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Windows 7: Weird mystery RAM leak!

14 May 2011   #1
jimdandy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Weird mystery RAM leak!

My Windows 7 installation has been perfect up until now. However, in the last week or two I've noticed this weird memory leak that I've never encountered before and am at a loss to explain! To be honest the only reason I even noticed this is because I use a program that displays system stats on your desktop (Rainmeter).

Essentially the system will be running fine and then I'll suddenly notice that the RAM use is at about 70%. This is usually when I'm just performing simple tasks: file management, web browsing etc. so nothing that should use anywhere near the 8GB I have installed. I'm used to seeing it hover at about the 12% mark.

Upon opening the Resource Monitor (screenshot below) I'm unable to see where all this memory is going . . the programs I am using do not seem to be causing the problem. Even if I close everything the RAM use will not return to normal and I'm forced to restart the system. I have very little running in the background, no anti-virus or update managers or anything.

Here's a screenshot of the problem in full swing; 6151MB of physical RAM in use and I've no idea where it's going (I've overlaid the Rainmeter stats for reference):





Interestingly, when I started Photoshop to save that screen capture the (overall) RAM usage dropped right back down again! I hadn't experienced this and it seems to defy logic!? I took a screen capture of this also:





To be honest this just confuses me even further! If you look at the overlaid stats for the memory and network there seems to be a correlation there: the network activity seemed to drop when the RAM usage returned to normal. Whether this has anything to do with my problem I'm not sure?

As I said the system has been perfectly stable and I keep it very well maintained :] The only change recently has been that I now access the internet through a wireless network instead of through a 3G modem. I have very little running, no weird services or anything (as far as I know) and my systray is nice and bare:





If you guys have any wisdom/ideas on this problem I'd appreciate the help! It's really got me stumped :]

Cheers!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Jul 2011   #2
Serapth

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I realize that you haven't had an answer yet ( and I am hoping you figured it out at this point and can tell me! ), but let me add, I experienced the EXACT same thing. I was getting Windows Out of Memory errors, even though I had 4gigs installed, an 8gb pagefile and nothing much running.

The part that is frustrating is, the RAM usage doesn't add up, doesn't even come close to adding up. Adding up the RAM usage in Perf Monitor or Task Manager doesn't even come close to the reported usage. Wherever the memory is going, Windows itself has completely lost track of it. The only way to get memory back has been to reboot the machine, which is annoying.

In looking into it further, I simply gave up and reformated the machine ( it was an old install at this point, so a re-install was well overdue ). Even more confusing, after re-installing, the problem came right back again.

I noticed something the other day though, I disabled Steam from running on start and left my machine running ( no game playing, just the Steam client ) and within a day or two, memory was filling up again. I removed steam from running and let the machine run for two days and absolutely no activity, physical RAM usage stayed steady at 1.25GB. However, I loaded up Thunderbird, and within a couple hours, about 1/2 a GB of RAM was unaccounted for. I closed down all applications and RAM pegged around 1.75GB at this point.

This machine worked fine until about a month ago. At this point, I am thinking it is networking ( either the driver, or networking stack ) that is causing memory to leak. I have Windows Update on automatic, and I am concluding at this point that it was an update released in the last month or so.

For reference, I am running a Dell Studio 17 ( 1747 ), which is a laptop with an i7 processor and Radeon HD4650 graphics card. I am running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit.

I would be curious to hear what machine you are using, so I can compare devices, it may be possible we have a common component, which is the source of a bad driver or update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #3
OldMX

Microsoft Windows 10 Professional / Windows 7 Professional
 
 

RAMMap

Give that tool a try.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Jul 2011   #4
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

seraph,
Welcome to SevenForums.

You can run RESMON.EXE ( a part of Win 7 ) and click on the memory tab.

Keep an eye on memory usage. If you truly have a memory leak, then one of them is going to climb steadily.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #5
Serapth

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by OldMX View Post
RAMMap

Give that tool a try.
I ran RAMMap and to be honest the results are a bit confusing. It is showing chrome.dll as active ( and consuming 40mb ) even though Chrome is not running and their is no Chome.exe process active. Even more perplexing, it is showing a number of EXEs on my system, that are not running and havent been since I rebooted the machine, as showing up in Mapped files. I am not currently running SuperFetch, so that isn't the issue. I assume I simply don't know how to read the results correctly.

