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  • Will a RAM upgrade speed my computer?

    Posted on LHiggins Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions: What hardware should I get? Will a RAM upgrade speed my computer?

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      • #2135416 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        I am contemplating adding RAM to my Thinkpad x230, which is running very slowly after 6 years, but I wondered what the actual effect of that would be. I currently have one 4gb PC3-12800 DDR3 (1 DIMM) and would like to add a second compatible 4gb stick to hopefully speed up the laptop.

        Right now, running Win 7 Home Premium, with Windows Live Mail and either Firefox or Opera, I often am approaching using 85-90% of the computer’s resources, and things run quite slowly. I also run Linux Mint from a full install on a USB SSD on this laptop, and that is using about 75% of the resources.

        Will doubling the RAM help with that situation? I am trying to extend the usefulness of this laptop, and plan to mainly use Mint going forward, but thought that maybe adding an additional 4GB RAM would be a good idea.

        Thanks for the input!

         

      • #2135467 Reply
        mixer
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hi,

        Every program or App is different in the way they use either CPU, Memory or GPU.  But based on what you said, you probably could use more RAM memory.  One question you may want to ask yourself:  Is the cost of the memory worth it on an older laptop?   In may case with an older HP, it wasn’t and I basically “ate” the cost of the RAM upgrade….even running Linux on an SSD.  Luckily, I was able to use the SSD for another computer.

        Are you planning on trying to use Windows 10 on this laptop?  Or, just sticking with Mint ?  If you just use Mint, may I suggest Mint XFCE.  That’s a pretty bare bones version of Mint that doesn’t have all the menu (Windows like) look.   Linux Mint XFCE is pretty fast too, about 30% faster for me with the same components, RAM and CPU.

        Mike

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2136336 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Hi Mike and thanks for the reply!

          One question you may want to ask yourself: Is the cost of the memory worth it on an older laptop? In may case with an older HP, it wasn’t and I basically “ate” the cost of the RAM upgrade….even running Linux on an SSD.

          Yes – that is the question – though an additional 4GB RAM is only about $25, so if that made things run more smoothly, it would probably be worth it. But I am going to get to the point where I’ll need to decide when to say enough – I already needed a new battery – about $60, and am still considering a 0patch license for the Windows side of this laptop.

          Are you planning on trying to use Windows 10 on this laptop? Or, just sticking with Mint ? If you just use Mint, may I suggest Mint XFCE. That’s a pretty bare bones version of Mint that doesn’t have all the menu (Windows like) look. Linux Mint XFCE is pretty fast too, about 30% faster for me with the same components, RAM and CPU.

          I’m not really sure about Windows 10, but I have downloaded the ISO so that I can upgrade (assuming that MS will still allow that) at a later date. We have a Win 10 laptop, so keeping this one as is for a time is OK, but wanted to do any upgrades now so that it might be ready if I ever do decide to move to 10 on this machine. I am currently also using it for a full install of Mint Cinnamon 19.1 that runs from an external USB SSD, and that is much faster than Windows – but I can’t do everything with Mint.

          Thanks for the tip about XFCE – I think I am happy with the version of Mint that I have now. Since it is not a dual boot and not actually installed on the laptop, but runs from the SSD, it is really pretty fast and smooth.

          Lily

      • #2135471 Reply
        satrow
        AskWoody MVP

        Doubling/quadrupling the RAM should see an improvement, esp. keeping the System ‘fresher’ over longer sessions, assuming W7/Mint x64 and an i5/i7. A fresh W7 install on a recent, quality 240+ GB SSD would make a big difference all-round.

        A 6yo W7 install is likely to be pretty stale.

        ~$100 for upgrades that should keep it pleasantly useful for another 2+ years isn’t so bad, is it?

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2135503 Reply
        PaulK
        AskWoody Lounger

        As mixer says, there are three primary contributors to a computer’s speed, sometimes expressed as throughput: CPU speed, memory, and I/O (Input-Output transmission) rate. (A GPU is kind-of a micro-computer, with all three of these components.) For a given system, and work load, all three need to be balanced; a shortage of any one will impact the overall perceived performance.

        A given CPU can’t be run faster unless it is being ‘over-clocked’. Your aren’t doing this.
        Memory (RAM) can be increased. This is $$$.
        I/O rate depends upon the bus speed (you can’t change), and the device characteristics. Typically this means disk specifications. Your SSD is much faster than a spinning disk.

        You mention resources usages of 85-90% (Win 7), and 75% (Mint). These numbers – are they measures of memory usage?

        Your computer can take up to 16GB in two slots. A reference.
        At the moment, Frys has 4GB cards for $19, and 8GB cards for $38.

        Your idea of doubling is right on. (But should you want 16 total (2×8) you’ll have to remove the existing 4.)

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      • #2135506 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Adding RAM memory should also cut down the virtual paging to and fro between the RAM and the HD, something meant to make the machine able to keep more data “in RAM memory” than the real available RAM could contain. So having more real RAM should make things go quicker, cut down the usage of the HD and, maybe, even extended its useful life before it starts making odd noises and, or forgetting things. As we all eventually do

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2135523 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        If you have 64-bit Windows 7, then the best way to increase your speed is to add more memory. 8 GB is a good amount to have. 4 GB will get you by, but the computer won’t run very fast. 8 GB gives you plenty of “elbow room”.

        On the other hand, if you have 32-bit Windows 7, don’t waste your money on additional memory, because 32-bit Windows can use only about 3.3 GB of RAM.

        If you are planning on installing Linux Mint 64-bit, then add the additional 4 GB of RAM.

        Another thing which can speed up your computer is to reduce the amount of things that are running in the background. The easiest way to do this is to run a program called MSCONFIG.

        Once you are in MSCONFIG, go to the Services tab. At the bottom of the window, check the box called “Hide all Microsoft Services”.

        Now look at the services that are listed. Some of them are needed, such as your anti-virus program. Others, such as Adobe Acrobat Update Service, may be helpful, but they aren’t necessary. Uncheck the things that aren’t necessary; also, if there is something you aren’t sure about, you could uncheck it as a test; but realize that that particular function will no longer run if you uncheck it on this screen. When you have finished unchecking items, click Apply. Now restart the computer. Your computer should now run faster. If something isn’t working (but was before), you can run MSCONFIG, go to the Services tab, and re-enable that item.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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        • #2135535 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Next to the “Services” tab there is also (if memory serves, I am working on a Mac at this moment) a “Startup Programs” one where you can click to see a list of things that launch when you start a session after booting up. You can turn off things there, same as in “Services”, that you clearly don’t need to have running, right now or, maybe, never at all. That shall speed up the time it takes, after you login, to get things going without having to wait a long time for the end of a succession of hourglass icons coming up, one after another, plink, plink, plink to let you know the machine is busy… launching all those unnecessary ‘at start-up’ things. So now you could still launch them yourself, if you wanted to, when you wanted to, by clicking on their icons, to be found (in Win 7, maybe also in XP) by entering the name of the application in the search bar at the bottom of the Start menu whenever, if ever, you wanted to actually use them. And since they won’t be running all the time for no good reason, using up memory and keeping the CPU busier, that should also speed up your machine during the whole session.

          Whatever you do there or in “Services”, is all fully reversible.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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        • #2136340 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks so much for the reply!

          If you have 64-bit Windows 7, then the best way to increase your speed is to add more memory. 8 GB is a good amount to have. 4 GB will get you by, but the computer won’t run very fast. 8 GB gives you plenty of “elbow room”.

          On the other hand, if you have 32-bit Windows 7, don’t waste your money on additional memory, because 32-bit Windows can use only about 3.3 GB of RAM.

          If you are planning on installing Linux Mint 64-bit, then add the additional 4 GB of RAM.

          Yes, from everything here, it sounds like adding the RAM is an easy way to speed things up a bit! This laptop is 64-bit, so that will work. And the Mint 64-bit that I run is not actually installed on the laptop – but it would benefit from the additional RAM as well.

          Another thing which can speed up your computer is to reduce the amount of things that are running in the background. The easiest way to do this is to run a program called MSCONFIG.

          Once you are in MSCONFIG, go to the Services tab. At the bottom of the window, check the box called “Hide all Microsoft Services”.

          Now look at the services that are listed. Some of them are needed, such as your anti-virus program. Others, such as Adobe Acrobat Update Service, may be helpful, but they aren’t necessary. Uncheck the things that aren’t necessary; also, if there is something you aren’t sure about, you could uncheck it as a test; but realize that that particular function will no longer run if you uncheck it on this screen. When you have finished unchecking items, click Apply. Now restart the computer. Your computer should now run faster. If something isn’t working (but was before), you can run MSCONFIG, go to the Services tab, and re-enable that item.

