This new little Samsung is being a right pain, anyone help?

OK, this is now solved, thanks to everyone who gave advice.

I know have a useless 1 GB memory card and a 2GB in the machine, courtesy of the little shop around the corner. Fortunately, as is true all over the world, computer nerds speak English.

So I\’ve now 1 GB of free RAM with Windows, Vodafopne, Firefox etc running in hte 1 GB they were all taking up before. For €25 which is a bloody liberty I tell \’ee. Why I remember when that upgrade to 640 kb was a big and expensive deal…..mumbles into his grey beard and falls asleep at the table drooling in senescence…

I\’ve got a new little netbook to travel with. And the little bastard just keeps running out of memory.

I\’m already running Firefox without downloading images. And that seems to take 250 MB or so of the 1GB RAM available.

As far as I can tell cache is set  to 4096. I really shouldn\’t be having Firefox repeatedly crashing as out of memory.

However, poking around and looking at system resources etc I seem to have something which is demanding 600-700 MB just as normal usage. I am running the Vodafone internet acess through a pen app. But that shouldn\’t take up that much. And, looking in the apps running window of Task Manager, that is all I\’m running, windoes and the Vodafone app.

So, err, where\’s all the memory gone? And why isn\’t some of it going to cache etc?

In short, how do I get a system that doesn\’t keep falling over for being out of memory?


So, update. Looking at task manager as this thing is right now.

Firefox, 120 MB.

Mobile broadband, 39 MB

Exploer 15, Plugin Container 12 and nothing else over 5 MB.


And yet something is using 800 MB and change altogether.

1013 Physical Memory, 150 cached, 214 available and 71 free.

814 MB in use according to resource manager.

And I\’m beginning to get an inkling of an idea: l;ast time it fell over I had a look there and there was 300 MB or so \”modified\” rather than in use or free.

So what\’s doing that \”modified\” bit then?

For what does happen is that it\’s fine from a cold start and then a few hours later it falls over (it makes Firefox fall over that is) until I cold start it again. So is there some process filling up memory?

Oh, and using AVG not Norton and AVG is pretty light itself isn\’t it?

Update 2:

\”Oh that\’s a point, the standard Windows look-as-stupid-as-a-Mac interface uses up shitloads of GPU, and if your little netbook hasn\’t got much of a GPU, that\’ll slow it to a crawl, so turn that off and use the standard XP type theme.\”

Erm, OK, how?










46 thoughts on “This new little Samsung is being a right pain, anyone help?”

  1. Try the Processes tab of Task Manager, and sort by the Mem Usage column.

    It should say what’s using all the memory. Unfortunately without knowing that there’s not really much the rest of us can do to help 😉

  2. Agree with RJP on Chrome.

    Also, the Vodafone app is a complete and utter bastard – used it with a 3G stick when I first moved Ozwards and it turned the computer into a heinous treacly thing. Could well be part of the problem.

  3. I agree with the commenters recommending Chrome.

    But Firefox shouldn’t be crashing, even with only 1GB RAM. I suspect there’s something rogue on there, and it may well be Vodafone’s software – mobile operators are to software what your favourite Ritchie is to economics.

  4. Also before I forget, if you’ve got McAfee AV or Norton AV on there ditch them, and use Microsoft’s free “Security Essentials” product instead. It’s better and much more lightweight, so should free up some RAM.

  5. I recently switched from Chrome to Firefox and I much prefer the latter. Chrome crashed too often and sometimes wouldn’t recover my tabs, but Firefox seems much better in that regard.

  6. Try Chrome or IE (which I assume is already installed on what I assume is a Windows 7 system). You need to find out if the crashing follows the browser (Firefox) or not. I lost patience with Firefox years ago because of its memory leakiness, although I’m sure it’s improved since then.

    For any normal browsing activity I’d have thought the worst that should ever happen is a lot of swapping (the system slows down a lot & the disk chugs continuously), not actual crashes. But I have no experience of Win 7 with 1GB, so I could be talking bollocks.

    Another way to differentially diagnose is to go to a Starbucks or somewhere with free Wifi and stop the Vodaphone app, see if that stops the crashing.

