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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    I previously posted a question regarding the possibility of installing Home Premium on my two Acer Aspire One netbooks. While pondering the good advice I received, I began taking a closer look at how much memory I was using out of the 1GB installed on each netbook. I was very surprised to find that one netbook was using considerably more than the other. Specifically, with only Internet Explorer and Thunderbird open, one netbook was using 60% of its memory and the other netbook was using 73%.

    Looking at the running processes, I noticed that the processes on the one netbook were using more memory than on the other netbook. In many cases the difference was considerable. For example, Windows Explorer was using about 8MB on the one netbook and 12MB on the other. Looking though the entire list, the processes on the one netbook were consistently using more memory. I wasn't able to verify that the additional memory used by the processes on the one netbook added to the exact difference in memory utilization, but it was definitely a large portion of it.

    The two netbooks were purchased within two weeks of each other at the same retailer. I removed all the junkware from each netbook and then installed identical application software including MS Security Essentials (recently updated to 2.0.) When looking at the list of programs, the only discernable difference is one netbook uses an ALPS touchpad driver and the other uses a Synaptics touchpad driver. They each have a similar amount of music and photo files. The netbook with the lower memory usage actually has a few more document files.

    Can anyone offer an explanation for why the difference in memory usage? I need to resolve this problem before making a decision on upgrading to Home Premium.

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    Windows Explorer tracks information about folders that you have opened - the more folders you open the more memory is used. It also caches the icons for the files in opened folders. And of course if you are using the one of the icon view in a pictures folder then that is a lot of icons to cache.

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    I also would surmise that though the two systems are very similar, they are not running with identical background processes and services and as Peter said, identical windows and pathways and display items in those windows. You have very small differences numerically, though they are statistically significant. If one were 8 MB and the other 70, like mine, then I would wonder what the heck, but not a difference of 4 MB.

  4. #4
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    I would think you'd check how they both behave immediately after boot, admitting that they are both loading the same apps on boot. As soon as you start using one in a different way, small differences should show, as processes use and release memory (or not).
    Rui
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    The memory usage between machines are a normal & random variation.
    If you think both your identicle laptops will or should have identicle memory usage signatures this is simply not true.
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  6. #6
    Star Lounger
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    Part of my investigation included booting both netbooks side by side. They both come up within seconds of each other. Both also have the same BIOS and virtual memory setting. I cited the increased memory used by Windows Explorer as only one example. Of approximately 65 processes running, all of them were using considerably more memory on the one netbook. I think the total increase could have added to 60-70MB.

    I'm wondering if some of the memory could have failed. Maybe I don't actually have a full 1GB of memory available, but the netbook thinks it does for reporting purposes. I know you can do an error check on a disk drive. Is there a way to do a similar test on RAM to verify that it's all available?

  7. #7
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    If you had bad memory, you would likely experience stability issues, random freezes or even BSODs. If you have none of that, your memory should be ok. There are a few tools to test memory, if you want to do that. Memtest is one of the most popular. I guess your netbooks don't have dvd drives, so you'd likely have to use some tool to write the ISO to a flash drive, or similar, and boot with it.

    I don't think 60 MB is a big difference. It seems your hardware my be slightly different too, so 60 MB is not really big, IMHO.
    Rui
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  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    Another big factor is which "memory" statistic you are looking at. Fully understanding how Windows uses memory and how various memory-related information (working, committed, paged, etc) is reported is a study that takes a while.

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