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Explorer.exe using up to 300mb RAM.


Windows 8.1 Professional.
 
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Best answer by Rakanisheu Retired 29 April 2015, 10:09

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Hello,
 
I just installed webroot for the first time (trial version) and immediately saw that explorer was using a lot of ram ~300mb. I see this thread has been open for a long time which doesn't bode well. I was hoping for a light weight security solution!
Userlevel 7
Hi Beeblebrox
 
Welcome to the Community Forums.
 
WSA is a very lightweight security app...if you actually look at the RAM consumed by it you will see it is pretty small, and if you have read through the whole thread you should be aware the issue is being worked on but seems to be a complex one that is in part down to who MS allows apps to work withthe OS.
 
Some have reported that the latest version v8.0.4.73 has resolved the issue for them...but I presume that this is not the case for you?
 
I think that it will eventually be resolved but continued patience is required at present.
 
Regards
 
 
Baldrick
Hi,
 
thanks for the quick reply! Yes I have the latest version- just installed it today for the 1st time. I read a number of posts in the thread but there are a lot so probably missed important stuff. I installed it on my laptop (win 7) and the issue isn't there. I'm impressed with the software otherwise so will continue with the trial and consider a purchase in the next couple of weeks.
Userlevel 7
Hi Beeblebrox
 
No problem...that is what the Community is here for. :D
 
Yes, the issue is peculiar to Win 8/8.1/U1 64bit...I also have a tablet running Win 8 8.1U1 32bit and do not  have the issue...so all in all very strange.
 
Of course, this is not good for those 64bit users and it has been going on a while but as has been stated before...it in no way affects the efficacity & protection provided by WSA...one is well protected regardless...and hopefully the Development Team will get to the bottom of this at some point soon.
 
Enjoy the trial, and please feel free to post back here with further questions on the topic or open a  new thread if you have questions on a different topic. ;)
 
Hope to see you around in the future.
 
Regards
 
 
 
Baldrick
Problem still exists. http://i.imgur.com/cpP4PNJ.png
Userlevel 7
Hi hivonzooo
 
Indeed, it looks like the latest release has resolved the issue for some user but not all...which is why this appears to be such a tricky issue and that it is taking the Development Team an unusually long time to resolve.
 
Regards
 
 
Baldrick
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
Well we will Ping @  @ @ again to see if they can give us an update from this post: https://community.webroot.com/t5/Webroot-SecureAnywhere-Antivirus/Explorer-exe-using-up-to-300mb-RAM... and this continuing issue on Windows 8.1 x64.
 
Daniel
Userlevel 5
Badge +16
So, I did some digging into this. And, like most things the answer is more complicated than it looks. When Windows reports 'MEMORY' this is an aggregate of the ENTIRE memory pool. This includes several different types of memory, what I mean by that is the term 'MEMORY' is more than just RAM. Things that are calculated into this factor are as follows:
RAM
Working Set
Commit Memory
Paged Pool
Non-Paged Pool
 
To get the overall idea hear, is that while Explorer is running (on my Windows 8.1 box) at 284.1 MB of 'MEMORY' it breaks down further like this
RAM usage:
Private - 2,384 K
Page - 276 K
Total - 2,660 K (2.59 MB)
 
SWAP usage:
Commit - 56,852 K
Working Set - 361,072 K
Sharable - 64,480 K
Private - 296,580 K
Total - 778,984 K (760.72 MB)
 
When calculating the above SWAP usage this includes DLL's, drivers, and other files that Explorer calls as the system shell. UI elements such as your wallpaper, icons, clock, system tray etc are all factored into items that are loaded into SWAP space.
 
In layman’s terms SWAP space is a location on your hardrive that is reserved for offloading certain low priority tasks to the HDD in order for higher priority functions (such as programs) to address into RAM.
 
NOTE: Edited to correct details regarding WSA's role in this explanation:
WSA reserves a fair amount of SWAP space in the Explorer process in order to provide certain functions such as monitoring read/write activity on the HDD, and Journaling and Monitoring of unknown processes.
Explorer MEMORY is being used because of Microsoft identifying our DLL and increasing the page protection in case it were to try to crash Explorer. This is a fault protection built into Explorer on Windows 8, and not the result of WSA.
 
I provide all of the above information, to provide a detailed explanation that if followed to its conclusion means that what you see in the Task Manager isn't really true from a certain perspective, and includes more than one would normally think. Ultimately however, the 'issue' is one of perception, not one with the software itself near as I can tell. There should be no actual performance hit here unless you are running on very very old hard drives, and or, do not have enough hard drive space to support the size of the SWAP file.
 