    There’s certainly no way that the machine should be crashing in normal use.

  7. I would recommend Opera as a browser. Anything but Chrome, on the simple basis that Google are evil and no classical liberal should be supporting their ghastly progressivist hegemony. Kind of thing.

    My guess also would be some kind of antivirus thing, all of which these days are horrible, installing themselves as drivers you can’t switch off and interfere with everything. Also, make sure none of the keys are stuck down.

  8. Also try the latest Firefox (9.0.1) if you don’t have it already. They’re focusing on memory improvements lately. It may also be an extension crashing.

  9. You are ALL missing the obvious solution.

    Junk the pile of steaming horse-shit that is Windows and install a proper operating system – Linux. You can choose your own distro – Ubuntu, Mint (based on ubuntu), Debian, Fedora.

    If the netbook is seriously low powered go for one of the above with XFCE (xbuntu) or LXDE desktops.

    Everything works – Firefox, OpenOffice, Chrome etc and you don’t need any anti-virus software using up your valuable clock-cycles.

  10. If your new little Samsung netbook is anything like my little Samsung netbook it probably came with lots of wonderful free software. Games, the anti-virus demo suite mentioned above, whatever. Don’t install/use any of it. The AV in partic is a POS. Digging it out later is a pain. Quicker to reinstall the O/s bare from the partition & start again.
    My one’s running XP, has only the ware on it I use & is as sweet as a nut on only 1Gb. If it’s W7 installed, it probably uses nearly 1Gb to run the OS.
    Don’t have any prob with the HUAWEI Orange dongle I’m using

  11. I’d second shineymart’s comments. If you’re experience problems on a netbook running Windows, the problem is likely to be that you’re running Windows.

    It’s not great anyway, but for netbooks, it has so much bloat that it really seems to struggle to cope.

    If I was going to recommend a replacement, I’d suggest Xubuntu. It’s well featured, but light enough that it should run nicely on any netbook.

    On the browser issue, Firefox is my browser of choice – I’ve not noticed the performance differences between Firefox and Chrome to be that great in recent versions, so I suspect switching from Firefox won’t solve the issue, but if you want to try a variant of Chrome, I’d recommend Chromium or SRWare Iron over Chrome itself.

  12. Have a similar setup with an Acer Aspire one with 1GB memory running Windows 7.
    I find it works reasonably fine even with FireFox 9.0 having many (>20) tabs open and Word 2010 running and an email client open.
    Starts to stutter a bit above that, but definitely don’t see the problems you’re reporting.
    1) I use Microsoft Security Essentials rather than AVG for the AntiVirus.
    2) I have AdblockPlus loaded which does make a big difference in my experience.

  13. I’m about as knowledgeable about computers as Dr Eoin Clarke is about economics, but I thought things using memory that didn’t show up in system resources was usually Windows itself.

    I still use an old IBM (branded IBM, so presumably pre-2005 when Lenovo bought them out), with 1GB of RAM, and that works fine.

    But I’m using XP. Wifey’s newer laptop, running Vista, has twice as much RAM but runs like concrete.

    Dunno about Windows 7, but I thought memory demands were more like Vista than XP, so possibly just that you’ve not really got enough RAM to run the operating system.

  14. View from the Solent

    Winpatrol is a very useful tool for you. Free (or you can buy permanent access to a database of info on progams/files/services),

    When loaded it displays all those programs that start at boot. Disable anything that looks unnecessary. Stick to the non-MS progs. One at a time and reboot after each to see if you’ve turned off anything that’s needed.
    If you’re unsure, ask google (other search engines are available).

    Then click the Services tab and select List non-MS only. Select each dubious-looking service, click info, and select Stop.
    If you haven’t broken anything, select Info again and select Manual -> Apply.

    After a few day’s use go back in and disable those services permanently.

    If you don’t use wifi, switch that off in windoze and switch off the wifi hardware (I assume there’s a button for it)

  15. View from the Solent

    sorry, that should have been

    Then click the Services tab and select List non-MS only. Select each dubious-looking service, click info, and select Stop -> Apply.

