Windows 11

Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High: Best Ways to Fix it


The problem of the hardware reserved memory being too high on Windows 11 can vary based on users’ specific hardware and usage patterns. The impact might be minimal for users with ample RAM (16GB or more), quite noticeable for users with moderate RAM (8GB)  , and crippling for users with limited RAM (4GB or less), causing various levels of performance dips.

While RAM plays a crucial role in computer performance, not all the RAM listed in your specifications is directly available for use. Windows reserves some of this memory for essential system functions. We will discuss the various ways to eliminate the re-occurrence of this problem.

What Is Hardware Reserved Memory on Windows?

Hardware Reserved Memory is a portion of your system’s RAM set aside for critical hardware functions. See it as a backstage area where the PC’s hardware components store temporary data and perform essential tasks to keep everything running smoothly.

Applications like your browser or games cannot directly access this reserved memory, but it is vital to your computer’s overall health and performance. Windows dedicates this reserved memory to various hardware components like network adapters, Bluetooth devices, sound cards, and GPUs.

Here are some reasons why hardware-reserved memory might be too high:

  • Systems with integrated graphics cards often reserve more RAM to compensate for the lack of dedicated video memory.
  • Certain motherboard or BIOS updates might temporarily increase Hardware Reserved Memory for specific hardware functions during the update process.
  • Software like Hyper-V for virtual machines reserves memory for those virtual environments, potentially impacting your available RAM.
  • Outdated or incompatible drivers for your motherboard, chipset, or graphics card can lead to inefficient memory allocation, resulting in this problem.
  • In rare cases, faulty hardware components can trigger an abnormal increase in Hardware Reserved Memory.
  • Certain BIOS settings related to memory allocation or hardware features can inadvertently impact Hardware Reserved Memory.

What do I do When Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory is Too High

1. Optimize Your PC Virtual Memory

Virtual memory acts as an extension of your physical RAM, allowing the system to handle more data when needed. However, improper settings can lead to memory woes. Modifying virtual memory settings can impact system stability. Always back up your data before proceeding.

Let’s optimize it for optimal performance!

  1. Press Windows + E to launch File Explorer, right-click This PC, and select Properties.
    Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High
  2. On the left, click the Advanced system settings link.
    Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High
  3. When the System Properties window opens, navigate to the Performance section and click Settings.
    Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High
  4. Then, switch to the Advanced tab and click Change under Virtual memory.
    Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High
  5. Afterward, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
  6. Then, choose your system drive (usually C:), select Custom size, and enter the recommended virtual memory size based on your physical RAM and reserved memory. 
  7. You can find this information in Task Manager. A general rule of thumb is 1.5 times your physical RAM.
  8. Click OK to save the changes.
    Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High

2. Update Your Device Drivers

To reduce high hardware reserved memory in Windows 11, update your device drivers. Outdated or faulty drivers cause inefficient memory usage. Updating drivers optimizes memory allocation, fixes bugs, and glitches, and ensures compatibility.

Restart your computer after updating drivers and prioritize updating the driver for the device, causing high reserved memory. Use trusted driver update tools and only download drivers from trusted sources to avoid malware risks. Updating your device drivers can lead to smoother performance and a more stable system.

3. Install 64-bit Windows OS

Windows updates can help to fix the problem if Windows 11 hardware reserved memory is too high. It does this by removing bugs with Windows updates and bug fixes. A 32-bit PC uses 3.5GB of RAM, allowing other apps to run on above 3.5 GB. Contrarily, a 64-bit system reserves much less memory.

Use the following steps to update Windows:

  1. When unsure of your OS version, Press Windows + E to launch Settings, under System, find, and click About.
  2. Then, check the System type section to see if your OS is 32 or 64-bit.
    Windows 11 Hardware Reserved Memory Too High
  3. Then, perform an update to get the current version.
  4. Select the Windows Update option on the left and click the Check for updates button to find new updates.
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  5. Then, follow the on-screen instructions step by step to install the update.
  6. Finally, restart your computer.
  7. If your system has a 32-bit OS, you may need to visit the Microsoft website to learn how to download it if it’s compatible with your PC.

4. Restore Your PC BIOS to the Default Settings

Resetting your BIOS to factory settings might fix performance woes caused by hardware-reserved memory that is too high by correcting misconfigurations, clearing overclocking tweaks, and disabling unused features that hog RAM. Back up crucial settings and consult your motherboard manual before diving in.

  1. First, restart your PC.
  2. Repeatedly press the F2 or Del key to enter the BIOS settings during booting.
  3. Once you access BIOS, open the Advanced mode.
  4. Then, find the Memory Frequency value and observe your actual frequency.
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  5. Afterward, under the Advanced section, find the XMP option and load the XMP profile.
  6. If it provides multiple choices for speed, choose the 3200MHz option, then save it and exit.

5. Perform Windows Memory Diagnostic

The Windows Memory Diagnostic tool is a built-in utility that helps to check for and diagnose RAM issues. The utility runs a series of tests on your RAM to detect errors and report them for action-taking. Sometimes, faulty RAM can be why your computer is not turning off after a shutdown.

This issue happens because the RAM may prevent the computer from completing the shutdown process properly. To run the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Search icon on the Taskbar, enter memory diagnostic, and then click on the Windows Memory Diagnostic app to launch the tool.
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  2. When the Windows Memory Diagnostic window opens, click Restart now and check for problems (recommended) to run diagnostics immediately.
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  3. Allow the tool to check for memory problems.
  4. Afterward, Windows will display the test result for you.

6. Perform Hardware Troubleshooting

Performing hardware troubleshooting can help you identify and repair problems with hardware devices, including one causing Windows 11 hardware reserved memory to be too high. To run the troubleshooter, follow these steps:

  1. Simultaneously press the Windows and S keys, type cmd, and select the Run as administrator option to launch the Command Prompt as an administrator.
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  2. Once the User Account Control prompts you, select Yes to continue.
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  3. Then enter the command below and hit Enter to launch the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter:
    msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
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  4. Select Next in the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.
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7. Scan Your PC for Virus

Windows Security, formerly known as Windows Defender, includes various features such as real-time protection, virus and threat detection, and more to protect the system against viruses or malware. This tool will fix your Windows PC if the cause is malware. Use the following steps to complete the fix:

  1. Hold the Windows + S keys down simultaneously, and type Windows Security in the search field. Then, open the Windows Security application.
  2. After opening, click on the Virus & threat protection option.
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  3. Thirdly, click Scan options to see all available scans.
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  4. On the next display, choose the Full scan option, then click Scan now to do a deep scan on your computer for viruses or malware.

While encountering high Hardware Reserved Memory in Windows 11 can be frustrating, there’s no need to panic! Implementing the methods in this guide can help you reclaim precious RAM, boost performance, and regain control over your system.

Remember, patience, attention to detail, and a bit of troubleshooting go a long way in optimizing your PC experience. So, choose the fix that best suits your situation and enjoy a smoother, more efficient Windows 11. Also, let us know which solution worked best for you in the comment section below.

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Richard Omachona
Richard is a techie in providing fixes and solutions for computer issues of various kinds. Among his contemporaries, he is a preferred choice. His experiences are vast in Windows operating systems, and several other skills in programming such as Python, Web Frontend designing implementing at industry standards, best practices in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. and basics in Web Backend. He also loves traveling, gaming and music.