Free memory tool

Display virtual and physical memory use for running processes with this free Microsoft utility.

Compact and versatile free utilities that can help you keep your PC humming along safely and smoothly: Does that sound like Microsoft? Well, it is: Microsoft's Sysinternals offers a range of useful freeware apps for displaying and managing Windows processes and other data. We looked at VMMap, a memory analysis tool. It analyzes the virtual memory types committed to each process, as well as the amount of physical memory allocated by Windows, and displays the data in colorful graphs and tables. It also shows summary data as well as detailed process memory maps.

VMMap's compact, two-panel interface and its companion process selection dialog open simultaneously, allowing us to select a process from a list of all our system's running processes or click Cancel. We chose our antivirus software and clicked OK. VMMap displayed color-coded graphs and tables containing detailed data on type, address, and more. The upper pane listed available data for selected values, with specific details appearing in the bottom pane. VMMap options include setting or pausing the Trace Snapshot Interval, showing free regions, changing the program's font and symbols, and running as an administrator. Clicking Fragment View opened a separate Address Space Fragment map, also color-coded and with a slider that let us expand the view. We could reopen the process selection tool at any time from the File menu; this wizard-like dialog let us view either running processes or all system processes as well as launch and trace new applications directly from VMMap.

VMMap not only displays live processes but also saves and exports data reports in several formats. Admins, coders, and advanced users can enable scripting scenarios from the command prompt, too. While VMMap probably won't do much for beginners, more advanced users will appreciate its ability to analyze their system's memory and display it in graphs and tables that are not only useful but also attractive, with hues recalling the colored chalk still popular with youngsters.

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