          OK – that is something that I probably should do and really have no experience deciding what is needed and what isn’t. I occasionally do go into it to adjust the start-up items, but I should really spend some time on what is running in the background. I’m sure that is part of the issue with the slowness in Win 7, and if I could “fix” that, I would probably use it more – of course keeping in mind the “dangers” of using it.

          Thanks so much for the help and suggestions!

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by LHiggins.
          • #2136719 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            Adding RAM is THE easiest way to speed up your computer; and in my opinion, you will usually get better results from adding RAM than you will get from any other one thing.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2136722 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            @LHiggins: Go into MSCONFIG, and go to the Services tab. Reply here with a list of the “non-Microsoft” items. We can probably suggest some things you could disable.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2136730 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Great – thanks! I’ll post a list in the morning when I boot back into Windows! Much appreciated!

            • #2137065 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Go into MSCONFIG, and go to the Services tab. Reply here with a list of the “non-Microsoft” items. We can probably suggest some things you could disable.

              OK – here’s what I have – hope these screenshots are OK:

              msconfig-1

              msconfig-2

              Also included the ones that are stopped in case I need to restart something:

              msconfig-3

              msconfig-4

              Took about 5 minutes to full boot. Right now, with 2 tabs open in Firefox, it is using about 80% of my memory in the system monitor.  CPU around 5%.

              Thanks for your ideas on anything to change to speed things up.

              Also ETA – even though Google update service is stopped, it does show as running in my resource monitor memory tab under processes. There are many processes running – all listed in that 80% memory usage.

              • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
              • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
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              • #2137075 Reply
                OscarCP
                AskWoody Plus

                LHiggins: You might also give us a peek into your “Startup” tab listing, as well. You might have some things listed there that you don’t needed to have running the moment you turn on your machine (or ever), and each one of which takes its own sweet time to get going, before they let you start doing something yourself.

                Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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              • #2137081 Reply
                LHiggins
                AskWoody Plus

                LHiggins: You might also give us a peek into your “Startup” tab listing, as well. You might have some things listed there that you don’t needed to have running the moment you turn on your machine (or ever), and each one of which takes its own sweet time to get going, before they let you start doing something yourself.

                Good idea – here you go:

                Start-up-1
                Start-up-2

                And here’s what my General Start-up selections are. Not sure why it is set up that way, but it must have been something I changed once upon a time.

                Start-up-3

                Thanks! I’ll be interested in what you all might see that could help!

                Attachments:
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              • #2137127 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                I think all of the ones that you stopped were good choices. None of them seem to be essential. In my opinion you can safely uncheck all of those in MSCONFIG.

                You could disable some of the Lenovo stuff without causing any problems. One thing that caught my eye is “Lenovo Keyboard Noise Reduction”. That seems to be more of a “convenience” item than anything else. Also, “Lenovo Hotkey Client Loader” sounds like a memory hog, but not a necessary item. I would uncheck that one.

                If you decide to run a virtual machine, you will need to enable “HyperW7 Service”.

                If disabling these items doesn’t seem to make any difference, you can reenable them. But I personally would leave them disabled if doing so doesn’t cause any problems.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
                2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2135551 Reply
        Bundaburra
        AskWoody Plus

        As mentioned above, one reason for slow performance is constant use of the page file, which will happen if physical memory is nearly full.  There are ways to monitor page file usage, but there’s a simple little program called, not surprisingly, Pagefile Usage Monitor.  It’s an old program, but it works on Win 10 so should also work on 7.  It will show pagefile size, plus current and session peak usage, with just one click.  If current or peak usage is approaching pagefile size, that’s a sure sign that more physical memory would be needed.

        Windows 10 Pro 64 bit 1909

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      • #2135562 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        In my experience, by far the two things that typically most help an old computer to run faster are adding RAM and putting the OS on a solid-state drive (SSD).

        If your Windows 7 is 64-bit, then by all means take it to 8GB of RAM as @Mrjimphelps recommended, or even 16GB as @paulK hinted.

        If you don’t want to go that far, then you may also get good mileage out of the nearly forgotten ReadyBoost feature. We have a Windows Media Center PC that kept running low on memory because of the TV program buffer. Memory was expensive at the time, so as a stopgap measure I put in a 16GB 600X Compact Flash card and the machine got noticeably more nimble.

        Also, open your Task Manager and see what programs may be eating up your CPU cycles, slowing down the computer. My father was ready to throw out his Windows 10 PC and asked me to take a look. Turned out something called the HP Component Manager Service was running amok, constantly claiming about 75% of the CPU. Disabling it made the computer snappy again, and I haven’t noticed any harmful effects from doing that.

         

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        • #2136344 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Reply to Cybertooth:

          If you don’t want to go that far, then you may also get good mileage out of the nearly forgotten ReadyBoost feature. We have a Windows Media Center PC that kept running low on memory because of the TV program buffer. Memory was expensive at the time, so as a stopgap measure I put in a 16GB 600X Compact Flash card and the machine got noticeably more nimble.

          Also a great idea that I had forgotten about. I did use ReadyBoost on a much older Win 7 Starter netbook and it helped a lot. I think the drawback for this laptop is that right now I only have one “free” 2.0 USB port, so filling it with a permanent USB would eliminate that port. My 3.0 port is where I plug in my external USB SSD that has the Linux Mint install on it. If I plan ahead, I have a powered USB hub that I can use for additional ports, but it is powered so it needs to be plugged in, plus I need to be sure it is attached before I boot the laptop. A bit of a round about way to get the extra ports, but can work when needed.

          Also, open your Task Manager and see what programs may be eating up your CPU cycles, slowing down the computer. My father was ready to throw out his Windows 10 PC and asked me to take a look. Turned out something called the HP Component Manager Service was running amok, constantly claiming about 75% of the CPU. Disabling it made the computer snappy again, and I haven’t noticed any harmful effects from doing that.

          I do that often, but mainly to just shake my head at how much is running, and as I said in my reply to MrJimPhelps above, I am not that good at knowing what can be disabled and what can’t. But worth a try for sure!

          Thanks for the reply! I am noticing that mine are a bit out of order for some reason, so I’m trying to make it clearer – LOL!

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          • #2136494 Reply
            Cybertooth
            AskWoody Plus

            @lhiggins, maybe you can get a handle on what’s going on by monitoring Task Manager. When you first boot it up or when it’s running well, you can peer in and see how the numbers look in terms of CPU and RAM usage to get a feel for what the normal, typical levels are. Then, when it’s acting up, you can go back in and compare the numbers. Whatever is going crazy to cause the slowdown, you can then research to see if it’s safe or advisable to uninstall or disable it.

            One other idea, in case it helps: Sometimes my computers will start getting slow when I’ve had too many browser tabs open for too long a time. They seem to eat up increasing amounts of memory the longer they’re left open, and eventually the system slows down to a crawl. One day by sheer chance I discovered that, when you close and then reopen them, Firefox-based browsers will offer you a choice (under the history menu) to “Reopen Previous Session”. Internet Explorer 11 will sometimes do the same thing if you right-click on its icon in the taskbar, although that seems to be offered inconsistently. So I learned that you can close the browser and then reopen it to the same tabs, but the RAM it was using will be freed up; the tabs will reload as you click on each one.

             

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            • #2136508 Reply
              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              This sounds to me like a memory leak. Nasty. But a machine restart will cure it and what Cybertooth suggests looks like another way to stop it from getting worse.

              Is a memory leak a plausible reason? Do all the most used browsers (FF, WF, PM,Chrome) do this? (I don’t need to open many tabs, and usually click off the browsers as soon as I am done looking at, or doing whatever it is in some Web site, so I have not noticed this problem myself, yet.)

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2135586 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        As the suggestion has been made by Cybertooth, here is something about moving Windows + user’s data from HD to SSD. Maybe others can join in a discussion on this useful topic with other suggestions?

        https://www.ubackup.com/clone/clone-hard-drive-to-ssd-4348.html

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2135652 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        It very well might be faster with more RAM, and I would recommend it, but a word of caution: Modern operating systems are meant to keep the RAM fairly full at all times.  It’s a resource that’s wasted if it’s just empty, so Windows and Linux alike will attempt to keep it as full as possible until the RAM is needed for something, like running a new program.  The PC can discard cached data and assign that RAM to a program as quickly as it could assign empty RAM, so why not use it until then?

        My two more powerful of my main PCs (I have way too many PCs, but I have three that I use on a daily basis) both have 16 GB, and I would always recommend more than 4 if you can, but my Acer Swift only comes with 4GB, and it’s not upgradeable.  I use Neon Linux on it, as I do with the other two PCs, and I have a RAM monitor graphic in the system tray, so I can always see at a glance how much physical RAM and how much virtual memory is in use at any given time.  It is often close to being full as your system is, but Linux does a good job of making do with what it has (and so would Windows).

