How to Clear Computer RAM Memory

By Techwalla Contributor

Sometimes you need to clear computer RAM memory because a program is frozen and has stopped responding. RAM (random access memory) holds data for currently running programs and the operating system. RAM is much faster than a hard drive, but unlike a hard drive, the data in RAM is lost when power to the computer is cut off. This means shutting down the computer is the only effective way of totally clearing computer RAM memory.

Step 1

To partially clear computer RAM memory, close some programs that are currently running. In Windows, right-click on any program in the task bar and choose the "Close" option. That will free up the memory that was used by the program. Even if you close every program running on the task bar, a big chunk of memory is taken up by the operating system. The RAM used by the operating system cannot be cleared without shutting down the system.

Step 2

To clear computer RAM memory totally, you have to shut down the system. In Windows, click on the Start Menu and click the "Shut Down" option. Unix and Linux have similar options. When this process is complete, all RAM will be cleared.

Step 3

If you are somewhat impatient, turn off the computer by pressing the power button on the computer. This is slightly quicker than the previous step.

Step 4

If you are very impatient, unplug the power cord of the computer. If it is a laptop, disconnect the battery as well. The computer's RAM memory will be cleared immediately upon the power source being disconnected. This method of shutting down the computer usually causes corruption or some other problem when the operating system is booted up again.