Free Memory vs. Inactive Memory

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by zflauaus, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. zflauaus macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    #1
    Does anybody know the difference between the two? It seems that my computer is a lot slower when it's filled with inactive memory. Is there a way to clean it up without restarting?
     
  2. zflauaus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    #3
    Thanks.

    I have got to put a sticky on my monitor: "Frackin' Search!!!"
     
  3. Carlsen macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    Denmark
    #4
    Great! I have been wondering about this myself :)
     
  4. johndude macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
  5. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    having a drink at Milliways
    #6
  6. johndude macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    #7
    What version of OSX are you running?
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    Is it just me, or does this program sound like complete snake oil? What do you need to do this for? If you shut down all your apps, at worst, yes, you have inactive memory. But especially with no apps running, and therefore no world leaks from Safari or whatever, there should be no problem whatsoever reclaiming inactive memory. I don't see why you need to "defrag" your memory....
     
  8. Fairly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Location:
    Cambridge UK
    #9
    That program doesn't do a thing. I'm surprised people are taken in by it.
    http://radsoft.net/resources/software/reviews/redux/

    It isn't just the sound... :D And I don't think "world leaks" are possible on a 32-bit or better protected memory system. All memory is allocated into process specific address spaces and that memory - the entirety of it - is deallocated when the program exits. This includes all supporting shared libraries and frameworks as they too are mapped into the address spaces of their clients (applications that have them as dependencies). What happens on disk in the VM is of no relevance. Apple's VM manager will add swap files as need be (and remove them at times as well) but this is nothing one needs to worry about. If you want all those extra swap files gone - reboot. No snake oil app like the above is going to reclaim the disk space - and if it did you should run for it. Interfering with the system's VM like that is not a Good Thing(tm).
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #10
    > Free Memory vs. Inactive Memory

    Don't worry, be happy.

    OSX knows best, and it hurts the brain to worry about it.
     
  10. Fairly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Location:
    Cambridge UK
    #11
    Common industry terms.
    Wired == nonpaged This is used by drivers et al.
    Active == paged in Belongs to processes and is currently swapped in from disk.
    Inactive == paged out Only on disk and swapped in as needed (page faults).
    Free == free Self=explanatory.

    Page faults are not errors. Initiating a process does not entail actually doing any bookkeeping in memory. Page tables are set up but that's about it. When a process starts to run the CPU notices that things aren't at the addresses they're supposed to be at and issues an exception known as a page fault. The system catches the exception, gets the address where it occurred, checks its page tables, reads the pertinent page from disk into RAM, and then gets the CPU to run the same instruction again. This is normal behaviour and occurs several thousand times a second. All virtual memory is initially 'inactive' or paged out. It's only put into RAM as it's needed - when the CPU throws a page fault exception.

    Yes and don't spend money or waste time trying to fix something that's not broken and in fact already running perfectly! :D
     
  11. BoughtAAPL@4.00 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    #12
    Yes, open up Activity Monitor. Then start quitting various applications. Watch as the Inactive portion drops to an acceptable level, whatever you deem that to be.
     
  12. notsofatjames macrumors 6502a

    notsofatjames

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #13
    be careful just quitting random applications. that could cause adverse effects. Try only quitting ones that are owned by you unless you know what your doing.
     
  13. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #14
    Random apps? Don't know about that. Not such a wise plan if you're unsure of the app's use.
    Look at "My procceses" in Activity Monitor, most of those should be OK to quit, so long as you know its use. (photoshop - a big greedy beast, iPhoto, Firefox, etc)

    the other question has been answered. just didn't want the above giving anyone bad ideas.
     
  14. BoughtAAPL@4.00 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    #15
    Poor word choice, sorry. "Random" in the sense of the programs you know you have running, yes, of course.
     
  15. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #16
    I figured that's what you meant but just in case and all that. :)
     

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