        I have a large page file on the Swift, and I have the swappiness parameter set very high, so that it will try to swap things out to the page file at the earliest opportunity.  This is relatively fast since I have a SSD that is as fast as possible with the SATA 3 connection, but it’s still slower than it would be if swapping weren’t necessary.  More physical RAM is always preferred if it is feasible.

        A lot of people in the Linux go the other way and try to prevent the PC from swapping.  That’s wrong-headed, IMO– I want it to swap things out as early as possible to free up the memory for whatever program I am actively using at the moment.  I’ve run my VM performing tasks like attempting a Windows 10 upgrade of a Windows 7 VM as a test at the same time I am watching online videos with the Swift, and it works fine, even with 4GB.

        I think the people who are trying to prevent swapping have confused swapping with thrashing.  Swapping (or, more correctly, paging, but the term swapping is in common use) is usually fairly transparent to the user when the system is under low memory pressure (in other words, not close to an emergency).  Thrashing happens when memory pressure is high, when all physical RAM is full and the system can’t find anything that can be swapped out to the pagefile (or the pagefile is full).  It slows the system to a crawl, and in Windows, can cause the system to hang.  Linux will kill processes to reduce the memory pressure to prevent locking up.

        The people who prevent the system from swapping until it is under high memory pressure end up making thrashing more likely, not less.  But I digress (frequently!).

        It’s slower than it would be if I had more RAM, and I would add more to the Swift if I could.  Just don’t be too concerned about the memory being almost full.  It’s not a good indicator of whether you need more RAM.  In 2020, though, 4GB is not really enough if you can do something about it.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.4).

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        • #2136405 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Reply to Ascaris:

          Good morning and thanks for the reply! As always – you have a wealth of information!

          It very well might be faster with more RAM, and I would recommend it, but a word of caution: Modern operating systems are meant to keep the RAM fairly full at all times. It’s a resource that’s wasted if it’s just empty, so Windows and Linux alike will attempt to keep it as full as possible until the RAM is needed for something, like running a new program. The PC can discard cached data and assign that RAM to a program as quickly as it could assign empty RAM, so why not use it until then?

          So – the high usage is not as much of a concern as I had thought? On the Windows 7 side, things are really so slow, so I am hoping that the RAM upgrade might help. I guess it is more than just the resources being used – also the number of things actually running? Win 7 is really almost unbearably slow now – taking ages to boot up and run. In fact – earlier in the week I just gave up and am using Linux – though I do want to try to keep Win 7 viable.

          I think the people who are trying to prevent swapping have confused swapping with thrashing. Swapping (or, more correctly, paging, but the term swapping is in common use) is usually fairly transparent to the user when the system is under low memory pressure (in other words, not close to an emergency). Thrashing happens when memory pressure is high, when all physical RAM is full and the system can’t find anything that can be swapped out to the pagefile (or the pagefile is full). It slows the system to a crawl, and in Windows, can cause the system to hang. Linux will kill processes to reduce the memory pressure to prevent locking up.

          The people who prevent the system from swapping until it is under high memory pressure end up making thrashing more likely, not less.

          OK – that really helps to explain things. I have read that in Mint, the swappiness needs to be decreased – but if I do add the additional RAM, that might not be a factor, it seems. And as you say, maybe it isn’t swapping anyway.

          In 2020, though, 4GB is not really enough if you can do something about it.

          Indeed – if I can figure out that single vs double rank thing, I’m going to go ahead and give it a try – Crucial will take it back if things don’t work out, though the YouTubes I’ve watched on adding RAM to this laptop seem simple enough.

          Thanks again for the very helpful info!

          • #2136601 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            OK – that really helps to explain things. I have read that in Mint, the swappiness needs to be decreased – but if I do add the additional RAM, that might not be a factor, it seems.

            I’ve seen those suggestions across the web too.  The default swappiness is 60 on Ubuntu and derivatives, and I changed that to 100 on my Swift (reported by those same pages as the maximum).  It didn’t slow it down a bit, and it is able to handle more than people would suspect that a 4GB PC should.  Virtual machines, browser with a lot of tabs, video players, all running at the same time, and other stuff like that.  It swaps very little even with the swappiness at 100 when there is not much memory pressure, so when RAM is not an issue, it’s not hurting performance by swapping.  When the RAM pressure grows, it doesn’t wait until a near emergency situation to begin swapping, at which time it may be too late to avoid thrashing.

            I haven’t changed the swappiness on my two 16GB machines, though, as they have enough memory to make virtual memory much more trivial.  It’s kind of funny that some of the sites specifically single out the PCs that can benefit from swapping (those without a lot of RAM) as needing to prevent swapping.  These are the ones that need it the most!

            Despite this relatively glowing report as to the effectiveness of swapping aggressively, it’s still better to avoid it if you can… not by telling the system to avoid swapping until the last minute, but by putting in enough RAM so that it doesn’t need to.  Putting the swap on a SSD makes it much faster, but it’s still far slower than having actual memory instead of virtual memory would be.

            I’ve also seen some people suggest not putting the swap file on a SSD, since the swap file can be a source of a lot of drive writes, and SSDs have a limited number of writes they can handle.  That’s true, but most SSDs have sufficiently high write endurance to be able to handle swap file duty for years and years, and probably beyond the point where the drive (or the computer it is installed in) is obsolete.

            The performance increase from having the swap on the SSD is one reason my Swift’s current configuration works so well.  It’s not as good as if the swap was on a NVMe SSD (as it is on my Dell G3), as this laptop does not have NVMe capability, but it’s still much better than a traditional hard drive.  It’s not the peak throughput that gives you the full story, though!

            A decent hard drive can achieve 150 MB/s transfer rate, while the fastest SATA SSDs can do 550 MB/s.  That’s ~3.7 times the HD speed, but the amount of time that a drive spends in sequential read bursts is pretty small.  More often, it’s reading or writing lots of small bits of data.  That use case is approximated by the 4k block random read/write (multiple queue depth) benchmark you see on CrystalDiskMark and other similar programs.  A traditional laptop hard drive (a rust spinner) can do perhaps ~0.35 MB/sec on these tests, but a SATA SSD can reach speeds of 100 times that (35 MB/s) or more.  That’s where the real seat of the pants speed increase comes from, including with the swap file.

             

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.4).

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        • #2136509 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris: “Thrashing happens when memory pressure is high, when all physical RAM is full and the system can’t find anything that can be swapped out to the pagefile (or the pagefile is full).

          Quite right, thanks for pointing up the difference between this and normal swapping.

          If the PC’s RAM were its heart, swapping would be like its normal beat, “trashing” would be like a serious case of arrhythmia.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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      • #2135699 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Good morning everyone and thanks so much for all of the input! Much appreciated!

        I will read through all of this carefully and get back to everyone – a bit of a snowstorm slowing me down this morning LOL!

        Thanks again!

        LH

      • #2136348 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Again, thanks everyone for all of the input! I still have a few responses to specific suggestions, but wanted to ask on additional question about the type of RAM I’d need. I have pretty much decided adding RAM is the way to go, but in checking in the actual type, I’ve run into another question (only one??).

        I used the RAM finder tool at Crucial.com to see what would be compatible with what I now have, and came up with 2 different 4gb RAM sticks – one being something called single rank and one double rank. New to me, so I posted a question over in the Lenovo forum and a rep there gave me a list of compatible RAM for my laptop (none were Crucial) and said that what I now have is double rank?

        So – my question – what does that mean, and does it matter which one I’d get for the additional RAM?

        Thanks again for all of the input – as always, everyone here is great and so willing to share information! 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2136347 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Something that is often overlooked is the quality of a laptop.  A Thinkpad x230 is built well in a way that even the most expensive current laptops have a hard time reaching.  Windows 7 will run much better if you change the main hard drive out for an SSD, and 64-bit Linux or 64-bit Win 7 will benefit during heavy use from at least 8gb.  I would prioritize the hard drive first, but the cost of 4gb is small enough that while you have the computer open you should do them both.  Once you do this, you may find you appreciate the good things about the old laptop more – its keyboard is probably better than your new laptop, it is probably more likely to survive a drop of a few inches.

        Going from 8gb to 16gb will often not make a noticeable difference, unless you use virtual machines or extreme multitasking or browser tabs.  Virtual machines are a good way to bring back old Windows XP software if you have any you want to use again.

        Installing a typical windows update, or Windows 10 feature upgrade feels much slower on a traditional hard drive than an SSD.  Doing a feature upgrade (what the big Windows 10 upgrades are sometimes called) on an SSD feels like it takes about a half hour compared to multiple hours for a hard drive.  And a normal monthly update takes a few seconds on SSD but feels like it takes 10 minutes or more on hard drive.  Full boot startup is a few seconds on SSD vs a few minutes.

