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Special User Sections > N.A.N.Y. 2014

NANY 2014 Release: Process Piglet

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wraith808:
Hmm. "...And then does this a few times without compacting."

Maybe. But then I'd wish the browsers would do their own compacting and go "back down" to a sensible size. I guess it's a vestige bit of being a luddite where I just hate to see "huge" memory usages for viewing what should be a "simple" web page. Maybe the Plugins get involved too.

Update:
I still don't like seeing 416 megs used, but I have spotted a "process Palemoon.exe has gracefully lowered its memory use" message!


-TaoPhoenix (January 03, 2014, 04:15 PM)
--- End quote ---

Garbage collection is very processor intensive in many cases.  So you'd get into a position where your browser was regularly slowing down your machine rather than just appearing to use a lot of memory.

TaoPhoenix:
Hmm. "...And then does this a few times without compacting."

Maybe. But then I'd wish the browsers would do their own compacting and go "back down" to a sensible size. I guess it's a vestige bit of being a luddite where I just hate to see "huge" memory usages for viewing what should be a "simple" web page. Maybe the Plugins get involved too.

Update:
I still don't like seeing 416 megs used, but I have spotted a "process Palemoon.exe has gracefully lowered its memory use" message!


-TaoPhoenix (January 03, 2014, 04:15 PM)
--- End quote ---

Garbage collection is very processor intensive in many cases.  So you'd get into a position where your browser was regularly slowing down your machine rather than just appearing to use a lot of memory.
-wraith808 (January 03, 2014, 05:07 PM)
--- End quote ---

Some of all this does matter though, because I have an older laptop with only 500ish megs of ram! So I def see performance lags on that laptop, so if the browser is using that all by itself, then the laptop might be desperately caching to keep up.

mouser:
Is the memory being reported the WS Private or the WS Sharable?
A good explanation that goes into it better than I can: http://cybernetnews.com/c...s-memory-usage-explained/
--- End quote ---

This is a good question -- the memory use statistic is a confusing thing.

In Process Piglet you can choose whether the program should look at Working Set or Virtual Memory (or an average of the two):
NANY 2014 Release: Process Piglet

Essentially, as I understand it, Working Set (the default metric used) is the Physical Memory actually currently being used exclusively by the given process.  This is a reasonable measure of how much of a hog the process is, and is what MS listed under "Mem Usage" in the task manager (at least on Win XP).  Now Windows will allow processes to reserve more memory and can keep some of this memory paged-out of physical ram.  The total memory being addressed by a process is the Virtual Memory size, and can sometimes be significantly larger than the physical memory use of the program.

Truthfully none of these provide a complete view of how badly a processes memory use is going to affect your computer, but as these values increase into the hundreds of megabytes, and keep growing, there's a high likelyhood you're going to start to feel the slowdown.

The aim of Process Piglet is to spot conditions that look like they might be of concern, and rely on user to decide if they really are something to worry about.


Some resources discussing memory that i've found useful:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/252597/mem-usage-higher-than-vm-size-in-winxp-task-manager
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/cc441804%28v=vs.85%29.aspx
http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2008/11/17/3155406.aspx
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ntdebugging/archive/2007/10/10/the-memory-shell-game.aspx

wraith808:
Yeah... memory usage is a big black hole at times.  Even on Windows XP where it shows the Mem Usage- that's a combination of WS Private and WS Shared.

There's three sets from what I understand- the virtual memory (which I didn't even touch on), the Private Working Set (the memory recently touched by the application and not a candidate for Garbage Collection) and the Sharable Working Set (the memory not recently touched and is a candidate for Garbage Collection).  Windows uses the Free memory first- it's easier to allocate, and is not a big processor or disk I/O drain.

It might be good to include a summary of memory usage and perhaps links to a couple of non-technical (or less technical) explanations, so that people that download that don't have an idea of how memory work have a better idea of how to use process piglet.

Some of all this does matter though, because I have an older laptop with only 500ish megs of ram! So I def see performance lags on that laptop, so if the browser is using that all by itself, then the laptop might be desperately caching to keep up.
-TaoPhoenix (January 03, 2014, 06:27 PM)
--- End quote ---

Actually, it still doesn't, even with less memory.  The only way to make it not matter, is not to load the memory in the first place.

Ever been working for a while on your machine, then all of a sudden the disk light comes on and the entire machine just grinds to a halt?  Even your mouse might start flaking out, or not move at all.  And it might seem like your machine is completely locked.  But if you wait for a while (a few minutes- maybe even 10-20 in bad cases), the machine becomes usable again?

That's Garbage Collection at work.  When there's no more physical memory, the machine pages everything out to disk, then starts to stack them up in order by process so that the memory is nicely arranged, and the free memory is collected from each process, and at the end of the stack.  It takes a while, and uses up your entire processor.

And because of how intensive it is, a programmer can't even make it happen in a managed programming language (most of the more recent ones).  You can request it to happen as soon as possible, but you can't make it happen.  Mostly because it's something that you should let the OS take care of by design.

mouser:
It might be good to include a summary of memory usage and perhaps links to a couple of non-technical (or less technical) explanations, so that people that download that don't have an idea of how memory work have a better idea of how to use process piglet.
--- End quote ---

yes, that's a good idea, i will do so.

the other thing i will try to add is some reporting on and alerting on generic conditions that might suggest the system is having trouble with memory -- by looking at free memory and page faults, etc.  I'd love to hear any heuristics that you might suggest that would avoid false alarms.


i'm by no means an expert on windows memory issues -- so i'd really welcome help figuring out which metrics (both process-specific and system-wide) would be good for Process Piglet to pay attention to -- i'm open to performing some more involved computations, but the raw data is coming from PROCESS_MEMORY_COUNTERS_EX.

wraith i'm looking at you!!

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