How to Find Out How Much Memory Is Left on Your Computer

By Contributing Writer

The amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) on a computer critically influences its performance. Any running application is loaded from the hard drive to RAM, providing a fast data interchange with the computer's processor. If running applications and system processes use almost all the physical memory, it would inevitably slow down your computer. In some cases, a computer might freeze, restart or produce a “blue screen” of failure. Task Manager in Windows and a utility program “free” in Linux allow you to monitor the amount of memory being used and hence determine how much free memory is left.

In Windows 7 and Vista

Step 1

Log on to a user account.

Step 2

Right-click on the taskbar, typically located at the right-bottom corner of the screen, and select "Task Manager" in the context menu. Alternatively, simultaneously press "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Delete" and click "Start Task Manager."

Step 3

Select the tab "Performance" in Task Manager and read the total amount (in Megabytes) of RAM on your computer under "Physical Memory" and "Total." For instance, "Total 2048."

Step 4

Read the amount of memory (given as a percent) currently used on your computer in the very bottom line of the "Task Manager" window--for example, "Physical Memory: 68%."

Step 5

Subtract the percentage from Step 4 from "100" to calculate the amount of free memory as a percent. Then multiply the percent number by the total memory from Step 3, and divide by 10 to calculate free memory in megabytes. In this example, it is (100 - 68) x 2048 / 100 = 655 MB.

In Linux

Step 1

Click the Gnome menu "Applications" and "Accessories" in Linux RedHat, Ubuntu or Fedora.

Step 2

Click "Terminal" to open a Linux command prompt window.

Step 3

Type "free -m" and press "Enter" to obtain information about Linux memory.

Step 4

Read the amount of available memory (in megabytes) under "Mem" and "free."

Tips & Warnings

  • If the amount of free memory is low, consider closing some of running application before launching new programs.