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        • #2136419 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Something that is often overlooked is the quality of a laptop. A Thinkpad x230 is built well in a way that even the most expensive current laptops have a hard time reaching. Windows 7 will run much better if you change the main hard drive out for an SSD, and 64-bit Linux or 64-bit Win 7 will benefit during heavy use from at least 8gb. I would prioritize the hard drive first, but the cost of 4gb is small enough that while you have the computer open you should do them both. Once you do this, you may find you appreciate the good things about the old laptop more – its keyboard is probably better than your new laptop, it is probably more likely to survive a drop of a few inches

          Indeed – I love this laptop and you are right, I don’t like the keyboard on our new HP Win 10 laptop nearly as much. I was really happy that the nice features of the laptop – the backlit keyboard, and the Fn+F4 combo to put it to sleep both work as well in Mint as they do in Windows. And the other hardware works well, too, so I really hate to give it up for something new.

          Still not sure about the hard drive upgrade as I do run Linux from the external SSD and it is fast – but maybe down the road!

          Thanks for the reply!

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by LHiggins.
        • #2136439 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          I will echo this particular advice.

          Win 10 doesn’t really take more resources (at least RAM and CPU) than Win 7, although storage demands are higher.

          For ThinkPad of this particular vintage, it’s well-enough built that it’s got remaining life in it, and worth running Windows 10 on it.  I believe that 8 GB of RAM is the sweet spot, enough for running a browser, mail client and components of Microsoft office simultaneously. You won’t need more RAM unless you’re doing something that uses a lot of RAM, such as virtual machines.  I generally run at 16 GB, but the only time that I need more than 8 is if I have multiple VMs open.

          SSD definitely helps on performance, particular memory swapping and bootup, although doesn’t do much for more static storage. In desktop machines, it’s common enough to have two drives, where the boot partition and system (including swap space) are on an SSD drive, and other user data goes to the second drive, a traditional HD.  But that’s generally not possible with a laptop.

          Right now, 256 GB is the most common configuration for new laptops, but that makes some assumption that you have other storage (HDD, external drive, LAN or cloud) for the bulk of your storage. Watch how much you store on your primary drive, and be prepared to put out more $ for a bigger SSD.

          If you’re upgrading one thing at a time, get the RAM done first, then go for an SSD

          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2137385 Reply
          johnf
          AskWoody Lounger

          I have two older Thinkpads (X200 and X201), and upgraded them to 8 gigs of ram with a new 250 gig SSD (running between $30-$50 on Amazon). There was a massive increase in performance with Linux on one, and W10 on the other!!

          A few things to note: HP says you can only put 4 gigs of ram on these laptops, but a little research on Google showed that wasn’t true. You do need to get the proper ram, though. And I’d stay away from Firefox/Chrome, which tend to be resource hogs. I use Brave/Pale Moon instead.

          Lastly, while Mint is a great Distro, there are others that run better on low powered laptops. You might want to try out MX Linux or Linux Lite, both are beautiful and fast! And congrats on using the 230…that’s a fine laptop, and like all the early Thinkpads, built well, until the modern ones. Certainly worth keeping up!

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by johnf.
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      • #2136376 Reply
        CADesertRat
        AskWoody Plus

        Just to chime in here, just before Christmas I asked a similar question about upgrading my HP ProBook G2 that had an SSHD HDD and 8 GB dual sided SoDimms (2 sticks of 4 GB). It seemed to be getting sluggish with the W10 Updates (the laptop started as W7 Pro and I upgraded to W10 Pro in 2015).

        On Christmas day, I cloned the SSHD to an SSD and I installed the SSD and removed the previous ram and installed 16 GB sticks (2-8 GB sticks, the maximum it will take) and it made quite a difference.

        I looked up the ram on Crucial and then bought it from Amazon since it was a little cheaper there.

        Just my experience, hope it helps

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        4 Win 10 Pro at 1909 (3 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

        6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2136507 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        One other idea, in case it helps: Sometimes my computers will start getting slow when I’ve had too many browser tabs open for too long a time. They seem to eat up increasing amounts of memory the longer they’re left open, and eventually the system slows down to a crawl.

        OK – this makes a great deal of sense – thanks so much! I am notoriously bad at opening lots of browser windows and leaving them open – sometimes for several days! So – that may explain a lot of my slowness over time.

        I also decided to apply that logic to my Linux Mint set-up since I have been working in that lately. With several windows open for a while, the memory usage is fairly high , but when i close FF and Thunderbird, it drops way down, and even reopening windows doesn’t raise it back to the level it was at before the reset!

        Makes perfect sense, and thanks for the tip! 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2136510 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        And just wanted to bring up my question about single and dual rank for RAM sticks – does anyone know anything about that or how to tell what is already installed and which one should be paired with it? Or does it matter at all?

        Thanks!

      • #2136524 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Or does it matter at all?

        It does matter. You should add preferably the same RAM you have : manufacturer, speed, type..
        2x4GB are better then 1x8GB.

        HWInfo will display RAM characteristics. Or, go to http://www.crucial.com and use its system scanner. The site will also recommend compatible RAM and SSD.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by Alex5723.
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        • #2136549 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          HWInfo will display RAM characteristics. Or, go to http://www.crucial.com and use its system scanner. The site will also recommend compatible RAM and SSD.

          Thanks – I did think it mattered, but at Crucial, it gave me quite a few that they say are compatible – both single rank and double, and I also posted a question at the Lenovo forum, and they gave me a list of many compatible ones – and they said all of them were double rank. Confusing, since Crucial also told me though their chat that I should use single if I don’t know which I currently have.

          I’ll run your HWInfo and see what I get from that! Thanks so much!

          • #2137106 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            I’m with @Alex5723: match the memory that you have. Look at the label on the memory that you now have, and order the exact same memory from Ebay or Amazon. In this way, you won’t have any doubt about whether it is the right kind.

            There are a lot of facts and figures that you have to consider when deciding if memory is correct for your computer; even after considering everything, you still might get it wrong. Ordering exactly what you currently have is the easiest way to get it right.

            Take a picture of the label on the memory with your phone. You can then read the label at your leisure, without having to continually handle the memory.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            3 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2137142 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks! Good tip to take a picture of it. I’ll need to open the laptop up and see what is there.

              Maybe it would be easier just to buy a pair so I’d know that they are matched – LOL!

              Lenovo had given me a list of compatible RAM – hopefully what I have is on that list since it is an older laptop.

              Thanks for the help.

              • #2137206 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                I have taken pictures of every label in my life: there are four or five labels on my lawn mower, about four on my car, etc etc. When I buy something, I take pictures of the box, so that I will be able to see the information years later when the box is long gone.

                Whenever I am at the computer researching how to repair something, I can conveniently look at the labels and other information I have scanned or taken pictures of, because it’s all on my hard drive!

                As for buying memory for your computer: My computer has two memory slots, and it came with a 4GB stick in one of the slots. After doing some research, I found that I could put a memory stick in the other slot which had a different capacity than 4GB – in other words, the two sticks didn’t have to match in size. I bought an 8GB stick that was otherwise an exact match for the 4GB stick, and now I have 12GB of RAM, a very nice amount. Because I was able to put different sizes, I didn’t have to make the difficult choice of either limiting my computer to 8GB or throwing away the 4GB stick.

                As I said, 12GB is a nice amount – I run Windows 8.1 32-bit in a virtual machine, with Linux Mint 64-bit as the host OS. I allocated 4GB to the VM, which is a bit over the max for 32-bit Windows, which means I have 8GB left over for Linux. Everything is fast now, because there is plenty of memory for everything.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
                6 users thanked author for this post.
              • #2137444 Reply
                wavy
                AskWoody Plus

                Jim for what ever its worth (maybe nothing) would not the 4 and 8 disallow dual channel memory usage??

                I like the idea of pictures of the labels, need to be labeled and categorized of course. I am a bit anal over that I still have the papers for my Atari 1040ST from 1986 tucked amongst many others.

                Ya neva no

                🍻

                Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
                2 users thanked author for this post.
              • #2142346 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                Jim for what ever its worth (maybe nothing) would not the 4 and 8 disallow dual channel memory usage??

                I don’t know the answer to that question. My point is that if she can use a 4 and an 8 together, she will get a very respectable amount of RAM (12 GB) at a cheap price.

                I still have the papers for my Atari 1040ST from 1986 tucked amongst many others.

