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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been dealing with this problem for a few months and I've been stumped and am going crazy reading a ton of memory problems that don't match what I'm dealing with. :banghead:

It started a few months ago. I would randomly get a warning that my system memory was getting low and that I needed to close applications. It started when I was using SolidWorks and I figured that was just because I only had 4GB of ram and needed to upgrade my system. But then it started happening with just Firefox running. Again, chalked it up to an aging system

Well about a month ago I picked up a couple engineering computers from my work quad core Xeon processors and more ram. Stuck in a new SSD and did a clean install of Windows 7 Pro 64bit on both of them.

It didn't take long for me to get everything set up and to my frustration I'm again having the same issue! My system has 12GB of RAM and my wife's only has 6GB but is otherwise identical and hers isn't doing it. :facepalm:

I've started watching what the RAM stats show in the Resource Monitor. And what I see is it's usually sitting at 3GB in use running just Firefox, goes up to near 4GB if I'm watching Netflix. A very small amount of "modified memory" and a small amount of "standby", and 7-8GB free.

When the problem strikes, the "modified memory" will start to climb. From a few hundred MB to 7+GB in just a few minutes. Sometimes it releases the memory before triggering the low mem warning, but every once in a while, like a couple times per night at seemingly random times, it maxes out the memory, pops the warning up and kills Firefox.

I don't think the problem is Firefox though because I know it's happened a few times when Firefox isn't even running. It seems totally random. I've tried adjusting the paging file size and it's made no difference.

Anyways, any insight into this would be appreciated. This started probably back in August and is just getting worse even with a much better system and a clean install of Win7. Yet on an identical new system except with less RAM it's not doing it. I've attached a screenshot of the Resource Monitor as the modified memory peaked.

Here's my system info:

Old System:
3.0GHz Core2Duo, 4GB DDR2, 120GB Samsung 840 EVO system drive

New System: 2.8GHz Xeon Quadcore, 12GB DDR3, 128GB Samsung 850 Pro system drive
 

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TSF Team, Emeritus
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Post a screenshot of Task manager - Performance tab when the problem occurs. Performance monitor misses some important information.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, I'll try to get a shot of it. I started using the Resource Monitor because the Task Manager's performance tab doesn't display modified memory and actually caused more confusion at first because I was getting low memory warnings when the performance tab showed less than half my ram in use.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Have been watching for this problem to strike again and it hasn't seemed to be doing it the last two days. Yesterday my apps started acting weird then froze up and went to BSOD. I don't know if this is related, I found the dump file, but I don't know what to read it with and I can't attach it here. I clicked the box that says to "Check for a Solution" thru Windows, but I never seem to get any feedback about what my problem is when I've done that in the past. I'll keep watching for the modified memory issue though and try to catch it again in the Task Manager. Getting a little irritated that my "new" computer is already having issues. I'd wipe it and try another clean install, but it takes days to get it set back up again. Who knows, maybe this is just a phantom bug that will go away on it's own?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks joeten! I've tried running the collection app and I get an error message. In the instructions it says to copy to the "Documents" folder. Does that mean "My Documents"? I don't have a "Documents" folder. Is it possible I got this error because most of my user documents folders have been redirected to the D: drive? I do this because I do not want to use my SSD for storing personal files or other content that an HDD can handle better.

There is a problem with the Environement variables on this system.
Unable to determine the location of the Documents or Desktop folders.

Copy and paste the following information to the
forum where you are receiving assistance:
*********************************************************************

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]

HomeDrive C:
HomePath \Users\SimpleCJ
Userprofile C:\Users\SimpleCJ
*********************************************************************
 

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I kind of expect so, but I will put a call out for an analyst and they can direct you better on how to work around it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I noticed on the checklist that it says the pagefile must be at least as big as the total installed RAM. Well, right now it is only set at 8GB, when this problem started it was windows managed and set at 32GB which seemed like way too much for only 12GB RAM. Samsung's Magician software recommended setting it to a range of 1-2GB which I did, but then tried bumping it up to 8GB to try to alleviate the modified memory buildup. I also had read that some people have been able to eliminate the use of a pagefile in newer systems with plenty of RAM, usually 12-16GB, and have not had any issues with running like that. The pagefile is seen as a huge amount of read/write cycles on SSDs so it would make sense to just turn it off if you have more than enough RAM. Although I have read that newer SSDs are orders of magnitude more resilient so this should be less of a concern. The Samsung 850 Pro comes with a 10yr warranty and is supposedly one of the best SSDs available right now.

Should I change my pagefile back to windows managed?

EDIT: I just noticed that my settings only produced a mini-dump. The instructions in the link say you need both the full dump and mini-dump? I also see there is a hotfix for producing dumps without a pagefile, so I suppose that supports the thought of disabling the pagefile in systems with lots of RAM.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So it started doing it again. It hasn't flagged the low memory warning, but it is the same behavior that occasionally leads to that... I've attached the screenshot. Only program I was using was Firefox and watching a youtube video.
 

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Windows Tech Team, Networking Team |Tech
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Press the Win key +R type msconfig, once open then click on the Boot tab, then Advanced Options. Make sure that the Max Memory check box is unchecked. Save then restart.