  16. Well, I’m typing this on an 8Gb Win 7 system, with only a browser and one instance of Irfanview oepn, and my resource monitor currently says

    In Use: 2038MB (about 2GB)
    Modified: 87MB
    Standby: 1650MB
    Free: 4409MB
    Gay Hobbit Porn: only joking


    Available: 6060MB
    Cached: 1740MB
    Total: 8183MB

    Opera is using 630MB for, er, two tabs, crikey. There’s also 112MB committed to an instance of svchost. And, er, 3GB commmitted to “system”.

    I think the lesson of this is that under Windows 7, the information isn’t much use.

  17. Heh – I always remember when I started programming, in something called MUMPS, the labguage standard was that every program could have 5,000 bytes of code maximum and operate in a memory allocation in total of 19k.

    Those were the days when programmers were proud of lean, economical code.

  18. like 11shineymart et al said, except lee Linux Jihad. It’s most likely windows if you’re running Win7. In which case you has been sold a pup, me old china, because Win7 needs 1GB to run.

    Turn off all the fancy themes and revert the bugger back to a standard XP-alike theme and it will help. Firefox is an utter asshat when it comes to memory allocation, but frankly, despite the cheerleading, Chrome is not much better. Worth a try though.

    @various phear my geekwang : linux boxen will typically report very high mem use, because you see, the thing about RAM is that you want to use as much of it as possible, all the time, because it is fast. My box reports 98% usage when it is doing fuck all. The actual lesson is that you can’t actually derive much useful information from macro memory use figures, only micro, per app ones will help you. Familiar, no ?

    Long to short, Timmy, you need more RAM than that to run windows without chewing your teeth out.

  19. Oh that’s a point, the standard Windows look-as-stupid-as-a-Mac interface uses up shitloads of GPU, and if your little netbook hasn’t got much of a GPU, that’ll slow it to a crawl, so turn that off and use the standard XP type theme.

    Personally I hate Win 7. I use it because I have to, for the 8Gb and the 64bits, or whatnot. The whole interface is a nightmare; if you don’t want to do what you think they want to do, it’s either a matter of hacking the registry after mucho Googling, or you just can’t do it at all. The networking is bogglingly bad. Don’t get me started, ranty ranty rant.

  20. Tim, I’d suggest you check that it’s not the 3G modem app. It may be branded as Vodafone, but probably it actually comes from the modem vendor, someone like Huawei. The quality of that software may be utter crap, and then it causes slowness, freezing and crashes.

    You could just go to some place with WLAN access, unplug the modem, uninstall the Vodafone app and see how well your computer runs with WLAN. (It’s not enough to just not use the 3G, because the driver still sits in the memory and does God only knows what).

    If you see a significant difference afte rgetting rid of 3G – no longer freezing every now or behaving erratically – then you know it was the modem, and you have to get another 3G stick. If you have a fixed-term contract for that 3G stick, you are screwed unless you can resort to consumer rights (over where I live, if it is really broken, I can complain and the seller should fix it; if they can’t, I can at least terminate the contract without any fees).

    Some people above have recommended Linux. I’m a Linux user myself, but there’s a learning curve, and 1 G is just fine for Windows XP and some browsing, so I would you should just have your Windows fixed. 3G modem driver is a good candidate for the bad guy.

    AVG or Avast are just fine anti-virus software suites. Running CCleaner to throw away unnecessary junk from the registry is a good idea, but in my experience that bad device drivers are what really destroy your computer.

  21. Can’t you upgrade the little bugger’s memory? An extra gigabyte would make a big difference to Windows 7.

    Opera always used to be a better browser for low end systems. I’m not sure if that’s still true, but it’s probably worth a try.

  22. SAM [the fat lady] sunget, gezongen, fchanté, gesungen, t?a???d??ta?, énekelte, canta, cantata, dziedajis, Senas, kantata, spiewane, cantado, cântat, spievaný, sung, cantado, sjungit

  23. 0. Upgrade the RAM! You can probably get 3GB in there.

