How to Free up RAM on Windows & Mac Effectively? [10+ Ways]

Ariel Mu
8 min readMar 22, 2022

What Is RAM

RAM is also known as Random Access Memory which is a short-term storage medium to hold programs and progresses currently running on your computer. It is a vitally important component that allows data items to be read or written in almost the same amount of time. is designed to provide fast read and write access to storage devices.

Your computer uses RAM to load data because it runs data much faster than it does directly from a hard drive. Usually, the more RAM your computer installs, the more programs you can run at once without affecting performance. Once your RAM is running out of usage, your system would be much slower or even can’t run at all.

Thus, it’s important to free up memory for speeding up your computer. How to get more RAM on Windows and Mac? Let’s keep reading.

Check What Eating up Your RAM

Before you clean memory, you should figure out what exactly eats up the RAM usage. Here’s how to check RAM usage on Windows and Mac.

2. In the Processes tab, click on the Memory header to sort from most to least RAM usage.

3. To know more details, go to the Performance tab and click on Open Resource Monitor at the bottom to see a chart of the RAM usage over time.

  1. Go to your Applications folder and then select the Utilities
  2. Double click Activity Monitor to show all of your processes on Mac.
  3. Go to the Memory tab to see how much RAM is used by your programs.

How to Free up RAM on Windows

There are 11 applicable ways on how to free up RAM on Windows 10. Let’s try them in order.

# 1. Restart Your PC

The first and simplest method to clean memory is to perform a simple restart of your PC. By doing so, all contents of RAM will be completely cleared and all running programs will be restarted. Although it may not greatly increase RAM available, it will clean up all processes that could eat up your memory.

# 2. Uninstall or Disable Unnecessary Programs

# 3. Update Your Apps

It’s known that some apps and programs suffer from memory leaks such as Firefox memory leak. If an app or program can’t return RAM to the pool when it’s done using, it will more and more RAM over time, leading to memory shortage. In this case, you can try installing the latest version of the app, which include improvement and patches that could fix the memory leak problem.

# 4. Clear Cache

As you know, the cache holds on the information that your PC uses to reload pages quickly. However, once the cache piled up, you may experience a RAM shortage issue. To reduce memory usage, you can try clearing cache on Windows 10.

# 5. Switch to a Different Browser

Sometimes the high memory usage problem can occur with certain browsers like Google Chrome. If you find your browser always consumes too much RAM, you can try using a lighter browser.

# 6. Remove Browser Extensions

Alternatively, you can try removing the unneeded extensions to reduce RAM usage. This is because browser extensions use extra memory. How to reduce RAM usage by removing extensions? This post “ How to Remove Extensions from Chrome and Other Popular Browsers “ provide you with detailed steps.

# 7. Scan for Malware

There is a chance that your computer has a virus or malware attached especially after you download or visit something from unknown websites, which can steal your system resources like RAM. So, it’s important to scan for malware regularly. Here’s how to reduce RAM usage by getting rid of malware or virus.

Step 3. Then you will see a list of advanced scans including Quick scan, Full scan, Custom scan, and Windows Defender Offline scan. To start a full system scan, select Full scan and click Scan now.

# 8. Adjust Virtual Memory

Virtual memory leaves a part of hard disk space to act as memory. When your system is low on memory, the virtual memory will play its full part. To increase memory on PC, you can try adjusting the virtual memory.

Step 1. Press Win + E keys to open the File Explorer, and then right-click This PC entry and select Properties.

Step 2. Click on the Advanced system settings on the right side of the window.

Step 5. Uncheck the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.

Step 6. Now, you will see the paging file size of your main drive, select Custom size, and then set the Initial size and Maximum size to higher values. Click on OK to save the change.

# 9. Reduce Visual Effects

There are a lot of busy visual effects running on Windows 10, which could take up RAM. If you have a small RAM installed, these effects may affect your PC performance. So, we recommend you disable them.

Here’s how to increase memory on PC via turning off visual effects.

Step 1. Follow Step 1 to Step 3 in # 8 to open the Performance Options window.

Step 2. Tick the checkbox next to Adjust for the best performance. Then all the animated visual effects will be disabled in the settings.

# 10. Clear Page File When Shutting Down

Clearing paging files on the hard drive can help clean memory it has stored as well. Here you can set this to automatically clear when shutting down. For that:

Step 1. Press Win + R keys to open the Run box, and then type regedit in it and hit Enter. Then click on Yes to open Registry Editor.

Step 2. Go to the following registry key via the left navigation bar:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/ Memory Management

Step 3. With the Memory Management folder selected in the left panel, double click the ClearPageFileAtShutdown DWORD and set it Value data to 1, and click on OK.

# 11. Add More RAM

If all the above methods can help you free up memory on Windows effectively, you may have to consider adding more RAM especially if you have a tiny amount of RAM. There are 2 appliable ways to install more RAM.

The first option is to use the Windows built-feature ReadyBoost along with a USB to increase RAM, while the other is to upgrade your RAM to a larger one. To do so, you can refer to the following guides:

How to Use USB as RAM to Speed Up Your Windows (ReadyBoost)How to Install RAM in Your PC — Here’s a Complete Guide

How to Free up RAM on Mac

How to free up RAM on Mac? If you are using a Mac PC, you can also utilize some ways we operate on Windows to reduce memory usage, such as restarting the computer, scanning for malware, removing browser extensions, uninstalling unneeded programs, clearing cache, using a different browser, and installing RAM.

In addition, you can take the following measures to free up memory on Mac.

# 1. Adjust the Finder Preferences

As you know, the data each window shows will get stored as RAM when you open a new window in the Finder. To reduce RAM usage in Finder, you can adjust the Finder preferences.

Step 1. Click on the Finder icon at the top left of your screen.

# 2. Check Activity Monitor

You can remove unneeded applications via the Activity Monitor. Here’s how to free up RAM on Mac utilizing the Activity Monitor.

# 3. Reduce the Chrome’ RAM Usage

It’s often reported that Chrome eats up much memory. Here you can follow the steps below to reduce Chrome’s memory usage.

Step 2. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on Advanced.

# 4. Disable Login Items

Another simple way on how to free up RAM on Mac is to disable login items. For that:

# 5. Disable Desktop Widgets

If you are running an older version of macOS, then you can try disabling the desktop widgets. The widgets provide you with a useful shortcut to apps, but they can take up processing memory and then slow down your Mac. To disable that, you can navigate to Mission Control > switch off the Dashboard.

# 6. Use a RAM Cleaner

In addition to the above methods, you can utilize a professional RAM cleaner to manage your memory usage. Usually, these cleaners provide many features to free up memory, such as removing apps/extensions and managing startup programs. There are plenty of RAM cleaners that you can choose for Mac, such as CleanMyMac X, Memory Magic, Nektony Memory Cleaner, etc.

How to free up RAM on Windows 10 and Mac? We have discussed 10+ effective ways in the above. Now, you can try all of them or choose ones that work best for you.


Position: Columnist

Ariel is an enthusiastic IT columnist focusing on partition management, data recovery, and Windows issues. She has helped users fix various problems like PS4 corrupted disk, unexpected store exception error, the green screen of death error, etc. If you are searching for methods to optimize your storage device and restore lost data from different storage devices, then Ariel can provide reliable solutions for these issues.

Originally published at on March 22, 2022.