Windows – In winxp, I have 4GB of RAM, am using 1.77GB, but programs keep paging out to memory. Why

memoryvirtual-memorywindows xp

All in the title. What's the point of more RAM if my programs will page out instead of using it?

To be more specific, here's an example: I open 12 tabs in a browser. I look at one of them while using other programs for a few hours. My total RAM used never exceeds my physical memory. Yet, when I go through the other 11 tabs a few hours later, each one takes 30 seconds to load as my disk wildly thrashes. Why did windows clear the unused tabs from RAM instead of allocating new RAM for the programs I was using?

Granted I didn't really use those unopened tabs, but replace a few hours with 30 minutes and it gets annoying.

Best Answer

The people at Microsoft have made certain decisions regarding this. It also has to do with Windows being optimized for short (3-6h) uptimes since the majority of users do not use it for longer than that. Linux, for example, uses up all memory and only pages when it is full - but even for this approach there are problems (how to decide what do discard when it does fill up, etc).

Rest assured the pros and cons have been pondered by MS' engineers, and it's not necessarily a bad decision.