Take the following for example:


Those are the top mapped files by total size, and not one of those applications is running, nor has it run since I booted this computer.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
seraph,
Welcome to SevenForums.

You can run RESMON.EXE ( a part of Win 7 ) and click on the memory tab.

Keep an eye on memory usage. If you truly have a memory leak, then one of them is going to climb steadily.
Hi Karlsnooks, thanks for the welcome!

I have done exactly this, this is part of what the gotcha is, neither RESMon or TaskManager show the right RAM usage. Physical memory used will just steadily climb until it hits 100%, but if I add up the actual memory usage ( by summing virtual working set ), it doesn't even come close to the 4 GBs of physical RAM in the computer, nor even the 2GB address space available to 32bit applications.

Whatever is chewing up physical memory isn't being monitored by taskmanager, Resmon, process explorer or any other task manager type application I have run. However, it will eventually rise to 100% used physical memory and BLAMMO, death, even though resmon shows only minimal memory usage.

Eventually this happens:


A short while later, once physical memory is exhausted, really really really bad things happen.

Since I took the above screenshot, I have completely reinstalled, ran all the various windows updates then it started happening again.

I have managed to deduce, if I stay away from certain applications ( steam & thunderbird ), things work flawlessly. I run applications, memory usage goes up, I exit them, memory usage goes back to normal. I managed to run for days like this and once I exited all applications, physical memory usage stayed constant around 1.25GB.

However, if I for example, run Steam, even though in process viewer, only a few hundred MB are shown allocated, Physical Memory continues to rise over time, until in runs out and I get an OOM error again.

This leads me to believe their is a memory leak inside the network stack at some point, this would explain why Task Manager/Process Explorer isn't showing it, but to be honest at this point I am just guessing.

Like the original poster, it just started happening within the last month, during which time I installed no new drivers nor many intrusive applications, leading me to believe it might be a windows update. Unfortunately in that time frame, SP1 was released, so narrowing it down might be impossible.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #6
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

seraph,
so you have located the program with the memory leak.

You might want to contact the author thereof or site for the program and see if the program is compatible with your version of Wiindows.

Also whether others have reported problems.

This link will let you know if they submitted the program to MS for testing and the program was judged compatible.
Windows 7 Compatibility: Software Programs & Hardware Devices: Find Updates, Drivers, & Downloads
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #7
Serapth

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
seraph,
so you have located the program with the memory leak.

You might want to contact the author thereof or site for the program and see if the program is compatible with your version of Wiindows.

Also whether others have reported problems.

This link will let you know if they submitted the program to MS for testing and the program was judged compatible.
Windows 7 Compatibility: Software Programs & Hardware Devices: Find Updates, Drivers, & Downloads
No, sadly I have not.

I have isolated the memory leak cause to certain applications ( such as the Steam.exe client running ), but as Steam is run on 30 million computers, I assume it is the catalyst, not the actual problem.

What I am *assuming* or probably more accurately *guessing* is that it is the network stack that is causing the leak, but I have in no way identified which piece.

The fact that the missing memory is not being reported in any processes, leads me to believe that it is in the sub-process level. In other words, in the OS or device driver level, which the various process monitors dont track.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #8
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

And are your problematic programs in the Microsoft list of compatible programs.

I also recommend running MalwareBytes over your computer. Link in my sig.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #9
Serapth

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
And are your problematic programs in the Microsoft list of compatible programs.

I also recommend running MalwareBytes over your computer. Link in my sig.
Nope, apps are all kosher. Frankly there is a very minimal of applications installed right now as I literally just did a re-install. Same goes for the presence of Malware, I just literally re-installed and am running MS anti-malware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2011   #10
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

1. Stream was not listed.
2. If by Thunderbird you mean Mozilla Thunderbird, then be sure to update.
3. What do you mean by MS anti-malware?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Weird mystery RAM leak!




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