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12 Ways to free up RAM in Windows 11 and 10

Quick Answers:

  • The easiest way to free up RAM on Windows is to restart your device.
  • To manage memory allocation of background processes and apps, use Task Manager.
  • With the help of the Disk Cleanup Tool, you can get rid of the RAM cache from any drive of your PC.

When your Windows PC is lagging and running slowly, operating apps or programs can be challenging. This could be for various reasons, like lack of RAM. To help you out, I have listed possible ways to free up RAM on Windows 11 and 10.

Follow these tried and tested solutions to boost your PC’s efficiency and speed. Alongside these tips and tricks for Windows, I have also discussed how to install more RAM on your device.

How to reduce RAM usage on Windows 11 and 10

Whether it is a bug, technical glitch, or system overload, the solutions discussed below will help you free up Windows RAM effectively.

1. Restart your PC

Starting simple, let’s perform the oldest trick in the book. A quick restart often eliminates all potential bugs and errors that may be tampering with the performance of your Windows system.

As you turn on your computer, the operating system and various startup applications use allocated RAM to perform their respective actions. Over time, these apps tend to accumulate unnecessary data in the RAM.

To reduce RAM usage quickly, restart your system. 

  1. Click the Windows Start Button from the taskbar.
  2. Select the power option.
  3. Choose Restart.

    Perform a windows restart

Alternatively, you can press Alt + F4 and select Restart from the pop-up menu.

Note: These steps work the same for both Windows 10 and 11. The position of the start button may vary based on your operating system.

This process kills all running programs and services and ensures that only essential processes are loaded upon startup.

2. Quit unnecessary apps and processes

Another effective way to free up Windows RAM is to force quit apps and background processes. The built-in Task Manager gives a comprehensive view of all active applications and services right in one place.

So, you can easily identify memory-hogging applications that are draining the system’s RAM. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc simultaneously to summon Task Manager.
    Alternatively, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. Go to the Processes tab.

    Ope Task Manager, Processes
  3. Here, you will see all running applications and background processes.
  4. Choose any of these apps and press End Task.

    End Task from Task Manager
  5. Select OK if prompted.

This action will free up the allocated RAM by closing unnecessary applications or background processes temporarily.

Note: Closing apps from Task Manager is not permanent. It is possible to start services and apps manually, or they will launch automatically after a restart.

3. Clear Cache

Memory cache is a problem that users often overlook. With the daily usage of certain apps like Chrome, cache memory keeps increasing and taking up space in the system.

Hence, every Windows 10 and 11 user should regularly clean up the cache from frequently accessed applications or websites.

To clear the cache professionally,

  1. Type Disk Cleanup Tool in the search bar. Select the same from the results.

    Search for disk cleanup
  2. Choose the desired drive → Click OK.

    Select the drive for cleanup
  3. Here, you can checkmark all appropriate boxes, such as Temporary Internet Files and Thumbnails.
  4. Once set, click OK.

    Checkmark boxes in disk cleanup
  5. Choose Delete Files and let the process run its course.

    Click Delete Files

This action will remove all unnecessary files and free up valuable RAM space, improving system performance.

4. Remove unnecessary apps

If you’re anything like me, you must be fond of trying new apps and services every day. However, sometimes, we end up installing more apps than our system can handle. This can hang the system and prompt an unresponsive screen.

While there is nothing wrong with using various apps, one must also carefully manage the system’s RAM usage. As a result, I suggest developing a habit of removing unnecessary apps so there’s always room for the important ones.

  1. Navigate to the Settings menu → Apps.
  2. Select Installed apps to proceed.

    Apps, Installed Apps
  3. Here, a list of installed applications will be displayed. Take your time and determine which apps are no longer necessary.
  4. Once finalized, click the three-dot icon next to the respective app.
  5. Choose Uninstall.

    Tap three-dot icon, Uninstall
  6. Now, follow the on-screen commands until the app is wiped off your system.
    Make sure to delete all saved files within the app.

The process to uninstall an app may vary based on your choice.

Regularly performing these steps ensures optimal utilization of computer resources and reliable operation without unnecessary burden on system memory.

5. Delete unused browser Extensions

Does your PC start running slow after you open your web browser? In this case, your PC is not to be blamed. You probably added a ton of extensions to your browser.

Windows OS is prone to lag if you’ve saved numerous browser extensions that consume significant memory.

