Windows 11

Memory Leak in Windows 11: Best Ways to Fix It

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Windows 11 memory leak entails the gradual loss of available RAM due to inefficient memory management by programs or the operating system. When memory used by apps is unneeded, and apps wrongly manage and allocate the unused memory, refusing to release memory, memory leaks occur.

Programs with coding errors, outdated or incompatible drivers, and system glitches can cause this problem. Actions like running memory-intensive programs for extended periods, resuming from sleep or hibernation, and incompatible software installations or buggy updates can introduce new leaks or worsen existing ones.

How to Identify the Root Cause of Windows 11 Memory Leak

  1. Press the ctrl + shift + esc keys together to open the Task Manager.
  2. When it opens, go to the Memory tab, sort by the Memory column, and observe which processes are consuming the most RAM. 
  3. Identify any unfamiliar processes with high memory usage or processes you know that have had leak issues in the past.
    Windows 11 Memory leak

3. Use Resource Monitor

  1. Press the Windows button, search for resmon in the search field, and hit Enter.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  2. Then, access any of the tabs to monitor the system resources.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  3. Under Memory, identify the process consuming the most memory.
    Windows 11 Memory leak

How to Fix Memory Leaks in Windows 11

1. Close the File Explorer App

Closing File Explorer alone isn’t an isolated fix for Windows 11 memory leak. It might temporarily free up a small amount of RAM. This fix and other solutions, like identifying and addressing buggy programs, outdated drivers, or system glitches, will offer a more lasting solution to memory drain issues.

The following steps will guide you in implementing this fix:

  1. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously to start the Task Manager.
  2. Then, find the Windows Explorer process, select it, and click Restart task at the top of the screen.
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  3. Finally, open Windows Explorer again and attempt to delete the corrupted files again.

2. End the Problematic App

Ending the problematic app suspected of causing the Windows 11 memory leak can be a quick solution. It immediately frees up the RAM, potentially restoring smooth performance. This approach helps after identifying and fixing the underlying leak within the app or the system.

Here are the steps for completing this solution:

  1. Press the ctrl + shift + esc keys together to open the Task Manager.
  2. When it opens, open the Processes tab, select the problematic process, and click End Task on the top of the display.
  3. If unsure, check for programs that are unresponsive or consuming high CPU or memory resources.
    Windows 11 Not Recognizing Headphones
  4. Finally, restart your PC.

3. Disable Startup Programs

Fewer programs automatically launching reduces the initial strain on RAM, giving the system more breathing room and potentially delaying the onset of leak-related slowdowns. Disabling unnecessary apps at startup can be a good preventative measure. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Settings by holding the Windows + I keys simultaneously, click Apps on the left sidebar, and open Startup.
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  2. Then, turn off unnecessary apps and leave only critical apps active.
  3. Adjust the duration of the settings as desired.
  4. Finally, restart your PC.

4. Perform Troubleshooting with the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

Running the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool can help to fix the Windows 11 memory leak since it is a RAM issue. The Windows Memory Diagnostic built-in tool scans your computer’s RAM for errors. If the utility finds any errors, it will attempt to fix them. Here is how to use the tool:

  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.

5. Update Device Drivers

Outdated drivers can introduce compatibility issues and resource management bugs, potentially contributing to leaks. Updating them ensures proper communication between hardware and software, often resolving unexpected leaks and preventing potential ones. Here is how to update your driver:

  1. Hold the Windows and I keys simultaneously to launch the Settings window.
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  2. Then, click the Windows Update option next.
  3. Afterward, select Advanced Options.
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  4. Then, tap the Optional updates option next.
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  5. Once the options open, expand the Driver Updates section, select the appropriate drive, Download & Install all the available updates.
  6. Lastly, restart your computer. Running through this process will prevent backgroundtaskhost exe from crashing.

6. Update Windows

Updating Windows can be a powerful tool against memory leaks. Microsoft regularly releases patches that address software bugs and driver incompatibilities, which are common culprits behind leak issues. Installing the latest updates can plug those holes, ensuring efficient memory management and restoring optimal performance.

The following steps will help you complete the update:

  1. Firstly, start the Settings app by pressing Windows + I together and click on System to open it.
  2. Then click on Windows Update from the tabs on the left navigation pane.
    Update DirectX Windows 11
  3. After the page opens, click on the Check for updates button.
    Update DirectX Windows 11
  4. Windows will search for available updates. If it finds one, click Install now.
    Update DirectX Windows 11
  5. Finally, restart your computer when the installation is complete.

7. Increase your PC’s Virtual Memory

Virtual memory, also known as a paging file, acts like an extension of your RAM. When your physical RAM is full, Windows uses virtual memory on your storage drive to temporarily save data, allowing programs to run smoothly. Optimizing these settings can immensely impact your Windows 11 performance.

Modify the virtual memory settings on Windows 11 using the following steps:

  1. Press Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings, and click the About page under System.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  2. Under Related links, click Advanced system settings.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  3. Then, open the Advanced tab, click the Settings button under the Performance section.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  4. Under the Performance Options window, click the Advanced tab, then, click the Change button under the Virtual memory section.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  5. Uncheck the Automatically manage paging files size for all drives box, select the Custom size option, and enter a desired value for the Initial size and Maximum size for the paging file in megabytes
    Speed Up Windows 11
  6. Afterward, click Set.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  7. Note that while the virtual memory size differs for everyone, we recommend setting the Initial size to 1.5 times the available memory and the Maximum size to 3 times the available memory.
  8. Then, click the OK button and again on the next display.
    Speed Up Windows 11
  9. Finally, restart your PC.

8. Adjust Your PC for the Best Performance

Adjusting your PC for the best performance can help with memory leaks in Windows 11. This setting prioritizes allocating RAM for running applications, potentially freeing up resources previously held by background processes or visual effects. Here is how to do it:

  1. Press the Windows + E keys simultaneously to open the File Explorer, right-click This PC, and click Properties.
    Windows 11 Memory leak
  2. Then, find and click the Advanced system settings link.
    Windows 11 Memory leak
  3. Once it opens, click Settings under Performance.
    Windows 11 Memory leak
  4. Finally, check the box for Adjust for best performance and click Apply and OK to save the changes.
    Windows 11 Memory leak

In conclusion, memory leak in Windows 11 can be a real drag, slowing down your system and leaving you with a sluggish, frustrating experience. We’ve explored memory management, uncovering the best solutions to fix these RAM-hungry problems.

Remember, be vigilant, monitor memory usage, and proactively identify the culprits. With these proactive measures, your Windows 11 machine will run smoothly, efficiently, and free from memory leaks.

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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.