Windows 10 Memory Usage Capped at Fifty Percent (50%)

So over the past few months I have been working more with media applications (graphics, video, etc). During this time I noticed my aging Dell Inspiron N7110 laptop was starting to lag as if I was out of memory.

Here are some of the upgrades applied after before upgrading my system to Windows 10 a while back…

These upgrades noticeably improved my system’s overall performance. I could not have been more pleased.

That was until I started working more with LightWorks, Photoshop, and a ton of web-browser tabs open at the same time. It would get to the point where LightWorks was barely responsive, Photoshop was taking up to 10s to close a file without saving changes, and javascript-intensive websites would slow to a crawl.

So I started digging around and noticed my memory usage was never showing more than 50% in Task Manager > Performance > Memory. For a while I thought it might be a memory leak in one of my programs. Until a few days ago, I was fine with this assumption. Then more memory-intensive media editing became a slow-motion nightmare!

After running MemTest+ (via bootable USB) and encountering no errors, I started researching the issue. Seems I was not the only one encountering this problem. Low and behold, it was caused by a system setting in Windows 10 the whole time.

Here are the steps I took to finally correct the problem…

  1. Run (see below): SystemPropertiesPerformance
    • Right-click “Start” then click “Run”
    • Search from the taskbar
    • WIN+R
  2. Advanced > Virtual memory > Change
  3. Uncheck: Automatically manage paging file size for all drives
  4. Confirm all changes and reboot PC

After rebooting, I opened all of my most memory-intensive applications, and multiple browsers/tabs. To my joy, memory was now going above 50% (cap before updating virtual memory performance settings). My apps were no longer slowing to a crawl. Even after opening everything I could imagine to bog down the system, my memory usage peak was around 60-70%. Perfect!

I hope this helped you. If so, please share on social media and/or buy me a cup of coffee 😁

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