By managing the saved extensions, you can reduce the overall browser footprint and enhance the performance of your device. Here’s how:

  1. Launch any web browser.
    I have opted for Brave.
  2. Click the menu icon and select Extensions. Here are all your saved extensions.

    Select Extensions
  3. Assess each extension carefully and pick out the redundant ones.
  4. Now click Remove.

    Click Remove below extension
  5. Remove to get rid of the following extension.

    Click Remove when prompted

These steps may vary based on the web browser you’re equipped with, but the way to manage saved extensions remains the same.

Note: If you desire, you can disable extensions that are not being actively utilized but might still hold relevance.

6. Disable Startup Apps

Startup Apps are the primary cause of RAM space being consumed in Windows. As your computer boots, several background apps automatically start and consume considerable RAM.

Disabling the startup apps will prevent them from consuming precious RAM during boot time, reducing memory usage and improving system performance.

Here’s what you must do:

  1. Access the Task Manager on your PC. 
    Either press Ctrl + Shift + Esc or right-click the taskbar and select the same.
  2. From this utility window, choose Startup apps.
  3. Analyze each app’s impact on system resources and select which ones are unnecessary for immediate use.

    Open Startup Apps
  4. Right-click the irrelevant app and click Disable.

    Disable the Startup App
  5. From this point forward, the respective can only be manually launched.

Alternatively, if you’d like a more detailed approach, you can go to Settings → Apps → Startup Apps.

Note: Remember only to disable trusted applications, as removing critical system processes may cause instability.

7. Uninstall saved Microsoft Windows updates

Many users are still unaware of the fact that, over time, Windows keeps a record of system updates. Simply put, whenever you put your device to update, a few system files are stored for backup.

In my opinion, they are not very relevant. So, you can get rid of these files and make space for your Windows RAM.

  1. Navigate to Windows Settings.
  2. Go to Windows Update.
  3. Select Update History from the menu.

    Windows update, Update History
  4. Scroll to the bottom and choose Uninstall updates.

    Select Uninstall Updates
  5. Here, you’ll find the system updates that you do not require anymore.
  6. Click Uninstall next to the respective update.
  7. Hit Uninstall.
    This may take a while.

    Uninstall saved update
  8. Once the file is removed, restart your device.

    Restart your windows

Following this process will remove these updates from your system, thereby freeing up valuable RAM resources.

It is crucial, however, to exercise caution when uninstalling updates, as removing essential ones can impact the stability and security of your operating system.

8. Adjust Visual Effects on your PC

If you’re running tight on RAM, one effective solution is to adjust the Visual Effects on your PC.

Unnecessary visual effects can consume precious memory resources, which could be used for running essential applications.

So, to rectify this, access the Performance Options settings. It allows users to reduce or disable visual effects that add little value but consume significant amounts of RAM.

  1. Search for View advanced system settings and choose the appropriate result.

    Search for View advanced system settings
  2. Go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Click Settings under Performance.

    Select Advanced, Settings
  4. Select Adjust for best performance and click Apply.

    Adjust your windows for best performance
  5. Press OK to save your preference.

    Press OK to save

As a result, your device will now focus on efficiency rather than system aesthetics. In such a way, individuals can effectively free up RAM and enhance their Windows experience.

9. Adjust Virtual Memory

If adjusting the visual effects does not work for you, let’s kick this idea up a notch. By default, virtual memory is allocated to your Windows PC. It comes from paging file size for all drives.

Virtual memory is a combination of RAM and a designated space on the hard drive that’s used when physical memory exceeds its limits. However, the best part is that you can adjust this virtual memory to your liking.

To adjust virtual memory settings,

  1. Follow the steps 1-3 discussed in Adjust Visual Effects.
  2. Now, go to the Advanced menu.
  3. Click Change under Virtual Memory.

    Go to Advanced, Change Virtual Memory
  4. Here, the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives will be enabled by default.
  5. In most cases, this is enough. But if you are running low on virtual memory, uncheck this feature.
  6. Finally, select your preferred drive and specify an initial and maximum size for virtual memory allocation.
    I have customized my C: Drive.
  7. Click OK to conclude.

    Disable Automatically manage paging file size for all drives

Note: I highly recommend setting these parameters based on the available disk space while leaving room for future expansion.

Once set, restart your device and see the change for yourself.

10. Disable Visual Effects on your PC

Windows OS has unique visual effects, such as animation and transparency. However, they tend to consume a significant amount of RAM.