    1. Press the button in Task Manager which says “Show processes from all users”.

    Also, choose the “Commit Size” column. That’s the one you want to look at. Menu->View->Select Columns.

    2. Use Microsoft Security Essentials instead of AVG. It’s better and very lightweight.

    3. Go through Programs and features and remove anything you are not using.

    4. Consider using IE instead of firefox….

  24. Tim, get a Mac. You’ll never have to think about these things again. As a techie I hate Apple and everything they stand for; yet I highly recommend them to all my friends & family who ask for advice. There are no worries about which CPU or how much RAM or how many flubs of flobbilocks: you just get a standard Mac. If they can’t afford a new Mac then I direct them to second-hand ones (and Macs hold their value far more than anything else; the old MacBook line are particularly good). If they can’t or won’t stretch to that then /caveat emptor/ with your £200 Samsung netbook.

  25. If you’re sure it’s a browser issue, try Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, this isn’t 2008 still, Firefox is pretty shit now by comparison. I’ve been on Opera for a couple of years.

  26. A memory upgrade might help. has a handy utility to tell you a) if your system can be upgraded and b) exactly which part to buy. Well worth a look.

    Alternatively, buy a MacBook Air as others have suggested.

  27. @GeoffH:
    Linux – in any distro – is unusable pants.

    Speak for yourself, I’ve been using Ubuntu 11.10 on my underpowered Sony Vaio Netbook and it’s been excellent.

    Dual boots into Windows 7 Starter which is a dog-slow bag of shit. I only keep it there to run Microsoft Office Outlook to periodically sync up e-mail from the corporate exchange server.

  28. You don’t have enough RAM. I didn’t know they even sold machines with just 1G any more.

    Having said that, the people who recommended Linux are right. Why not switch to a proper, modern operating system?

  29. Ignore the people telling you to change Operating System – if you’re used to something then stick with it, frankly they all do much the same thing.

    Take the laptop into a decent computer store (the kind with actual nerds in it who know how to take a computer apart), ask them to put more memory in it, and when they hand it back it will work much much better.

  30. Having said that, the people who recommended Linux are right. Why not switch to a proper, modern operating system?

    And when I want to synchronise my iPod, update my Logitech remote, watch DVDs, play games, time-lapse trigger my camera or do advanced image editing or video editing, what happens then?

    I’m not trying to get into an OS argument here. It’s a very good OS, and I use it for hosting, but there’s just too many software gaps (when it comes to software development, I feel the same way about Macs).

  31. GeoffH: “Linux – in any distro – is unusable pants.”

    Although I disagree with you, I’m impressed that you’ve gone to the effort to try every single one of them in order to offer an informed opinion.

  32. I still remember building that awesome machine back in 1998 that had a whopping 64MB, on the basis that I’d never need more than that. Then going out a month later and buying another 128.

    These kids today, they don’t know they’re born.

  33. @Tim A 39

    Yep agreed – if the gadget software is windows only Linux is a a non-starter.

    I can watch DVDs on Linux. So? But Tim W didn’t ask for any of the things you mentioned – he specifically asked about his netbook (No DVD drive there) – bit of WP, bit of browsing, bit of email was all he said he does (in a previous post I believe).

    So Linux on a netbook IS the solution – and the interface (what your used to @AD at 38) is, frankly, a red herring. If you are coming from XP the change to Win7 is as big as going to any other desktop environment – Linux/Mac whatever.

    Dump the windows shit and get a proper OS.

  34. And if I had the money I would buy a Mac – its a proper OS as well.

    Only Apple IS the evil empire and the walled garden is an expensive place to be. But the kit is SO pretty.

  35. Tim said “I now have a useless 1 GB memory card”

    Not intrinsically useless, but of low value compared to transaction costs.

    Were you nearby, I’d give you a beer for it (the children’s ropey second-hand laptop could do with more memory to cope with horrible Vista).

    However given the costs of delivering both the chip and the beer, the uncertainty as to whether the damn thing would work in the target machine anyway, and the sheer hassle of going to the post office, it is probably worthless for all practical purposes.

    And you’re in Germany; you’d probably need Business Machine Guild membership before you could sell it.

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