Logons and memory

Gateway / Gt5428
November 4, 2011 at 07:45:50
Specs: Windows XP, 3.194 GHz / 2037 MB
Does switching back and forth between different user accounts eat up a lot of memory?

Background: My IT at work person blames this for the memory becoming so low that any attempt to login takes you back to CTRL-ALT DELETE. Having been around Windows since the early 90's I never heard of that one. My desk is near where meetings are held and I like to switch from my account which has some stuff I'd rather not visitors and guests see so I switch to a more vanilla account

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November 4, 2011 at 08:14:29
Are you using fast user switching?
Having more than user logged in will use more memory and add to the commit charge, even if no applications are running. There is a fair bit of overhead for each user. But with a reasonable amount of memory this should not be a problem. It all depends on what is running.

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November 4, 2011 at 09:06:20
Never on more then one user account. Logoff then Logon or Restart

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November 4, 2011 at 09:20:59
"2037 mb"

That's an oddball amount. Is that supposed to be 2047 mb ? (2 gb = 2048 mb - 1 mb for conventional memory).

"My desk is near where meetings are held and I like to switch from my account which has some stuff I'd rather not visitors and guests see so I switch to a more vanilla account "

( Update - I started making this post before your response 2 appeared. )

If you want to reduce memory use without having to change your habits or anything else otherwise...

Switch User to the vanilla account, then select Switch User again, select and Log off the other User, then select the vanilla account.

When you want to resume using your user account, Switch User to your user account, then select Switch User again, select and Log off the vainilla account, then select your user.

Other than that, there are lots of reasons why Windows may be using a lot of memory.


- If you look at a lot of picture files such as those made by a camera, if you have a lot of them minimized, that can use a huge amount of memory.

- Some programs are known to have bugs that cause the program to "pig out" on memory use (which will show up in Task Manager - click twice on the Mem Usage tab when you're viewing the Processes list) , or cause everything in Windows to run slower despite the fact they don't seem to be using much memory in Task Manager.
Two examples of the latter:
- The add on on for XP - Windows Search (Windows Desktop Search)
- Windows Media Player 10 and above have a feature Share My Media or similar that is disabled by default, but it you enable that it slows down Windows, especially XP.

- You could try looking here:
Start - Run - type: msconfig (click OK or press Enter), select the Startup tab. On many computers there are too many programs loading there that don't need to be running that are eating up memory.

See response 4 in this:

"Gateway / Gt5428"

Gateway GT5428 Desktop Computer



Chipset - Intel 945G

Video - Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
Up to 224 MB Shared Video Memory

Add-in Card Slots
•One PCI Express ×16 (graphics interface)
•One PCI Express ×1
•Two PCI conventional

Power Supply 300 watt

Usually you can change the amount of ram shared with the onboard video in the bios Setup.

Even if your onboard video is using the max 224 mb, you would still have a reasonable amount of memory available for Windows otherwise.

You could free up the shared memory used by the onboard video by installing any video card in the PCI-E X16 slot - as well as you having up to and including 224 mb more ram available for Windows and your video probably performing better, your memory will work better because sharing memory with the onboard video reduces the max bandwidth (max data transfer rate) the ram is otherwise capable of by as much as half of it - however there are not a lot of video cards out there that have a video chipset that will work fine and not damage your power supply when your computer has only a 300 watt power supply.

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November 4, 2011 at 10:24:12
Like I said this is a work computer and I am not our tech guy but if I am getting you guys right just logging on and off different accounts by and of itself unlike what my tech guy claims should not be a major issue which is the answer I was seeking.

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November 4, 2011 at 10:51:18
You have to do what I described in order to not be loading more than one user.

Try looking at msconfig - Startup to see if there are too many Startup programs, as in response 3.

However, if the IT guys have made your user a Limited account in Control Panel ( - Classic view) - User Accounts, you won't be able to use msconfig. You would have to ask the IT guys to do those things for you, or have them temporarily change your User account to Computer Administrator so you can use msconfig and do those things, then they change it back to Limited later when you're done.

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November 4, 2011 at 11:11:52
Definitely not an administrator and don't think that will be happening. It is 1 IT guy.

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November 4, 2011 at 14:35:37
Ask him.
Changing what's loaded when the computer starts up in msconfig doesn't change which programs have been installed. That's primarily what his concern is.

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