RAM Superguide: How to Free Up or Limit RAM Usage in Windows

Tips • Oct. 30, 2023

ram win

While many factors and hardware are responsible for PC performance, the first and foremost thing many start with is arguably the RAM, may it be upgrading, troubleshooting, or installation.

Hence, if you’re trying to enhance the performance or want to be aware of your Windows PC, this guide will help you gather insights. For better understanding, we have categorized the most common questions, and while we couldn’t add all, this super guide will help figure out most of your RAM-related questions.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Registry Clean on Windows

Importance of RAM:

Why is RAM important for Windows 10/11, and how does it impact your computer’s performance?

The importance of RAM for Windows 10 and 11 cannot be overstated, and for those who aren’t aware, it is an essential and critical component that completes a Windows PC.

To begin with, RAM, or Random Access Memory, serves as your computer’s short-term memory. It stores data that your computer actively uses, including open applications, files, and ongoing processes.

Here is how RAM impacts the performance of a Windows PC and why it is important:

  • Storage for Active Data: In Windows 10/11, RAM stores data actively in use, enabling rapid access. This is achieved by allowing applications to run on the RAM, which allows for faster data retrieval compared to other storage devices.
  • Efficient Multitasking: RAM’s role in Windows 10/11 becomes significant while multitasking. For instance, if you’re running multiple applications and find a decline in performance, it must be inadequate RAM.
  • Minimizing Data Retrieval: A decent amount of RAM in Windows 10/11 reduces the need to fetch data from slower storage devices. As a result, you can observe quicker application loading and a smoother overall system operation.
  • Enhances usability: Windows 10/11, like any operating system, relies on RAM to load and run applications quickly. The more RAM you have, the better your computer can handle multitasking and resource-intensive applications.
  • Promises Future-Proofing: As software and applications become more demanding on Windows 10/11, having more RAM ensures your PC can handle future updates and requirements.

What is the maximum memory limit for Windows 10 and 11?

After learning the importance of RAM for Windows 10/11, you might be wondering about the maximum memory limit, and if that is the case, it is important to realize that it changes with the edition.

Windows 10:

  • Windows 10 Home: The maximum RAM limit is 128 GB.
  • Windows 10 Pro: The maximum RAM limit is 2 TB.
  • Windows 10 Enterprise: The maximum RAM limit is 2 TB.

Windows 11:

  • Windows 11 Home: The maximum RAM limit is 128 GB.
  • Windows 11 Pro: The maximum RAM limit is 2 TB.
  • Windows 11 Enterprise: The maximum RAM limit is 2 TB.

Choosing the Right RAM:

What’s the recommended amount of RAM for the smooth operation of Windows 10/11?

While Windows 10 and 11 can run on lower RAM, it is important to have more RAM than listed in the minimum requirement. We suggest this because the overall experience can be affected significantly as your usage requirements change.

With a decent amount of RAM, you can ensure smoother multitasking and quicker application responsiveness. To ease the situation for you, here is the recommended amount of RAM we suggest according to specific usage.

Type Of UsageActivities that can be performedSuggested RAM
Basic UsageFor Web browsing, Email, and Office applications4-8 GB
MultitaskingFor slight gaming, basic editing, and moderate multitasking8-16 GB
Content creation and GamingFor full-fledged video editing, gaming, or running resource-intensive software16-32 GB
Professional WorkstationsFor extensive 3D modeling, video rendering, or complex simulations32GB and above

Alongside RAM, it is important to realize that other hardware like storage devices and Graphic cards must be efficient as well for a decent working PC that doesn’t struggle under stress.

How do RAM speed and type influence the performance of Windows 10 and 11?

As the saying goes, “The more, the better,” it applies to the RAM speed and type as well. For those unaware, RAM speed and type are critical factors in determining your Windows PC performance.

Here’s a quick explanation for better understanding:

  • RAM Speed: The speed of RAM is measured in megahertz (MHz), and the higher it is, the better the performance is. With RAM featuring high speeds on your Windows 10/11 PC, you can achieve better application loading and smoother overall performance, as your PC can access and process data quicker than before.
  • RAM Type: Different RAM generations (e.g., DDR4, DDR5) offer varying levels of performance. It is important to understand that the data transfer rates get better with every new generation by providing reduced data access times and improved responsiveness.

