Thursday, March 23, 2006

on quick little tips: claim your computer memory (kinda manual garbage collector)
on my development machine at work I have Windows 2000 with 1GB of RAM, that used to be more than enough, but nowadays, programs are just getting more and more memory hungry

while you can leave your computer up without reboots for weeks and weeks, you'll notice the memory consuption to keep going up and up

here's a trick to claim some of that memory back so other programs can use it:
- restart a bunch of your windows services and stop (or even disable) the ones you're not using!
- restart (close and reopen) any web browsers that you are using
that's it...

now if you want more detail keep reading

to open the services console, click on Start, Run, type "services.msc" (without quotes of course!) hit enter
click on the "status" colum, so get all of the ones that are started all together

the first one is Automatic Updates, stopping this service will claim quite a bit of memory, if you are good are keeping an eye on updates, stop and disable this one and you'll have an extra 30MB of RAM for other things

here's a list of services that you can (most likely) safely restart without causing problems
- Machine Debug Manager
- Print Spooler
- Your antivirus, i.e. I have "Symantec Antivirus Client"
- Task Scheduler
- TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Service
- VNC Server (in case you have VNC installed on your machine)
- IIS Admin Service (this will restart other services that depend on it)
- MSSQL* (there can be a number of these ones, depending on what version of MSSQL you have, you can restart them all)

other services you can restart, I haven't noticed much gain from restarting them though:
- Background Intelligent Transfer Service
- COM+ Event System
- Computer Browser

Services you can stop (or disable):
- IIS Admin Service (this will stop other services that depend on it)
- MSSQL* (if you have the 2005 version, you have a bunch of these ones, and they all take a lot of memory)

I usually stop IIS and MSSQL because I don't use them everyday, if you can't stop them because you always use them, at least restart them

if you don't use MSSQL or IIS, except in very few cases, you can even disable them, and then just reenable them whenever you need them

performing the above steps can claim back a bunch of RAM, I've seen 200 MB go back in my machine, but it can vary greatly

now, if you don't like doing that manually, you can always create a .BAT file to do all that for you, and then you could put a shortcut somewhere in your desktop or quick launch bar

to restart a service from a .BAT file you just enter something like:
net stop "Task Scheduler"
net start "Task Scheduler"

you do that, and you can claim a bunch of RAM every day with a single click

of course, nothing beats restarting the machine, but again, there might be services that you don't really use, so no need to have them enabled, and of course you can always use the RAM for other things

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