Knowledge Base

How to optimize the memory (RAM) on a Dell computer

Determine if Memory has Been Optimized

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a type of hardware that your computer uses to store information. Adding memory is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your computer's performance. However, before adding memory, consider taking steps that better utilize the memory you already have.

  • Verify that the Paging File is set to the correct size for your computer.
  • Run Disk Defragmenter.
  • Run any other type of memory optimizing applications.
For additional information about upgrading memory, visit the Dell Memory Selector.

Verify the Virtual Memory Paging File Size

  1. Close all unnecessary applications or files.
  2. Click the Start button, and click Control Panel.

  3. In the Control Panel window, double-click System.
    If the icons are in Category View, click Classic View to list icons individually.
  4. Click the Advanced tab, and in the Performance section, click Settings.
  5. Click the Advanced tab, and in the Virtual Memory section, click Change.
  6. Click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.
  7. Click System Managed Size to let Windows choose the best size.
    You can manually adjust the size by clicking Custom Size and typing a new size in the Initial and Maximum boxes. The size is limited by the total amount of free space on the hard drive. You may be able to improve a program's performance by manually increasing the paging file size; refer to the program's vendor for recommended settings.
  8. Click the Set button and OK.

Defragment the Hard Drive

1 Click


, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.

2 Click the (C:) drive, or the drive you want to defragment, and click



Defragmenting the hard drive can take anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour depending on the hard drive size and the amount of data stored on the drive.

Troubleshooting Disk Defragmenter

If you encounter problems running Disk Defragmenter, try the following:

  • Exit other programs before beginning disk defragmentation, including programs running in the background.
  • Disconnect from the Internet and then turn off anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
  • Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to run Disk Defragmenter.
  • Check to see if the computer is on a network. Network policy may prevent you from running Disk Defragmenter. Remove the computer from the network to correct this condition.
  • Ensure that the hard disk being defragmented has at least 15% free space.

Error Messages
If the message Drive Contents Have Changed: Restarting appears while running Disk Defragmenter, refer to the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: "'Drive's Contents Have Changed: Restarting' Message When You Use Disk Defragmenter" Article ID: 310541.

If any other error message appears while running Disk Defragmenter, check the hard drive for errors. For more information, refer to the Dell Knowledge Base Article: "How Do I Perform Hard Disk Error Checking in Microsoft Windows XP" Article ID: 120275.

For more information about troubleshooting the Disk Defragmenter, refer to the Microsoft Support, or view some of the articles below.

Visit the Dell Community Forum for More Information

Visit the Dell Community Forums to find out what others in the Dell user community are saying. The Dell Community Forums provide a place for Dell users to discuss support topics, to learn, and to help each other. Use the message boards to post questions and answers.

Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN60463

Last Date Modified: 04/04/2016 08:51 AM

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