Hence, if you’re planning on an upgrade or want to change the RAM, know your requirements so you can purchase the RAM with an ideal speed and type for optimal performance of your PC.

Confused? Here are our suggestions:

Usage TypeSpeedType
Basic Usage2133MHz to 2666MHzDDR4
Multitasking2666MHz to 3200MHzDDR4/DDR5
Content Creation and Gaming3200MHz to 3600MHzDDR4/DDR5
Professional Workstations3200MHz and aboveDDR4/DDR5

Troubleshoot RAM Issues:

What should I do to fix high memory usage issues in Windows 10/11?

There can be several reasons behind high memory usage issues, and here are some practices that you need to follow to address them effectively:


  1. If you’re suspicious or experience slowing down of your PC, open the Task Manager by (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) to identify the app and end it.
  2. Always ensure only required apps are running in the background. Use Task Manager to verify if any unnecessary apps are running in the background and end them.
  3. While outdated drivers or OS might feel insignificant, they can cause memory leaks. Also, use a reputable antivirus or anti-malware tool to check for malware that might be using your system’s memory.
  4. Try to adjust the virtual memory settings if you have access to get more memory.
  5. Check if there are hardware issues with the RAM, and if there aren’t any, it is a sign that your RAM needs to be upgraded.

What advanced RAM settings in BIOS/UEFI can optimize PC performance or stability?

Note: The below-advanced methods for tweaking RAM settings in BIOS/UEFI must be attempted by experts and professionals only. We haven’t explained them in detail to prevent you from making any changes.

Hence, consider the below as a reference and check out the manual, do research, and reach out to experts before attempting to tweak RAM settings in BIOS/UEFI.

  1. If your RAM is running on custom settings, set the motherboard profile to XMP (Intel) or DOCP (AMD) profiles, as these are configured for optimal performance.
  2. Try adjusting timings like CAS latency, RAS-to-CAS Delay, etc., and voltage settings. Also, try increasing RAM frequency, changing Command Rate, and sub-timings.
  3. Always ensure you install new firmware updates to improve RAM compatibility and stability.

Before rushing to make changes, back up your firmware and consult your motherboard manual and RAM manufacturer’s specs for safe values, once done making changes or updating the firmware, perform stress testing using MemTest86 or Prime95 to ensure system stability.

Upgrading and Optimizing RAM:

Can I upgrade the RAM in my Windows 10/11 computer? If yes, how to do it?

Yes, you can upgrade the RAM in your Windows 10/11 computer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. The first and foremost thing to do is unplug the cables and verify if your PC has empty RAM slots. If available, identify the type and compatible speed by referring to the manual.
  2. Once you have learned everything about the RAM that your PC is compatible with, purchase them. Ensure you get the right amount of memory that fits your requirements.
  3. Start by shutting down your computer, unplug all cables, and open the case. Ensure you place it on a static-free surface and handle RAM modules carefully to avoid static discharge.
  4. Now, locate the RAM slots on your motherboard and insert the new RAM modules into the slots, aligning the notches. Apply gentle and even pressure until they click into place.
  5. After you have installed the RAM, close the computer case, plug it in, and power it on. If you have done everything right, your system should recognize the additional RAM.

Tip: If you’re using two RAM sticks, ensure you follow a dual-channel configuration, which is placing RAM sticks in parallel. However, if you’re going with four RAM sticks, ensure your motherboard supports quad-channel RAM configuration.

How can I optimize RAM allocation in Windows 10/11 for specific tasks like gaming or video editing?

There are multiple ways you can optimize RAM in a Windows 10/11 PC, may it be for gaming, video editing, or any other high-resource consuming process.

If you’re facing issues with poor performance of PC or warning like inefficient memory, follow the below methods.

  1. Use Task Manager: Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager. Go to the “Processes” tab, identify resource-intensive applications, and close unnecessary ones.
  2. Adjust Virtual Memory: In the “Performance” settings, set the virtual memory size. Increase it for better multitasking and decrease it if you have less RAM.
  3. Game Mode (Windows 10/11): Enable Game Mode in Windows 10/11 to allocate more resources to gaming applications.
  4. Use High-Performance Power Plan: Select a high-performance power plan in the control panel to optimize RAM usage for gaming or video editing.