                My first computer was the Atari 1040ST. I hated the instances when you had to know some DOS-like commands and syntax – it wasn’t fully GUI, and those instances weren’t well documented.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              • #2152899 Reply
                wavy
                AskWoody Plus

                Thinking back on those days, I wish I had bought a modem for that Atari. Heck a hard drive would have been great too!! 🤣

                It had a WHOLE MEGABYTE of memory !!!🤗

                🍻

                Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
              • #2137523 Reply
                LHiggins
                AskWoody Plus

                Take a picture of the label on the memory with your phone. You can then read the label at your leisure, without having to continually handle the memory.

                OK – I did that:

                IMG_20200209_171000879-1

                And I found that exact one at Amazon, but when I emailed the seller – he replied by suggesting a different one! So – should I keep looking to find the exact one as pictured, and what matches with the HWInfo scan – or can a compatible one work?

                Sorry for the many questions – all new to me!

                Thanks so much!!

                Attachments:
              • #2139719 Reply
                MrJimPhelps
                AskWoody_MVP

                The one you currently have appears to be a match for the one you linked to at Amazon. However, since the one on Amazon doesn’t show the label, I wouldn’t buy it, because you can’t be sure if you can’t see the label.

                Here’s an exact match for what you currently have, on Ebay:
                https://www.ebay.com/itm/Micron-4GB-2RX8-PC3L-12800S-Laptop-Ram-MT16KTF51264HZ-1G6M1-TESTED-FAST-SHIP-USA/124081317847?epid=141719665&hash=item1ce3d2a7d7%3Ag%3A-%7EwAAOSwi5VeRCuq&LH_BIN=1

                $10.00 + $3.00 shipping

                This is the one I would buy if I were you.

                Group "L" (Linux Mint)
                with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
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              • #2140007 Reply
                LHiggins
                AskWoody Plus

                Thanks so much for researching and finding that RAM at Ebay. I’ll take a look! Thanks for your help – will post back once I have the new RAM installed and running.

                Also – just to add, I have switched back into Mint – much easier on my whole system. I’ve been keeping track and FF/Gmail do add to the usage – but so far it has been running around 50% or so. Much better than in Windows!

                 

                • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
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      • #2137092 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        Took about 5 minutes to full boot. Right now, with 2 tabs open in Firefox, it is using about 80% of my memory in the system monitor. CPU around 5%.

        That 80% of memory being used so soon after a reboot is a red flag for me. We need to find out what is consuming your memory. Do I have it right that Firefox, with just two tabs open, is taking up so much of your RAM? The 75-85% level of RAM usage is about when my computers start getting slow like molasses.

        With Task Manager open, try refreshing (F5 key) each of the Firefox tabs in turn, checking the RAM usage before refreshing the next tab. Does the usage go down?

         

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Cybertooth.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2137107 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Yep – you have it right. Before I opened FF it was about 45-50%. As soon as I opened it – with those 2 tabs, it went to 77-79%. As I refreshed, it went to 82-84% right away. Currently at 82% – 2% CPU. Definitely something up with FF.

          I am running FF 72.0.2 64 bit – says it is up to date.

          I had been running Opera, but changed over to FF after the warning here about Opera last week.

          Thanks for any ideas!

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          • #2137121 Reply
            Cybertooth
            AskWoody Plus

            Thanks for the new info.

            You wrote that RAM usage was 77-79%, and that “as I refreshed, it went to 82-84% right away.” Does this mean, then, that refreshing the FF tabs made the RAM usage go up?

            The other questions would be what is taking up the 45-50% of RAM that you reported was already being used before opening FF, and whether that’s always happening or fluctuates to a low level and then comes back up. Unless it presents privacy issues, how about posting a screenshot of your Task Manager, with the items sorted by RAM (“Working Set”).

             

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            • #2137138 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Does this mean, then, that refreshing the FF tabs made the RAM usage go up?

              Yes – that is what happens. I wonder – might it have anything to do with me syncing FF? I thought that if I synced it, I could keep it current between Windows and Mint. It seemed to work fine – kept bookmarks synced, but maybe that process is adding to the usage.

              Unless it presents privacy issues, how about posting a screenshot of your Task Manager, with the items sorted by RAM (“Working Set”).

              Sure – maybe you can see something there. Hope I’m posting the right thing – it is Processes and there is quite a bit of overlap:

              Processes-1
              Processes-2

              Thanks!

              Attachments:
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              • #2137156 Reply
                Cybertooth
                AskWoody Plus

                Hmmm, Firefox does seem to be the main culprit here.There are a lot of FF processes open for just two tabs. I don’t have any experience with FF sync but what you said sounds plausible. Can you try turning sync off (and maybe closing, then restarting FF) to see how many of these FF processes remain in Task Manager?

                There is one more possibility to consider: when you opened Task Manager, did you happen to notice, down on the left, whether it’s showing “processes from all users”? If it is not, then there will be a button to click on to make it so; and if it is already set, then it will show you a checked box saying so.

                Verify that that little box is showing and has a check mark in it. The reason for this is to make sure that there aren’t any “hidden” system processes that, like Firefox, are claiming significant amounts of RAM.

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              • #2137167 Reply
                LHiggins
                AskWoody Plus

                Can you try turning sync off (and maybe closing, then restarting FF) to see how many of these FF processes remain in Task Manager?

                I’ll take a look and see how to do that. Seems like it could be a factor.

                ETA – Nope – that didn’t do it! I turned off sync, and it went UP to about 91%! So I restarted Firefox and it is now at 78% with the same 2 tabs. One is Gmail, and the other Ask Woody. When I shut FF doen, it seemed to take a little while for it to actually disappear from the process list – greyed out, but still there. I waited till  it finally disappeared before restarting it.

                A puzzle it seems…

                As to the Processes from all users – it was not checked, so when I did check it, quit ea few more were added. Still seems like FF is the culprit – here are some more screenshots:

                Processes-3

                Processes-4
                Processes-5
                Processes-6

                And just to add – FF is also really slow – takes a long time to move from page to page – if that means anything.

                Thanks for taking another look!

                • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
                • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
                • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
                Attachments:
              • #2137176 Reply
                Ascaris
                AskWoody_MVP

                In the lower left of the Task Manager window, there should be a button marked “Show processes from all users.”  Please press that and post another screenshot.

                Having 50% RAM used right after boot is not normal.  It is normal for the OS to use the RAM to its advantage as you use the system rather than try to keep as much free as possible, but when you first boot, it hasn’t had a chance to do that yet, so what you are seeing is the baseline RAM consumption of the system in question.  Nothing shown in your screenshot would explain that 50% or so RAM usage, but it may be revealed in one of the system processes after you push the button.

                I just started my Windows 7 VM, which is assigned 3.5 GiB of RAM, and at first boot, it shows ~885 MB used.  That’s ~24% full.  Something is using up way more than that 24% on your system.

                I started Firefox in the VM, loaded a few tabs, and it’s using less than half what yours is, but it’s a very basic Firefox installation, and I don’t know how you have yours set up, or how RAM intensive the sites you synced may be.

                When Firefox starts with an existing session (tabs it has to load at start vs. just starting fresh), it doesn’t load the tabs right away… it waits until you select them to load them, and as the pages load, the RAM usage will increase until the page has fully loaded (including all of the junk you may not want, like ads, trackers, and analytics scripts).  This could be what’s happening as far as it increasing RAM when you refresh it.  It should increase only to a point and stay relatively constant… if it keeps increasing, that suggests a memory leak.  That would represent a bug in software somewhere, not a hardware issue.

                Have you verified that in the Task Manager it is actually reporting 4 GB of RAM is in use?  If you actually had less RAM available than you thought, that could explain this.

                 

                Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.4).

                • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Ascaris.
                2 users thanked author for this post.
              • #2137406 Reply
                LHiggins
                AskWoody Plus

                Have you verified that in the Task Manager it is actually reporting 4 GB of RAM is in use? If you actually had less RAM available than you thought, that could explain this.

                OK – as to the amount of RAM – right now my Task Manager shows this:

                TM

                And Resource manager shows this:

                RM

                Not that I understand it completely, but it seems that adding up all of the numbers is approximating 4GB – or am I not reading it right?

                Thanks!

                Attachments:
              • #2137529 Reply
                Ascaris
                AskWoody_MVP

                Not that I understand it completely, but it seems that adding up all of the numbers is approximating 4GB – or am I not reading it right?

                You are reading it right.  After the integrated video takes out its bit, and whatever other reserved bits there may be, 3.7 GB is typical.  It’s about what my 4GB Swift has available too.

                Something is wrong here.  A 5 minute boot time is excessive, even on a hard drive, and 50% RAM use right after boot is higher than it should be.  Firefox is using a lot of RAM too, but even if it wasn’t, having half of your 3.7 remaining GB used up at boot is high.

