How to fix the “Your computer is low on memory” Windows 10 error message

šŸŽ¶ If you’re having RAM problems I feel bad for you son šŸŽ¶

Ever gotten the error message below?

c37da72e%2d7ed0%2d41a4%2db972%2d188ba5faa332

Your computer is low on memory

To restore enough memory for programs to work correctly, save your files and then clsoe or restart all open programs.

The root cause may be a poorly behaving service installed with Realtek network drivers calledĀ RunSWUSB. Disabling it should fix the issue. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Type Services.
  3. In the window that pops up, find RunSWUSB.
  4. Right-click on the above entry.
  5. Click Stop if it isn’t greyed out.
  6. Click Properties.
  7. In the window that pops up, under the General tab, click the Startup type: dropdown menu.
  8. Click Disabled.
  9. Click Apply.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Close Services.

So how’d I figure this out? First of all, it seems to be rare; only 1 of my 3 Windows 10 PCs was afflicted with it. The PC that was having this issue is running Windows 10 Insider Slow Ring and was experiencing errors during the build update process. As part of the steps to resolve those, I performedĀ a clean boot. After the update process successfully completed, I went through disabled services individually to see which were worth re-enabling. Googling this particular one produced this thread about its associated memory leak problems.

If the above doesn’t fix the problem, try performing a clean boot. Then do the following:

  1. Open the Start Menu.
  2. Type msconfig.
  3. Hit Enter.
  4. In the window that pops up, click theĀ Services tab.
  5. Check theĀ Hide all Microsoft services box.
  6. Google each remaining service individually to figure out what it does. You may find the culprit eventually.
  7. When you do find it, disable it as previously shown.
  8. Add the offending service to the Microsoft support thread so your findings can help others!

Thanks cartman82 for the fix!

Windows, OS X, or Linux: on which OS do apps use the least RAM?

Windows trounces macOS & Ubuntu in client application RAM consumption.

UPDATE: In the latest version of this study, Windows 10 trounces Ubuntu and macOS.

Some caveats on what follows:

  1. Testing was done on Firefox only. Howeve since Firefox is open source, very actively developed, and has prioritized low RAM usage, it’s a good representative of well-engineered multiplatform apps.
  2. The developer’s conclusion is based on the factor by which RAM consumption changes. My conclusion is based on the total RAM consumption, period.
  3. The Windows results are for Windows 7. Since subsequent versions of Windows are known to use progressively less RAM, it’s safe to assume RAM consumption is better on Windows 10.

That said, below are the results for Firefox on all 3 OSes:

Memory Usage of Firefox with e10s Enabled ā€“ Eric Rahm
Linux wins, Windows 7 comes in second, and OS X finishes 3rd.

Clearly, if client applicationĀ RAM consumption is your major concern, Linux is the OS for you. Windows comes second, while OS X brings up the rear. Feel free to use this as ammo in the nearest OS flamewar.

The best way to block ads: AdBlock Plus vs. a custom hosts file (HostsMan)

The champ is here.

After using AdBlock Plus (ABP) for years, I decided to try a custom hosts file for ad blocking instead for a bit. Searching for “Adblock Plus vs. hosts file” produces nothing but forum posts and very few actual comparisons; this should help fix that. The central issue addressed is here is whether in-browser ad block is better that hosts file ad blocking. For this, I’ve selected the most commonly used/best of breed solution for each and compared them based on my experiences with both.

AdBlock Plus

Pros:

  • High granularity: wild cards allow blocking of specific section(s) of a domain instead of the entire domain.
  • Can be enabled or disabled per site.
  • Easily accessible browser based UI.
  • Intuitive UI.
  • Can interactively block elements onscreen.
  • Very actively developed.
  • Filters updated on a daily basis.
  • Is open source.
  • Changing lists or lists subscriptions or otherwise editing rules does not disrupt internet connection.
  • Subscription change effects are seen in real time.

Cons:

  • Very high RAM penalty (~35% in Win64 Firefox 36.0a1 on Windows 8.1).
  • Works only in the browser; don’t block ads elsewhere.
  • Can seriously break browser functionality.
  • Slows browser and PC down because every element URL request has to be checked against blocking rules first, which holds up everything else while that happens.

HostsMan

Pros:

  • No RAM penalty.
  • No CPU penalty.
  • Blocks ads across the entire OS, not just the browser.
  • Don’t break browser functionality.

Cons:

  • Very low granularity: can block entire domains only.
  • Can’t be enabled or disabled per site.
  • Less accessible UI than ABP.
  • Less intuitive UI than ABP.
  • Cannot interactively block elements onscreen.
  • Less actively developed than ABP.
  • Hosts files updated significantly less frequently than ABP lists.
  • Lots of false positives that break website functionality, e.g. sharing buttons and social logins can disappear.
  • Still lets quite a few ads through.
  • Is closed source.
  • Changing the hosts file can (temporarily) disrupt your internet connection.
  • Delete Entry in the hosts file editor often fails after the first use per session.

Conclusion

HostsMan’s main advantage is its lower resource overhead. Sadly, said lower resource usage doesn’t translate into particularly faster page loads or browser performance from a superficial user perspective, and so isn’t nearly enough to overcome its numerous other shortcomings. Ironically, some pages do seem to load slower with HostsMan than they do with ABP. The latter’s better UI and UX make it the winner.