If you find that programs are slow to open, applications are slow to work, or your Windows computer is sluggish overall, a memory leak may be the reason. A memory leak occurs when the operating system continues to allocate memory for a particular process or program but is unable to return it to the system when it is no longer needed.

fix memory leak issues on windows 11

In this guide, you will learn how to detect a memory leak on your PC running Windows 11 and how to fix the problem.

How to identify if your PC or computer is having a memory leak problem

Before applying troubleshooting techniques, first, confirm the memory leak problem on your PC. To find the memory leak problem, perform the following steps:

  • Press “Windows + R” on your keyboard to open the Run window in Windows 11. Type resmon here and press Enter. This will open the resource monitor. Alternatively, you can also press the Windows key and search for the resource monitor.
  • Now close all the apps currently running on your PC. This should reduce memory usage. If memory usage is still high and Windows 11 won’t release it, you have a memory leak problem.
  • You can also use specialized software such as Poolmon, VMMap, and ProcDump to identify memory leak issues on Windows 11.
    resource monitor

If you’ve found that your PC is running slowly due to a memory leak, there are a number of things you can do to fix memory leak problems in Windows 11.

Here are seven different ways to stop Windows 11 memory leak issues.

How to fix Windows 11 memory leak issues

The fixes for memory leak in Windows 11 are ordered from the simplest to the most complicated. I’d strongly recommend trying the simplest methods first before moving on to the more complicated ones. These fixes work for Windows 10 memory leak as well, with minor changes in steps.

Restart your PC

restart the pc

If the memory problem on your PC is temporary, you can fix the problem by turning the system off and on. Restarting the system will clear the memory used by the various applications and free up memory for the applications. Follow the steps below to restart your PC. If the problem persists after restarting your PC, follow the other troubleshooting methods listed below.

  • Step 1: Click on the Start menu or press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  • Step 2: Click on the Power icon in the lower right corner of the Start menu.
  • Step 3: Hold down the Shift key while clicking the Restart option.
  • Step 4: Wait for the computer to restart and display the login screen.
  • Step 5: Enter your password, and your Windows PC will launch.

Another option is to press Alt + F4 on your keyboard and select the Restart option from the Shutdown Windows menu.

Update Windows OS

windows 11 update tab

The operating system on your PC can sometimes be the cause of a memory leak. If this is the problem, we have no choice but to wait for Microsoft to release an update for Windows 11 that fixes the memory leak. Follow the steps below to update Windows to the latest version.

  • Step 1: Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  • Step 2: Click on “Update & Security.”
  • Step 3: Click on “Check for updates.”
  • Step 4: If updates are available, they will be downloaded and installed automatically.
  • Step 5: Restart your computer if prompted.

Close file explorer app

close all windows

One of the main reasons why Windows 11 loses memory is Windows File Explorer. If you open too many File Explorer windows in Windows 11, it can cause memory leaks. To fix the Windows 11 memory loss problem, close all File Explorer windows. Just right-click the File Explorer icon in the Taskbar and click “Close all windows.”

Modify and make changes in the File Explorer

Opening File Explorer in a separate process can help fix memory leak in Windows 11 if you use it frequently. Follow these steps to open File Explorer in a separate process.

  • Step 1: Press “Windows + E” to open File Explorer. Click the three dots at the top of the menu bar and then click “Options.”
    windows file explorer options
  • Step 2: Now, click on “View” and then scroll down under “Advanced Settings.” Now, click the “Launch folder windows in a separate process” checkbox.

    launch files in separate process

  • Step 3: After that, click on “OK” and restart your computer. Windows 11 shouldn’t reserve an unusually large amount of memory for File Explorer in the future

Close apps and manually free up RAM

task manager end task

Step 1: To start the Task Manager, press Windows + X and select this option.
Step 2: To find out which software is consuming a particularly large amount of RAM, click the Memory tab at the top of the screen.
Step 3: After you click on the program, select the End Task option at the bottom right corner. Download the new Microsoft PC Manager app and manage the memory efficiently.
If you find that this process requires a lot of steps, you can download the new Microsoft PC manager app and manage memory efficiently.

Disable Startup Programs

disable startup programs

Startup programs in Windows are applications or processes that run automatically when the computer boots. In most cases, these programs are set to run automatically either by the user or by the software itself during installation. Antivirus software, cloud storage synchronization tools, and instant messaging clients are all examples of startup programs. The Windows Task Manager or the Startup tab in the System Configuration utility can be used to manage and set up these programs.

  • Step 1: To open the Task Manager, press “Ctrl + Shift + Esc.” Now switch to the Startup tab. Alternatively, you can also visit the Windows Settings > App menu > Startup app to manage the apps from the Startup app.
  • Step 2: Now look for apps or programs that do not need to run immediately after startup. For example: In my case, I do not want Battlefield, a game app, to run automatically right after startup, so disabling automatic startup will save a lot of RAM.

Increase Virtual Memory of your PC

The Windows operating system has a “virtual memory” feature that allows the computer to use hard disk space as an extension of physical memory (RAM) to run more programs or perform larger tasks. When the RAM is full, the operating system moves some of the information from the RAM to a swap file on the hard disk. This means that even if the computer’s physical memory is full, it can still run programs smoothly. It also allows computers with less RAM to run larger programs and processes. This is especially helpful if your computer has less RAM.

To increase the virtual memory on your PC, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Press the Windows key once and then type “Advanced System” in the search bar. Now click on “Advanced System Settings
    windows 11 advanced settings
  • Step 2: In the “System Properties” window, click “Settings” under the “Performance” section.
    windows advanced settings change
  • Step 3: Now, in the next window, switch to the “Advanced” tab and click on “Change” under “Virtual Memory.”
    custom ram setting
  •  Step 4: Now uncheck the “Automatically manage swap file size for all drives” checkbox at the top and click on the “Custom size” radio button. In the “Initial size” field, enter the value recommended below. You can check the recommended initial size of the storage below in the section Total swap file size for all drives. For the “Maximum size“, enter 4096. You can set the maximum size to three times the physical memory.

    This will give you 4 GB of additional virtual memory for your Windows 11 PC. Now click on “Set” and then on “OK“. You will now see a prompt to restart the PC. Press OK to restart the PC and apply the changes.

These are the ways to fix Windows 11 memory leak problems. Memory leaks can cause your system to run slowly. There are so many reasons why memory leaks can occur in your system. I hope you will find this guide helpful. If you have any suggestions, you can leave a comment below.

FAQs on Fixing Windows 11 Memory Leak

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Of course, Windows 11 memory leaks can be fixed by following some simple steps. Start with simple fixes like restarting the PC and updating the Windows OS. Other option is to look for the Startup programs and disable the ones which are not required to run on restart.

Some of the way to ensure Windows 11 use less RAM are:

  1. Close unnecessary apps and programs
  2. Disable unwanted Startup programs
  3. Defragment hard drives frequently
  4. Disable SysMain service
  5. Increase virtual memory by 3 times.
  6. Scan your PC for virus and malware

The recommended system requirement for running Windows 11, set by Microsoft is 4GB of RAM. Mind you, this is not the minimum requirement but recommended one. Anything above 4GB RAM should be good to go.

Memory leaks don't cause physical or permanent damage. Since it's a software problem, it slows down applications or even your entire system. However, a program that takes up a lot of space on RAM doesn't always mean that there is a memory leak somewhere. It may be that the program you're using is really taking up that much memory.

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