                I see that you’re disabling unnecessary programs/services from loading at start, and that’s a good idea.  I’d also suggest the usual Windows things, like performing an error check on the drive, checking for fragmentation, doing a full malware scan (maybe one with a different program than you usually use… just don’t enable two of them with real-time protection at the same time).

                More RAM will probably help a lot, since the memory is half full before you even do anything, but I’d look into that too.  Fix the problem AND get more RAM!  If it’s only $25, that’s a good deal for the performance boost you will get.

                Your Lenovo laptop is an Ivy Bridge, which is several generations old, but it’s still newer than my “main” PC, a Sandy Bridge desktop, and I’ve got no plans to upgrade it at present.  The PC I am using now, my Acer Swift, is newish (I am thinking I’ve had it for ~1.5 years; I bought it new) and is still listed as a current model on the Acer site, but it is a lower-end model, so despite its newness, it’s still it’s considerably slower than what you have.  I still like it a lot and use it daily (I am using it to write this now, despite having my two faster PCs at the ready… I switch around a lot, using whichever one fits the best at the moment, and for now, I feel like typing with the laptop actually on top of my lap).

                I’d go for the upgrade if it were mine, as well as the replacement battery.  I like old gear that is still useful!  I used my Core 2 Duo Asus F8 laptop (which I upgraded to 8 GB a couple of years ago) for more than ten years, and it still works nicely, though its role has been taken by the Swift.  I have more PCs than I know what to do with… several of them quite old.

                Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.4).

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              • #2137859 Reply
                LHiggins
                AskWoody Plus

                Thanks for the reply!

                Something is wrong here. A 5 minute boot time is excessive, even on a hard drive, and 50% RAM use right after boot is higher than it should be. Firefox is using a lot of RAM too, but even if it wasn’t, having half of your 3.7 remaining GB used up at boot is high.

                I agree – but figuring it out is the challenge, it seems. I tried to test using different browsers, and while FF was the highest usage, Opera and Chrome also ran in the mid-upper 70% range as well, so it seems there is something about the browsers that is throwing really high usage. Right now in FF it is at 89%, so definitely an issue!

                I’d also suggest the usual Windows things, like performing an error check on the drive, checking for fragmentation, doing a full malware scan (maybe one with a different program than you usually use… just don’t enable two of them with real-time protection at the same time).

                I can’t say that I recall ever actually doing an error check or defrag on this drive, so maybe I should look into both of those. I guess I thought that a reboot would “let go” of whatever usage has been piling up, but maybe not.

                As to malware scan – I run MBAE – the free version, so while it does monitor for Malware, there’s no way to initiate a scan there. I had been using the paid version, but thought that was what was causing the high usage issue, so I got a refund for that and uninstalled it. Maybe there are fragments somewhere? Can you recommend another free one that I could try for a scan?

                I also use Norton Security – and it has been reporting both blocking unauthorized access instances, and high usage by FF.

                I’ve been trying to remember just when I noticed this high usage issue – but I have been switching back and forth between Windows and Linux, and since Windows it much slower than Mint anyway, I think I was chalking it up to “just Windows” and not really paying close attention to the actual usage until lately. My CPU usage is low, so I was looking more at that till I started seeing these high memory usage numbers.

                More RAM will probably help a lot, since the memory is half full before you even do anything, but I’d look into that too. Fix the problem AND get more RAM! If it’s only $25, that’s a good deal for the performance boost you will get.

                Yes, I think that it the way to go – no matter what this issue is. Just a case of being sure the RAM is correct, and it should help in any case.

                I’d go for the upgrade if it were mine, as well as the replacement battery. I like old gear that is still useful!

                I’ve already gotten the battery – so “just” a matter of the RAM. As a few folks here have said – these older machines are still worth fiddling with, and I do love this laptop for sure!

                But, I am thinking that I’m going to boot back into Mint since it is much faster and easier on my patience at this point, which I figure out the RAM.

                Thanks for the help and suggestions!

      • #2137197 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        Nothing shown in your screenshot would explain that 50% or so RAM usage, but it may be revealed in one of the system processes after you push the button.

        The screenshots by @lhiggins show the “System” processes, so it looks like the “all users” box is indeed checked. This is one of the great mysteries of Windows for me: The total RAM used by the processes listed in Task Manager seldom adds up to the amount of RAM that the percentage used would suggest, relative to the amount of installed RAM. There is usually (always?) some considerable proportion that cannot be accounted for, at least not by means that I am aware of.

         

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      • #2137305 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        And just wanted to bring up my question about single and dual rank for RAM sticks

        If your existing RAM is dual ranked you need another dual ranked.
        If you aren’t sure, buy a pair of 4GB dual ranked to get you to 8GB.

        Don’t worry about what is using lots of memory until after the upgrade. You may find it is no longer an issue.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2137388 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Don’t worry about what is using lots of memory until after the upgrade. You may find it is no longer an issue.

          Thanks Paul! I do think things will run better after the RAM upgrade, but it gets pretty frustrating when Firefox, as it seems, is using so many resources that things low to a crawl. I’ll take a look later on today to see if I can determine what is already in there to match it – or look into adding 2 RAM sticks.

          Thanks for the help! Much appreciated!

      • #2137397 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        OK – somewhat of an update that might answer a few questions. I followed Alex5723’s advice and downloaded HWInfo. The summary is below, but seems to indicate that I have a single channel RAM stick, which is a Micron, and is DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM SODIMM. But doesn’t specify single or double rank.

        Look at the label on the memory that you now have, and order the exact same memory from Ebay or Amazon.

        Guess I’ll search for the Micron number and see if I can find it.

        In any case – this gives me some info on where to start.

        HWInfo

        Attachments:
      • #2137686 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        But doesn’t specify single or double rank

        According to this site it’s dual ranked.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2137718 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        I know you have spoken of upgrading to a total of 8GB of RAM. However, if you can go higher than that, I suggest that you do. You may be able to go up to a maximum of 16GB or even 32GB. I suggest that you go up to at least 16GB if your machine will take it, because if you do, you will likely never have memory issues again.

        Of course, you should only do this if you have 64-bit Windows (or 64-bit Linux), because 32-bit Windows won’t be able to utilize the extra memory. My hope is that you have 64-bit Windows, because if you do, it can use a huge amount of memory.

        Please check out the following link – it tells you the maximum amount of memory you can have for each version of Windows. Make sure that you can use the memory before buying it.

        Maximum addressable memory under the current operating systems

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2137791 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          I know you have spoken of upgrading to a total of 8GB of RAM. However, if you can go higher than that, I suggest that you do. You may be able to go up to a maximum of 16GB or even 32GB. I suggest that you go up to at least 16GB if your machine will take it, because if you do, you will likely never have memory issues again. Of course, you should only do this if you have 64-bit Windows (or 64-bit Linux), because 32-bit Windows won’t be able to utilize the extra memory. My hope is that you have 64-bit Windows, because if you do, it can use a huge amount of memory.

          Yes – I think that 8gb will be enough. I have Windows Home Premium – 64-bit, and my Linux is also 64-bit, so it can take up to 16gb. But I’m not sure that I can add 12gb in the empty slot. I know you had mentioned above that you could do that with one of your computes, but in my case – don’t they need to be matched? to add more, I’d probably need to address both slots, right?

          In any case – thanks for the suggestion – still mulling it all over – LOL!

           

          • #2137908 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            Some computers allow a mismatch on the memory size – e.g. an 8GB stick and a 4GB stick working together in the same machine, resulting in a total of 12GB of RAM. My machine allows that.

            However, other computers require that you put an exact match on size when there are two sticks.

            You’ll need to research what your computer will allow.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2137920 Reply
            PKCano
            Da Boss

            If your computer is capable of dual channel, I believe the two sticks have to be a matching pair to take advantage of it. I have always matched the two sticks.

            4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2137780 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I only have 8GB and there is no sign of running out, despite loads of browser tabs, the odd virtual machine and a few other things.

        Capture

        cheers, Paul

        Attachments:
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2137785 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          According to this site it’s dual ranked.

          Thanks for the link to the rank info – much appreciated! So that question is answered!

          Now I just need to track down the matching one. As I had noted above – I did take a picture of the stick and thought I had found it at Amazon, but one seller answered my inquiry with a different brand that had the same specs. How critical is that if it has the same specs, but not the same brand?

          I only have 8GB and there is no sign of running out, despite loads of browser tabs, the odd virtual machine and a few other things.

          I’m thinking that 8gb is enough – though this laptop can take up to 16gb.

          Thanks again!

           

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by LHiggins.
          • #2137912 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            If the specs are exactly the same, then you shouldn’t have any problem with two different brands of memory.