I've seen where the box has been checked, and the system would throw up a low memory warning.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks. I looked and the max memory box is unchecked already.

I'm curious if I disable the pagefile, will the system still create "modified memory"? I'm tempted to try it and see how it goes.
 

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Without a pagefile you will still have modified memory, and more of it. The primary purpose of the pagefile, and it might be said the only purpose, is to convert modified memory to standby memory which is available for any process to use.

Modified memory is memory which has not been recently accessed and has been trimmed from a process working set. "recently used" is a relative term with many factors considered. Modified memory does not include memory used for process executables and DLLs which contain original values. This memory goes directly to the standby list. Modified memory must saved to the pagefile before it can take it's place in the standby list. Memory on this list can be reclaimed by the original application or reassigned to another process that needs it. The process of working set trimming allows the OS to operate efficiently with much less memory than would otherwise be required. All of this is managed by the system memory manager and is totally transparent to applications.

With no pagefile there is no place where the contents of modified memory can be saved. There are few opportunities for this memory to ever leave the modified state. Much of this memory will remain in modified state until the system is restarted.

In this case there appears to be a memory leak of some kind. The pagefile was doing it's job with modified memory but has exhausted it's configured limit and can do no more. From the commit limit the pagefile size can be estimated at about 3 GB. A larger pagefile would buy some time of usable operation but won't solve the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
So if modified memory has to be written to the pagefile, how can it even be an option to run with no pagefile? Seems that would mean your modified memory would eventually exceed your RAM capacity and cause nothing but problems. Lots of people are apparently choosing to disable the pagefile now and seem to be fine running like that.

I found another thread describing a similar modified memory issue that was resolved by disabling "write-caching" on all the drives in the computer. I've gone ahead and done that now and will see how it works out over the next few days.

I was also thinking about what is different between my computer and my wife's and realized that I also have added a sound card to mine that's not in hers, the Omega Striker 7.1, for digital optical output with DTS (I use this system as a dual use workstation/HTPC). The drivers are sort of old and possibly suspect because this problem was also happening in my old system with the same sound card in it. I've just purchased a new Yamaha receiver unit (yay for Black Friday deals!) and plan to run audio thru my Nvidia DisplayPort/HDMI output along with video to the receiver so that I can just remove the sound card and uninstall the drivers. If disabling the write-caching doesn't solve my problem, maybe that will? I was really hoping there would be an easier way to pinpoint what is causing the modified memory to climb like it is, but several threads said that even with all the common ram tools, modified memory is not easily identified as to what process is creating it.
 

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So if modified memory has to be written to the pagefile, how can it even be an option to run with no pagefile? Seems that would mean your modified memory would eventually exceed your RAM capacity and cause nothing but problems.
There is no necessity that modified memory be written to the pagefile. It is just that modified memory be saved in the pagefile before it can be assigned to other processes. On a properly functioning system modified memory will initially grow but only to a point. Modified memory can be reused by the owning process and it will be cleared when the process terminates or frees the memory. With sufficient memory for your workload running without a pagefile is certainly an option. Many people have done this for long periods with no issues at all. The pagefile optimizes the use of the memory you have but if that is great enough you won't need the optimization.

But don't get me wrong. Running without a pagefile is not normally recommended. Most people don't have sufficient memory that this can be done safely and without impairment of performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OK, I think I'll keep my pagefile for now. I have change the size back to what the Samsung Magician software recommended (1-2GB range). When it was still set at Windows managed it put it at 32GB which seemed like way too much for only 12GB of RAM, not to mention it was taking up a very large portion of my 128GB SSD system drive.

So far lastnight after disabling the cache-writing to the drives it was smooth sailing. Modified memory stayed between 100-300mb. I'll continue to monitor it to see how confident I feel that the problem is gone.

I have not yet installed SolidWorks on this system since I wanted to correct this problem first. What is surprising to me is how much more RAM Windows seems to be using on the new system with pretty much the exact same software running as I had on my old system. I am regularly seeing the in-use memory exceeding 4GB when I watch Netflix or I have a bunch of tabs open in Firefox which makes me wonder how my old system managed with only 4GB installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not impressed with Win10. With all it's "user experience enhancements" it feels like it's trying to become the Facebook app of operation systems. I was astonished at all the user tracking junk I disabled in the initial setup. I will be sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. I just wish they would release SP2 so that clean installs didn't take so long. As it is, a clean install of SP1 is followed by roughly 200 updates which takes about 4 hours or more to complete.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Home from work now and actually took the time to read that article. Very interesting. I may need to rethink my decision to stick with Win7. Sounds like they've really made some positive improvements for both RAM and SSD system drives.

I have Win10 running my security camera system on an old Dell mini desktop with 3.0GHz Core2Duo and 4GB RAM and a 64GB SSD system drive and it does seem surprisingly responsive. I have not had any memory issues and even with seven 720p IP cameras running, it idles at 15% CPU and 1-2GB of ram. I was just put off on all the built in user tracking stuff and the built in internet media stuff.
 
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