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  • Clfton Krahenbill (aka Prof. K)

Getting Program Memory Leaks Under Control

Updated: Jun 18


Getting Program Memory Leaks Under Control

Everyone has their favorite programs up and running at startup, but most of these are just running in the background sucking up processor time and your physical memory. Though these may be our favorites, their poor coding and memory leakage makes them resource hogs that slow down our machine’s performance.

Some of the worst offenders:

  • Skype

  • Firefox,

  • Microsoft Office

  • Any Virus protection (Symantec is the worst)

  • Dragon Speak

  • Dropbox

  • Google Drive

This tutorial is for Windows 7, 8, and 10 users.

Right click on your bottom taskbar, and from the context menu, select Start Task Manager.

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Click on the tab marked Processes.

In this example, I have identified three processes with memory leaks that I wish to reduce.

For this to happen, I’m going to use a free utility called Firemin. (https://www.rizonesoft.com/downloads/firemin/)

Firemin is designed specifically for Firefox and works using a Windows system API function called “EmptyWorkingSet.” Firmin cleans up the memory workspace of the Firefox process and frees up the memory it doesn’t need. The program sits in the background, watches memory usage and runs optimization accordingly.

Avast showed Firemin as a memory trojan, no surprise there. I disabled Avast protection, and it installed without any issue.

Firemin allows the inclusion of additional extended processes it can monitor and optimize.

In this example, I have installed Firemin, and it is set to run at startup. I double click the icon running in my taskbar to open the Firemem properties dialog box.

Though the program was designed to defeat the excessive memory leaks of Firefox, it will work with any browser. I stopped using Firefox some time back after the Mozilla Project elite destroyed most of its functionality as a browser. To get back most of that functionality and usefulness that I wanted, I switched to WaterFox which is like Firefox but without all the restrictions

I clicked on the Firemin browse button and found the executable for my Waterfox browser. I then selected the two checkboxes to enable extended processes and to have the program run at startup.

I next open the Extended Process button. Here I will enter the three processes I have identified running under my Task Manager’s Process tab as needing to be optimized. Let’s revisit those three processes.

The three processes are named:

  • natspeak.exe

  • WINWORD.EXE

  • dragonbar.exe

I add them to the list of Extended Processes I already have listed.

I click the save button and on the Firemen Properties dialog box, I click save again.

When I close the program, Task Manager reveals the memory usage for all three processes is under control.

I was most impresses with the amount of memory usage it reduced for Dropbox, Google Drive, and Skype. Since Waterfox is built using the same code as Firefox, it too was leaking a large amount of memory.

What I notice most is how much quicker my optimized programs startup and run. I’m running Windows 7 SP1 with 16GB of RAM. My system feels rejuvenated when I use it. I have searched for quite some time for a fix for the memory leakage of my three top programs, Skype, Dropbox and Google Drive.

I’ve done additional tricks to include disabling unneeded programs from running at startup using the MSCONFIG utility. I also have a 32 GB USB acting as a ReadyBoost. Once I formatted the USB to NTFS, it could use the entire USB drive as a memory cache.

For Windows 10, I remove most of the useless programs running in the background using PowerShell. Several registry hacks can help with slowness. Search the Internet on how to optimize Windows 10. Lastly, I replace the tile startup menu with a classic startup menu in the style of Windows 7. I was pleased with Windows 10 after I fixed everything.

Troubleshooting technology is like this. Sometimes it can take two days or two years to find a solution, but this is what keeps some techs gainfully employed. You don’t have to know all the answers, but you do need to know how to troubleshoot and find solutions.

Hope this helps!


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