            And yes, although more is always better, 8GB should be enough in your situation.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2137885 Reply
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        FWIW, I have a 2011 vintage Dell Latitude E5420 with 8GB RAM in two matched sticks.  I have had the swap file disabled for years, and I don’t have any RAM issues.  I first disabled the swap file just to see if it would affect my laptop’s performance (I used it for work before I retired), knowing that it would be a simple matter to re-enable it.  It never had a noticeable affect on performance, and I have never seen the need to re-enabled it.

        As for increasing RAM, I have never just added a stick.  I always replace whatever is there with a matched set of whatever total amount I want.  In a matched set, ALL the various timings will be identical.  I have 16GB in my desktop, and 32GB in my NAS.  My Latitude is maxed out at 8GB, as is my NAS at 32GB.  I could increase my desktop to 32GB, but haven’t seen the need.

        My advice boils down to replacing your 4GB stick with a matched pair to get 8GB, and not to add a stick of RAM.  It’s a bit more expensive, but it pretty much error free.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

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      • #2138015 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        My advice boils down to replacing your 4GB stick with a matched pair

        If money is tight, buy one from a reputable dealer and if you have issues, a second from the same source is easy.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2138026 Reply
        Microfix
        Da Boss

        If money isn’t tight at this point, I’d seriously consider upping the anti to 2x8Gb matching pair sticks of ram (if your device accepts 16Gb Ram).  An underlying problem that may occur when adding ram to systems (specifically dual channel) is, that the existing ram stick may die sooner, and the newer one lives on but, hey that could happen to any system.

        Even if it costs a little extra, it’s well worth it long-term and these usually come with warranty from crucial.com who I’ve used for eons and never had an issue with them or their product.

        I used to have one of the first dual channel memory enabled motherboards an asus a7n8x with an AMD Barton CPU and the motherboard died before the memory did with crucial memory many, many years later.

        Win7 Pro x86/x64 | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 |
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2138027 Reply
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        I have always used matched pairs of memory sticks. It gives a better chance that the latency and timings are exactly the same. and hopefully they have been factory tested together.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2138367 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Good morning and thanks everyone for all of the useful information on sorting out this RAM situation. I still haven’t quite made a decision as I can see the wisdom in adding more RAM and in adding a matched pair of RAM sticks, but I also have been evaluating whether I need more than 8gb, and if I can find one that will work with the one I have. As well, I am balancing the cost against the age of this laptop…as much as I love it, and plan to use it for some time to come.

        As Paul suggested,

        buy one from a reputable dealer and if you have issues, a second from the same source is easy.

        But in the meanwhile I wanted to also ask – once I do something with the RAM, how should I go about checking to make sure it is all running properly? Besides the (anticipated) drop in the % of memory used, are there other places I should look within my system to verify that the RAM is correct and is working as it should?

        Thanks again to everyone for all of the help! As always – very much appreciated!

        • #2138420 Reply
          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Plus

          You may want to check your RAM with MemTest86. In your situation I might do this, not only once the new memory is installed, but even now with the current RAM stick in place, to make sure that it’s working properly (which might affect your decision of how much new RAM to buy).

           

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2138458 Reply
            LHiggins
            AskWoody Plus

            You may want to check your RAM with MemTest86. In your situation I might do this, not only once the new memory is installed, but even now with the current RAM stick in place, to make sure that it’s working properly (which might affect your decision of how much new RAM to buy).

            Good idea – thanks! I didn’t download MemTest86 yet, but did run the Windows memory checker tool and it showed no errors or any issues. I will check with MemTest later on, too!

            Thanks!

      • #2138371 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Once it’s been running for a day or two, check the Event Viewer for errors. Apart from that we expect a performance report.  🙂

        Don’t forget to backup before changing the RAM.

        cheers, Paul

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2138386 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks! Will do! I’ll be glad when I get it all set since I am getting tired of obsessing about that RAM usage! Right now at 81% with just 2 FF tabs open. Driving me a bit crazy – LOL!

      • #2138456 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I hope your memory upgrade is successful, and I do recommend either 8gb or 16gb total, but your memory usage with Firefox does not sound normal with just two tabs open.

        If after the memory upgrade Firefox is still slow, come back to discuss a list of your extensions so suggestions of ones to try disabling can be made.  Or visit support forums for Firefox like  https://support.mozilla.org

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2138465 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          I hope your memory upgrade is successful, and I do recommend either 8gb or 16gb total, but your memory usage with Firefox does not sound normal with just two tabs open. If after the memory upgrade Firefox is still slow, come back to discuss a list of your extensions so suggestions of ones to try disabling can be made. Or visit support forums for Firefox

          Yes, fingers crossed it goes well. And I agree – FF is not normal!

          I did disable all of my extensions except for the Norton Safe Web – which I think I probably need in this Post Win 7 world – and I haven’t noticed much difference. I didn’t have many anyway – but disabling them hasn’t really helped much. I also changed the FF performance options to limit content processes to just 1 – again, little difference.

          But just curious – how much memory should 2-3 open tabs of FF actually take?

          Thanks!

          • #2138480 Reply
            Microfix
            Da Boss

            @LHiggins, In the meantime, you can monitor Firefox performance by opening a new tab then insert about:performance in the address bar. Switch back to your regular two tabs and browse away and occasionally check the about:performance tab every now and again to establish what’s eating your Ram.

            Win7 Pro x86/x64 | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 |
            3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2138492 Reply
            Cybertooth
            AskWoody Plus

            I can think of two things to consider here.

            One is that your RAM may be getting eaten up by Web ads if you’re not using an ad blocker.

            The other thing is that, as I recall, one of your open tabs is to your e-mail, and maybe something about those e-mails is taking up a lot of memory. I don’t do online e-mail (I use Outlook or Thunderbird clients), so I don’t know if they automatically load the contents of one’s e-mails onto memory. What happens to Firefox’s RAM usage if you close it and then reopen it to two low-content tabs, such as the Startpage and Google search pages?

             

            • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Cybertooth. Reason: typo
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2138718 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              OK – I think maybe you are on to something here as far as the Gmail:

              The other thing is that, as I recall, one of your open tabs is to your e-mail, and maybe something about those e-mails is taking up a lot of memory. I don’t do online e-mail (I use Outlook or Thunderbird clients), so I don’t know if they automatically load the contents of one’s e-mails onto memory. What happens to Firefox’s RAM usage if you close it and then reopen it to two low-content tabs, such as the Startpage and Google search pages?

              According to my Resource Monitor, when I close the Gmail tab (or tabs), the usage drops down to about 72% with just this AskWoody page and a generic search page open. If I open Gmail, it can rocket up to 84% and above. So it seems that Gmail does seem to have something to do with it. I use Windows Live Mail, but have Gmail set up to poll my local email account as well – my thinking was that it would be a way keep my mail “synchronized” between Windows and Linux – but it seems that the usage hit – at least till I add RAM – is maybe part of what is causing the high usage.

              In the meantime, you can monitor Firefox performance by opening a new tab then insert about:performance in the address bar. Switch back to your regular two tabs and browse away and occasionally check the about:performance tab every now and again to establish what’s eating your Ram.

              This tip – thanks Microfix – also bears that out – showing that one Gmail page uses 150-160 MB when it first loads, but then drops down. I’ll need to monitor it to see if it goes up when it polls for new mail. The other running tabs only take 15-30 MB each, so not much is used. However, even with 4 tabs open to sites I usually visit, the memory used is about 150-160 MB total. The Resource Monitor usage is 76-77%.

              So, while it looks like FF isn’t really using a lot in the about:performance tab – whenever it is running, the usage does shoot up – and the Resource Monitor shows many instances of FF – and that number doesn’t match the number of tabs.

              One is that your RAM may be getting eaten up by Web ads if you’re not using an ad blocker.

              What Ad Blocker would anyone recommend?

              I think I may work in Opera a bit to compare – I was using Opera till I had read of the concerns about it here a couple of weeks back. I’ll also reboot into Mint and see how things look on that side as well.

              Thanks for giving me a few more troubleshooting ideas!

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2138484 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        With 2 simple tabs I am using 500mb of memory.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2138549 Reply
          EP
          AskWoody_MVP

          assuming you are running recent versions of Firefox like 72, 73 or 68.x ESR
          very old versions of FF take less than 500Mb of RAM

          FF 68.5 ESR on an old Dell 2007 laptop with 2 tabs open that I’m using is currently using 250Mb of RAM

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by EP.
          • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by EP.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2138513 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        how much memory should 2-3 open tabs of FF actually take?

        Chillax. When you have the RAM upgrade in we’ll revisit.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2138874 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        What Ad Blocker would anyone recommend?

        There are many good ones, but the one I use is uBlock Origin. You can find it it the Firefox add-ons repository.

