For the past few days I have been using my old system (AMD 64 3000+ with 512 MB RAM). Thanks to my fairly demanding multitasking habbits my RAM usage often exceeds 95%, in the process making the system extremely sluggish. I decided to give a new product from KoshiJohn – MemoryCleaner a try. I had earlier reviewed his two other products – DiskMax (best hard disk cleaner and space recovery tool I have come across) and Neosearch (instant desktop search)and was extremely impressed by both. So I expected decent things from this new product.
I am normally extremely hesitant to try or recommend Memory Cleaners (or Memory Optimisers or RAM Defragmenters) as I have only had bad experience with them in the past. Most of them slow down the system by deleting cached data. A huge majority of them use excessive CPU and bring the system to a standstill during their cleaning operations. Koshi himself is extremely honest about the capabilities of his software. He doesn’t claim big things and attempt to deceive the user like many other manufacturers.
MemoryCleaner is a small download. Like all other KoshiJohn software once you choose to accept the EULA the installer takes over from there and does the rest. I really dislike the fact that I can not specify the install location. MemoryCleaner has two options –
i) Trim Process’ Working Set – I had no idea what this did, so I asked the developer. Here is his explanation –
A process’ working set is a collection of pages in the process’ address space that have been recently referenced. When a process is created, a working set is created with a default minimum (reserved) and maximum working set size (possible). It is possible for the application programmer to decide what the minimum and maximum working set for his process is but most leave it at default.
The working set grows (within the maximum limit) as the process starts working with more data. Windows does not shrink (not immediately) the working set when the process goes back to a state where it only requires a smaller working set.
What MemClean does is that it calls a function in the Windows process api to optimize the size of the working set by removing unused pages from it.
I suppose that this tool works much better than the rest is because it uses a Widows API to remove unused pages instead of forcing the applications into making more room.
ii) Clear the System Cache – It does what it says – it cleans up the system cache.
So does it work! Over the past few days I have found myself clicking on Trim Process’ Working Set possibly hundreds of times. Every time my Opera froze or Songbird refused to respond or Seesmic was acting weird I used that option. And like magic the system was restored to a functioning state almost instantly. Unlike other software MemoryCleaner doesn’t take a lot of time (normally less than 5 seconds) or CPU to perform its optimisation. Unfortunately MemoryCleaner doesn’t have the ability to automatically perform memory optimisation when the used ram hits a certain threshold. This is one feature I would love to see in future versions.
A somewhat similar software is CleanMem. However, CleanMem doesn’t have any GUI. Instead it schedules itself to be automatically run every 30 minutes. CleanMem also works by calling the Windows API to free up unused memory. If you would like something that requires less human intervention gives CleanMem a try. But I am using MemoryCleaner as it allows me to free up memory when I need the most i.e. when my system is becoming unresponsive.
MemoryCleaner is working wonderfully for me and I have lost count of how many times it managed to unfreeze Opera instantly. However, it is working so well because I have a small amount of RAM. If you have 1 GB or more RAM this software will probably be of no use to you (unless you are using extremely demanding software or software with crazy memory leaks). However, if you find yourself hitting the 85% Memory Usage limit often (and don’t mind having to manually clean your memory) give this freeware a try.