I hope this helps explain what you are seeing. Some tools that can be used to navigate this information can be found on Microsoft's SysInternals site (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb842062.aspx) and include RAMMap, and VMMap, as well as the Windows Resource Monitor found at the lower portion of the Window when on the Performance tab of the Task Manager.
 
Thanks,
Lucas
AKA - TechToc
Webroot Sr. Escalation Engineer
 
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
Thanks Lucas for the excellent break down so in the end there's really nothing wrong? Like we can put it to bed sort of to speak?
 
Thanks again,
 
Daniel 😉
@ wrote:
So, I did some digging into this. And, like most things the answer is more complicated than it looks ...

Sorry, but I'm a real rookie here 😞.
 
If it's not too complicated to do so, can someone explain to me?
 
Does this mean that when the OP loaded WSA onto his Win 8.1 machine, his so-called "RAM" usage in Explorer went up by 252MB because WSA had occupied 252MB of the SWAP file for functions such as "monitoring read/write activity on the HDD, and Journaling and Monitoring of unknown processes"? (And by the way, yes I do understand this shouldn't slow the machine down apart from very exceptional cases)
Userlevel 5
Badge +16
Hello Muddy and TH,
 
I'm fairly confident that there isn't any cause for concern, unless the OP is reporting performance issues in addition to what was observed. 
 
To further assist with some understanding here, 'MEMORY' is not 'RAM.' RAM is a very specific type of MEMORY. It's a temporary very fast location that allows your system to load files and programs quickly. 
 
'MEMORY' as it is refered to in the OP (from my perspective) is actually a collection of different types of MEMORY and when viewing the report in Task Manager it's all added together to determine the actual memory footprint on the system. 
 
The reality is such that Explorer isn't using 300mb of RAM, but 300mb of MEMORY which is broken down to several layers. It is really only using between 2 and 4mb of RAM while the rest of it is various other types of memory, other than RAM.
 
Memory management is a very difficult thing to explain because there are so many different types of memory. I spent a good month or so looking into it so that I could provide some insight to another customer who had asked similar questions regarding memory usage on the system.
Userlevel 7
Badge +62
:STechToc Well since I haven't been involved with this posting I do appreciate that information of  what you have Posted. Need to know and learn basis!! Thanks!
TecToc replies...
 
The reality is such that Explorer isn't using 300mb of RAM, but 300mb of MEMORY which is broken down to several layers. It is really only using between 2 and 4mb of RAM while the rest of it is various other types of memory, other than RAM.
Yeah, many thanks for the reply TechToch!
 
OK, I'm afraid Memory/RAM is very much a black art to me, tech neophyte as I am 😞. And I know that it is acknowledged by those observing this apparent memory boost that it is not affecting performance in any observable way.
 
However, I still have a question. It remains a fact that those using Win 8.1 are seeing an enormous increase in Explorer memory being recorded in Task Manager when they activate WSA. One poster on Wilders (who incidentally has just been banned from there for being a general all-round troublemaker!) has surmised: I assume without pagefile WSA is forced to use ram (edit: read "memory!) ... My 'guess' is they rely on hiding their processes within explorer and pagefile to keep them seemingly small, and lite.
 
Can you possibly comment on this? That is, if it is not too complicated to explain in a forum post.
 
Thanks!
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
To add what Muddy said and the person that got banned it started here: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/webroot-secureanywhere-discussion-update-thread.364655/page-2#post-2381424 and with his self assumed credentials you would think he would know or at least know and break it down like Lucas did right? IMHO
 
"Systems Engineer, Fortinet Certified Network Security Professional(WIP), Security Specialist - Cloud+, Security+, A+, (ISC) HCISPP CBK." Daniel
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
@ wrote:
Hello Muddy and TH,
 
I'm fairly confident that there isn't any cause for concern, unless the OP is reporting performance issues in addition to what was observed. 
 
To further assist with some understanding here, 'MEMORY' is not 'RAM.' RAM is a very specific type of MEMORY. It's a temporary very fast location that allows your system to load files and programs quickly. 
 
'MEMORY' as it is refered to in the OP (from my perspective) is actually a collection of different types of MEMORY and when viewing the report in Task Manager it's all added together to determine the actual memory footprint on the system. 
 
The reality is such that Explorer isn't using 300mb of RAM, but 300mb of MEMORY which is broken down to several layers. It is really only using between 2 and 4mb of RAM while the rest of it is various other types of memory, other than RAM.
 