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2141112 Reply
        A1ex
        AskWoody Plus

        Just scanning through this topic I noticed you are using Norton Security.

        I stopped using this some years ago because it proved such a memory hog, perhaps as a quick check you could try  running with it off – you may be surprised,

        A1ex

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2141266 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Just scanning through this topic I noticed you are using Norton Security. I stopped using this some years ago because it proved such a memory hog, perhaps as a quick check you could try running with it off – you may be surprised,

          Yes, I do – and I know Norton takes up a lot of my usage, too! But without it, what would take its place? I’ve kept using it as my subscription is good through May, but after that, I was going to look into something else. I have a different AV on my Win 10 laptop – Trend I think – which does have additional licenses, so I considered switching to that.

          I don’t want to be without an AV program if I am going to keep running Win 7 – just haven’t thought that far ahead as to what might be a good replacement choice.

          Thanks for the input – I am working in Mint right now, but when I switch back to Windows, I will try turning it off and see what happens.

          Also – I did order a 4gb RAM stick, so maybe once that arrives and is installed, Norton won’t be quite the issue it is now.

          Thanks again!

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by LHiggins.
          • #2141293 Reply
            cyberSAR
            AskWoody Plus

            Over the years I’ve used many A/V programs. About 7 years ago we switched to ESET NOD32 and haven’t looked back. Low on resource usage and has cut our virus/malware issues to 0… well except for the clients that allow fake remote support in 🙂 We just use the basic A/V not internet security. Usually buy a bunch when on sale and it runs about $6 per machine/year.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2141324 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks for the tip – I will definitely look into it. It has a 30 day trial, so that’s even better.

              Will something like that, plus the Malwarebytes AntiExploit be enough protection for a Win 7 laptop?  I’m also still considering 0Patch as well.

              Thanks again!

              • #2141331 Reply
                cyberSAR
                AskWoody Plus

                I think so. We used to run ESET and MBAM together on most machines but over the last couple years we have been abandoning MBAM and haven’t had any issues. We also use ublock origin on all our clients’ machines with either Firefox or Chrome.

                Used to get a few malware issues every week but since we went to ESET we rarely get any. Maybe some of that is related to “teaching” them 🙂

                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2141338 Reply
                cyberSAR
                AskWoody Plus

                Just to add, after uninstalling Norton and rebooting, run the removal tool and reboot to get rid of the remnants of Norton https://support.eset.com/en/kb146-uninstallers-removal-tools-for-common-windows-antivirus-software#n

                • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by cyberSAR. Reason: typo
                1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2141223 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        There are many good ones, but the one I use is uBlock Origin. You can find it it the Firefox add-ons repository.

        Thanks! I’m going to give this one a try!

        Add uBlock Origin Extra.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2141238 Reply
          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          Add uBlock Origin Extra.

          uBO-Extra

          A companion extension to uBlock Origin: to gain ability to foil early anti-user mechanisms working around content blockers or even a browser privacy settings.

          The extension is useful only for Chromium-based browsers. There is no need for such an extension so far on Firefox, and thus there is no version for Firefox.

          6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2141342 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        A comment on posts https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/will-a-ram-upgrade-speed-my-computer/#post-2141324 and https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/will-a-ram-upgrade-speed-my-computer/#post-2141331 above:

        ESET does good work. I use their Online Scanner for a second opinion, and even installed their subscription product on my Kubuntu Linux machine.

         

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Cybertooth.
        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Cybertooth.
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      • #2152833 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Good morning! I’m expecting my new RAM stick this morning and just wanted to ask if these are the right steps to install it. From what I’ve seen on a few YouTubes, and at the Crucial site – is this the right order?

        Before I start – make a full backup.

        1. Turn off computer.
        2. Remove battery
        3. Press and hold power button for 5? seconds to be sure it is discharged.
        4. Remove cover – in this case, it is just where the RAM is located – 2 screws
        5. Find an unpainted metal surface to touch to discharge?
        6. Line up RAM in empty slot – hold by edges.
        7. Push down and snap into place
        8. Move metal clips on the side into place.
        9. Replace cover, battery and turn on.
        10. Keep fingers crossed that it all worked.

        Any other steps, suggestions welcome – thanks!!

      • #2152844 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        You don’t need to remove the battery or discharge the power supply.

        Hold the new RAM and touch a metal part of the laptop. The memory clip should do.

        All else is OK.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2152873 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks Paul! I’ll post back and let you know how it all goes!

          • #2153129 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Not meaning to start a war but I would do it just as you outlined. Disconnect battery and power, hold power button to discharge residual power and proceed. Just remember to discharge any static electricity on you before proceeding especially in a very dry environment.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2153200 Reply
              LHiggins
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks! The RAM arrived in the mail, so I will give this all a try tomorrow.

              Just remember to discharge any static electricity on you before proceeding especially in a very dry environment.

              So – touching any other metal will do it?

              And where I’ll be doing this is a fairly high humidity area – so no worry about dry air creating static.

              Thanks again – will let you all know how it goes.

      • #2170110 Reply
        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Just wanted to give you all an update and say thanks again for all of your help and ideas regarding my RAM upgrade. I have successfully installed the second RAM stick and so far, things seem to be running smoothly.

        I did opt for just adding 4gb – as I think the total of 8gb will be enough. The RAM was recognized right away and the resource usage issue is greatly reduced.

        The other thing is that, as I recall, one of your open tabs is to your e-mail, and maybe something about those e-mails is taking up a lot of memory.

        Yes – after watching the usage with the new RAM, it does seem that Gmail is one of the culprits – if I leave the Gmail window open, the usage does go up.

        Overall though, right now, with 5 tabs open – none Gmail, the usage is about 48% – far better than that 80-90% I was having. In Mint, it is much less – around 20-25% most of the time.

        If the specs are exactly the same, then you shouldn’t have any problem with two different brands of memory. And yes, although more is always better, 8GB should be enough in your situation.

        I did also opt for a different brand of RAM – same specs. I did look into that one at eBay that MrJimPhelps suggested (thanks again for that!), but I was worried that they did not offer returns, so I found one on Amazon that did offer returns in case. I’m posting the specs for both below, in case anyone does see something that I’m missing.

        Otherwise – it all does seem to be a good improvement and affordable as well. Again, thanks to everyone who helped me in this process!

        Original RAM:

        CPU-Z1

        Original RAM timing:

        Slot-1-timing

        New RAM:

        Slot-2-New

        New RAM timing:

        Slot-2-timing

        Attachments:
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      • #2170463 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Timings look good to me and with only 48% used I would not be changing anything.

        How does it seem to perform in normal use?

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2170656 Reply
          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Timings look good to me and with only 48% used I would not be changing anything. How does it seem to perform in normal use?

          Glad it all looks OK! It seems fine – I haven”t noticed any issues so far, so I’m hoping it is all good!

          Thanks!

      • #2174945 Reply
        aaron451
        AskWoody Plus

        I you’re going to add RAM, get enough so you can turn off the paging system. That was one item that I saw significant performance increases from.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2174963 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          If you have plenty of RAM the paging file will rarely be used so you don’t need to turn it off.

          cheers, Paul

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2176655 Reply
            satrow
            AskWoody MVP

            If you have plenty of RAM the paging file will rarely be used

            Paging very much depends on software usage, heavy MSOffice and notepad users will page out content as soon as they go into edit mode, using more of the page file than users of ‘lighter’ software. Windows will use a temp. pagefile if the default is disabled, though I don’t know if it would be used for Windows alone, + MS apps or 3rd party apps as well, I’ve found no details.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2176652 Reply
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        As you have 4 GB of memory in the machine already,  I’d suggest your first upgrade be an SSD from a major manufacturer (Samsung, HP, WD, etc.).  I’d choose one of a size that gives you plenty of headroom over the amount of space you are actually using on the machine now.  It makes little sense to put in 500 GB SSD just because the machine has a  500 GB HDD if you are only using 130 GB now.   I’ve done this on a number of PCs and laptops and the difference is amazing.

        When you see how the machine runs and what kind of memory use you have, then consider putting in more RAM.  Assuming, of course, that you do not have a 32-bit version of Windows.

        I am suspicious of the argument that it’s “time” to replace the machine solely because it’s 6 years old.   If you can spend $75 or $100 and have a machine that gets your work done without your falling asleep waiting for the mouse to move, it is just fine.

        Even then, look into an off-lease/refurbished machine from a reliable vendor, particularly one with at least a one year warranty.  Such machines are usually corporate line machines (Dell Optiplex or Lattitude, for example).  Such machines usually run as long as you give them electricity.  Unless you’re a serious gamer, video editing or the like, these machines can give you years of service.

         

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