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 😁

2 thoughts on “Windows 10 Memory Usage Capped at Fifty Percent (50%)

  1. Markus K.

    I have had a similar problem for many years now.

    Just to clarify: after unchecking “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” you have the option to choose “custom size”, “system managed size” or “no paging file” for each “drive”.

    Did you turn them off individually “no paging file”?
    Or is it sufficient to remove the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” checkmark on the very top of the dialog box?

    1. Robert Post author

      Either way should result in the same end result, but I used the following method…

      3. Uncheck: Automatically manage paging file size for all drives


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