Hence, when your system can barely run optimally, disabling these parameters can optimize its performance and reduce the strain on memory resources. To do this,

  1. Launch the Windows Settings menu.
  2. Select Accessibility → Visual effects.

    Accessibility, Visual Effects
  3. Toggle off Transparency effects and Animation effects.

    Toggle off Transparency effects and Animation effects

By effecting managing the visual effects in Windows, you can allocate the left memory resources for more demanding tasks. This also improves the overall efficiency and speed of the system.

11. Update apps to the latest versions

One of the easiest ways to free RAM on your Windows PC is to update all applications. Outdated apps or tools start turning out slow in performance over time; as a result, ensure they are up to date.

  1. Go to the Microsoft Store on your PC.
  2. Select the Library menu.
  3. If there are pending updates available, click Update All.
    You can manually update selected apps as well.

    Microsoft Store, Library, Update All
  4. In case there are no updates shown, click Check for Updates just to make sure.

By regularly updating apps, users benefit from bug fixes and improved efficiency, leading to optimized RAM usage. Also, this process ensures that programs are utilizing resources effectively and prevents unnecessary memory usage.

12. Scan for malware

There is a high chance that your system may have been infected by malware, resulting in overall slow performance. Don’t worry; this is common among Windows 10 and 11 users.

Even if you’re unsure about malware in your system, verifying your doubts is best. Fortunately, Windows comes with an in-built security tool that will help you indefinitely.

  1. Go to your Windows Settings.
  2. Access Privacy & security → Windows Security.

    Privacy & security → Windows Security
  3. Click Open Windows Security.

    Click Open Windows Security
  4. Here, you can quickly glance through your device’s security aspects.
    If you find an alert in any of the displayed variables, click the same and take the necessary steps.
  5. For now, select Virus & threat protection.

    Select Virus & threat protection
  6. Finally, hit Quick Scan.

    Click Quick Scan

Doing so will allow Windows Defender to scan your system thoroughly while examining all files and directories on the computer’s hard drive. It may take a while, so sit back and relax.

Besides, if any malware or corrupt files are detected, remove them from your system and restart your PC.

Note: In my opinion, one should never use third-party antivirus applications. Windows Defender is more than capable of taking care of all security parameters in your device. Even if you do, just run a quick scan via that respective application.

Getting rid of malware will free up RAM that was being used by unauthorized processes, which will enhance system performance and make more memory available for other applications.

How to add and install more RAM in Windows

Despite performing all the abovementioned methods, if your PC is still running slowly, consider upgrading your RAM. As time passes, Windows tends to become outdated, and the inbuilt RAM is no longer sufficient to run newly launched apps and services.

In such a scenario, you must upgrade your complete system or install additional RAM in your device. Thus, you can boost the performance of your PC significantly.

However, before you begin, you must keep a few things in mind.

  • Do not fall for scams claiming, “Download more RAM,” as it is impossible. You need a compatible hardware strip to add RAM to your PC.
  • Identify your needs and select the appropriate amount of RAM to integrate.
  • Check your system requirements and make sure that your PC is compatible with newer RAM modules. You can either research manually or use software like CPU-Z.
  • Installing RAM in a laptop may pose some difficulty compared to a PC. But with proper care and guidance, you can swiftly see through this process.
  • It is essential to properly ground oneself while installing RAM in your PC to prevent electrostatic discharge damage and ensure optimal performance.
How do I clear my RAM cache in Windows 10?

If your PC is running on Windows 10, you can search for Disk Cleanup Tool or cleanmgr.exe to clean the RAM cache and follow the abovementioned steps.

Why is my RAM so full?

There could be many reasons why your Windows RAM is full. Some possible causes include having too many programs running at once, having too many browser tabs open, or having a memory leak in one of your programs.

Perform a full sweep and restore the power of Windows RAM!

Clearing RAM on your Windows computer is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and preventing sluggishness. By following the tips and tricks mentioned above, you can easily free up RAM on your computer and improve its speed and efficiency.

If you run into any issues or confusion, please drop your concerns in the comment section below.

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  • Yash Tiwari

    Yash has been improving his content writing skills for the past three years by combining his love for gaming with a deep exploration of the complexities of the Android tech industry. Apart from being a part-time gamer, he has immersed himself in understanding the intricacies of technology. Through various enriching internships, he has developed the skill to explain technical concepts in a simple manner for a broader audience. In addition to his hands-on experience, Yash holds a Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, cultivating his passion for the ever-changing world of Android technology.

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