. #9
    Brian Livingston
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    This thread was moved from General Windows to the Feedback to Admins forum, becoming temporarily available in the process. I believe there are interesting issues around RAM optimizers that I'd like to mention here.

    The Windows Secrets Newsletter rejects advertisers several times a year for attempting to promote products that are of little value. I wrote a column for the old InfoWorld magazine long ago, showing that at least one "RAM optimizer," in my words, did the least good I'd ever seen for a product of its cost. I can't recall the name of the product now, but the company had a booth at the old Comdex computer show to demonstrate the performance increase its product could bring about in a PC. I showed that the improvement occurred only if a specific set of applications was loaded and a specific memory boundary was crossed. In this precise circumstance, Windows lagged when RAM use bounced above and below this boundary. In other situations, the "RAM optimizer" had no benefit.

    This was around the year 1995, and I can't find the InfoWorld column that carried this reporting, sorry.

    I'm not aware that the newsletter is currently running ads for any RAM optimizers. Various backup programs and Registry cleaners can have some beneficial effects, so those are fine if the company is not a spammer or something like that.

    The Feedback to Admins forum is primarily a repository where we collect a list of bug reports for action in the weeks to come. You might not receive a specific reply here immediately. If you know of any problem cases in the newsletter, use the "Contact an administrator" link at the bottom of the Lounge Lobby page. This link is monitored and personally responded to every weekday. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Watson View Post
    Do you have such a "well-crafted, automatic, digital [binary] response" to offer ??
    I think you read my post backwards. We the humans are the analogs, hand movement, pressing mouse key, starting or implementing RAM management program to countermand what the digital binary response (the normal management response of the computer) is or was going to be, and the point was it took forever in digital binary computer time for the analog hand to move the finger down onto the button. So even if the computer wasn't "optimized" to handle some new input as it was fed in...well, it's catch-up game is rather good, with a reaction time that is usually just a tad better than the analog gang and Brian describes the other aspects that enter such a RAM management consideration that probably 99.99% of all humans never consider, myself included.

    And, when I said I like the notion, I can see where one wouldn't take that correctly either if there was confusion over what was analog and what was digital. So, "liking the notion" meant I like the human input aspect because it will always be different or at least much more variable than a computer which, though it may be blinding fast at processing ones and zeros, its also blinding monotonous and singular (or should I say binary?) on its own.

    So now I'm curious if the criticism was honest or if maybe there's been a long history of flame wars before I registered here that would construe responses as negative by default and assume an inflammatory intent or is it something else? I know my prose is a little flowery at times but I usually don't leave much room for that which is objectively construed, but of course, as is everyone, I am always vulnerable to subjective misunderstanding.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    I'll try to make a little precis because there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding going on here; 2 of us have said that there are times when WE know which programs we want RAM released from and WHEN we want it to be released.

    We then use our program of choice (AKA "RAM Optimiser") to select that program and release a proportion of the RAM it is using. Then we can start a new program without fear of Windows flushing the RAM from other programs we may need to Alt-Tab to during our next working session.

    If you watch the movie linked in the first post, you'll see that the reviewer is testing a "RAM Optimiser" that works completely differently to this (or at least the settings selected by the reviewer are - I'm not familiar with the software). When he triggers the program, he asks it to free 100% of RAM!? A few points about this; first, why was there a setting above even 70% and why did the reviewer only use the 100% setting? Second, the reviewer did not check the settings (if there were any) as to which Apps should or should not have RAM recovered from them. Lastly (for the sake of brevity), who in his right mind releases an App that claims or gives an option suggesting it can release 100% of RAM?

    Windows Memory Management may well be fine and dandy for the majority of users who conform to the average usage that Microsoft designed it for. There are other users whose usage extends outside of that envelope: for them, careful use of 'tweaks' like this may help to improve their productivity or gaming experience.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I dual boot, so I use two "RAM optimizers"; "Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3" and "Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit".
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Me Too View Post
    You've all seen the ads (including, I'm sorry to say, in Windows Secrets).
    Brian, I suspect that the image posted below is an example of what you see, this came in this (Thursday) morning's email. I see in the same issue Brian says " ... Beginning this week, all articles appearing in Windows Secrets have their own threads in the WS Lounge, where you can submit any additional information you have. ...", and further that some vetting is done, but we should not place the burden of inspection on Brian.
    A better solution might be to start a thread for each product advertised (in the "Other Applications" forum), and let users build up our own Consumer's report database. The thread subject line could (should?) be the heading from the newsletter article, e.g. "Never reinstall your XP again".
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  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    I think you read my post backwards. We the humans are the analogs, hand movement, pressing mouse key, starting or implementing RAM management program to countermand what the digital binary response (the normal management response of the computer) is or was going to be, and the point was it took forever in digital binary computer time for the analog hand to move the finger down onto the button. So even if the computer wasn't "optimized" to handle some new input as it was fed in...well, it's catch-up game is rather good, with a reaction time that is usually just a tad better than the analog gang and Brian describes the other aspects that enter such a RAM management consideration that probably 99.99% of all humans never consider, myself included.

    And, when I said I like the notion, I can see where one wouldn't take that correctly either if there was confusion over what was analog and what was digital. So, "liking the notion" meant I like the human input aspect because it will always be different or at least much more variable than a computer which, though it may be blinding fast at processing ones and zeros, its also blinding monotonous and singular (or should I say binary?) on its own.

    So now I'm curious if the criticism was honest or if maybe there's been a long history of flame wars before I registered here that would construe responses as negative by default and assume an inflammatory intent or is it something else? I know my prose is a little flowery at times but I usually don't leave much room for that which is objectively construed, but of course, as is everyone, I am always vulnerable to subjective misunderstanding.
    Your response seemed designed to make fun of the OP's issue and offered little in the way of valuable information on the topic. If you had simply stated that you did not like them and why, rather than burying that statement in som flowery prose that could be interpreted several ways. My attempt at sarcasm to make my point was also misconstrued and thus the post was moved to avoid any possible flame war. We almost NEVER have flame wars here in the Lounge and when they do occur, in the past as now, they have been dealt with immediately. We do not allow them... period. The Lounge has always been a friendly place where one could come, "sit down, relax, put their feet up" and have some friendly back and forth conversation with like minded folks or share some new found piece of knowledge or help another computer user who has hit the wrong key, allowed a virus on their system or just need someone to hold their hand while they try something new.

    All in all, a pretty remarkable place in this impersonal world we live in today. And we would like to try and keep it that way.

    Sorry for any misunderstanding.
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  15. #15
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Watson View Post
    ... The Lounge has always been a friendly place where one could come, "sit down, relax, put their feet up" and have some friendly back and forth conversation with like minded folks or share some new found piece of knowledge or help another computer user who has hit the wrong key, allowed a virus on their system or just need someone to hold their hand while they try something new.

    All in all, a pretty remarkable place in this impersonal world we live in today. And we would like to try and keep it that way.
    Amen to that! We can agree to disagree, but let's do it civilly and without fanboy rants.
    Regards,
    PaulB

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