Memory management is a very difficult thing to explain because there are so many different types of memory. I spent a good month or so looking into it so that I could provide some insight to another customer who had asked similar questions regarding memory usage on the system.
@ Lucas a simple question if there is ever one why doesn't it show up on other OS's and even Win 8.1 32bit we don't see this?
 
TIA,
 
Daniel
Userlevel 5
Badge +16
Hey TH, 
 
I updated the original post a bit to reflect a beter explanation of why we are seeing an increase in memory usage on Windows 8. I wasn't aware of the difference on 32 bit machines. But I'll get to that in a minute. I've included my update below:

NOTE: Edited to correct details regarding WSA's role in this explanation:
WSA reserves a fair amount of SWAP space in the Explorer process in order to provide certain functions such as monitoring read/write activity on the HDD, and Journaling and Monitoring of unknown processes.
Explorer MEMORY is being used because of Microsoft identifying our DLL and increasing the page protection in case it were to try to crash Explorer. This is a fault protection built into Explorer on Windows 8, and not the result of WSA.
 
Now, to get to the reason we aren't seeing it on 32-bit systems.
I suspect this is because a 64-bit protected process requires a bit more memory. Because Explorer runs as 64-bit on these systems it would make sense to me to consider that any fault prevention would require additional resources in order to ensure the integrity of the process. I do not have a 32 bit Windows 8 machine with me at the moment, but I can run a test, with the idea that while on my system (64 bit) Explorer was running in about 2.5 MB of RAM, I hypothize that a similar configuration on 32 bit would be less than that. RAMMap should provide that detail if you want to beat me to the punch. I do want to state for the record that this is just what makes sense to me without seeing any further details. 
 
Thanks,
Lucas
Userlevel 7
Thanks for the clarifications Lucas! 
Userlevel 7
Badge +56
Thanks for the updated post Lucas also there was no issue on Win 8 x64 it only showed up on Win 8.1 x64 and continues with Update 1 x64 so there is no need to be concerned about this thread as this is really not an issue in layman's term for that all can understand?
 
Thanks Again,
 
Daniel 😉
@ 
Right! Now I understand 🙂. This is more or less exactly what Joe said on a post in Wilders a while ago, but I wondered if I had understood him correctly after your initial explanation. With your update, things are now very clear.
 
Thanks!
What happens to the memory consumption if the memory is indeed needed elsewhere? Will the excess memory consumption of explorer and all other affected processes (Windows Firewall Control, NVT ERP, Softperfect Ramdisk and many others) be paged to the hard disk, resulting in heavy page file usage?
Userlevel 7
Your question has been answered on previous pages a number of times. Its a bit of big thread but worth a read if your interested.
I have read through the entire thread two times before asking this question and I have not found a possibility to search inside threads on this board.
Userlevel 7
Its been anwsered by Joe our head of Developement but the general view is that Windows wont struggle with an extra 300mb paged memory usage.I wouldnt say 300mb of Explorer usage is exessive(in this case its not actually 300mb either) I have seen certain programs push it to well over 1Gb without any drastic performance issues.
 
This issue has been blown out of proportion in my opinion and some people are getting very confused about memory usage. Windows looks after all of this for you and unless you have a really really old PC you wont notice any issue. I dont even check my PC`s memory usage unless something really weird happens.
This is not restricted to Explorer because many other processes are affected (other members have reported: Windows Firewall Control, NoVirusThanks ExeRadar Pro, Softperfect Ramdisk etc.). So, if you're unlucky, this could easily mount up to several gigabytes. Hence the question, what happens to those gigabytes of memory demand if it's really needed elsewhere? Will it all be put in the pagefile resulting in serveral additional unnecessary gigabytes of writes to the SSD in addition to all those gigabyte, which are already wasted each time a computer game tries to update itself and these updates are monitored by rollback?
 
Personally, I don't think this has been blown out of proportion. This issue has been reported more than half a year ago and there is no solution to be seen. All I can see is playing down the problem like it's no issue at all.
Userlevel 7
I`m not playing it down but my point was that it was made out that it was bricking PC`s or reducing system performance to a near snails pace.
 
Can you get some screenshots and/data about said issue with those programs? I have never seen any issues like that nor have I seen any support tickets about those speicifc programs.
 
I run programs that use 8+gb of system memory and I havent encountered any problems. Is the problem with these programs to do with journalling journalling and rollback which are completely seperate to this and isnt related? This issue only related to a specific OS build and wont cause a spike in page files size or usage.
 
 

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