If none of the above methods seem to work for you, we have a trick up our sleeve, which is using PC optimizers to optimize RAM and other hardware devices. Confused with many options? Check out the Best PC Optimization Software for Windows 10/11.

Managing RAM Usage:

How do you free up RAM on Windows 10/11?

Like optimizing RAM, there are many ways to free up RAM, and the below-mentioned methods are arguably the best and easiest ways.

  • Close Unnecessary Applications: The most straightforward way is to close applications you’re not using. Right-click on their taskbar icons and choose “Close” or use the “Alt + F4” shortcut.
  • Use Task Manager: Press “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” or “Ctrl + Alt + Delete” and select Task Manager. Here, you can see which processes are consuming RAM. Select a process and click “End Task” to free up its RAM usage.
  • Disable Startup Programs: Go to Task Manager > Startup tab. Disable unnecessary programs that start with Windows, as they consume RAM in the background.
  • Increase Virtual Memory: You can allocate space on your hard drive as virtual memory. Right-click on “This PC” > Properties > Advanced system settings > Performance Settings > Advanced > Change. Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” and set a custom size.
  • Use ReadyBoost (Windows 7/8/10): Plug in a USB drive, right-click on it, and select “Properties.” Under the ReadyBoost tab, select “Use this device” and set the amount of space to use for RAM.
  • Check for Memory Leaks: Some applications have memory leaks. Use Task Manager to identify them and update or uninstall them.
  • Upgrade Your RAM: If you’re consistently running out of RAM, consider adding more to your system.

How can I clear my RAM cache in Windows 10/11?

Close the Resource Consuming Tasks:

  1. To clear memory on Windows 10, start by opening Task Manager with Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. Click “More details” to access the full view. In the “Processes” tab, sort the processes by RAM usage.
  3. Right-click on memory-consuming processes and select “End Task.”

Remove Startup Programs:

If many programs run in the background, they may contribute to cached memory. This occurs mostly because of startup programs, and here is how to disable them:

  1. To clear the memory cache in Windows 10, open Task Manager and go to the “Startup” tab.
  2. Right-click on unnecessary programs and select “Disabled.”

Disable Some Visual Effects:

Windows 10 has many visual effects that consume RAM; follow the below steps to disable them:

  1. To clear the RAM cache, right-click “This PC” in File Explorer, select “Properties,” and go to “Advanced system settings.”
  2. Under the “Advanced” tab, click “Settings” in the “Performance” section.
  3. Now, choose “Adjust for the best performance” to disable visual effects.


Clear Page File When Shutting Down:

Clearing paging files can help clear memory cache, and here are steps on how to do it with Registry Editor:

  1. Open the Registry Editor with Win + R, type “regedit,” and navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management.”
  2. Now, double-click on “ClearPageFileAtShutdown” and set “Value data” to 1.

Check Your Device Driver:

Outdated or corrupt device drivers can lead to memory leaks. If you’re suspicious that a specific driver is corrupted or outdated, follow the below steps:

  1. Open Device Manager with Win + R and “devmgmt.msc.”
  2. Look for drivers with a yellow exclamation mark icon indicating issues.
  3. Now, right-click the driver and select “Update driver” to install the latest version.

Clear RAM Cache Using RamMap:

You can utilize a memory cleaner tool like RamMap to free up the memory cache, and here are steps for it:

  1. Download RamMap from the Microsoft Official website and run it.
  2. In the main interface, select “Empty” from the top toolbar and click on “Empty Standby list” to clear the RAM cache.

RELATED: Best Memory Cleaner for Mac to Free Up RAM

Wrapping Up

In this super guide, we believe we have provided the necessary insights on RAM to help you make a decision when choosing the RAM. Also, we have helped you troubleshoot common issues with RAM while explaining steps for upgrading, optimizing, and managing RAM.

While we made most steps concise, it is your role to do more research before making any modifications to the RAM, be it settings or upgrading on your PC, and also ensure you create a backup of firmware and storage devices to avoid data loss.

Keep learning: