For the first part, let's open up task manager to see which programs are using the most memory. To do this, click on start, type in task manager. Open task manager from the list of programs and click on the Processes tab. Next click on memory to sort the table by programs that are using the most memory.
TIP! This instructions here are designed for Windows Vista and above, if you know how to run task manager in previous versions of Windows, the same theories apply.
Start from the top of the list and work your way down. Are there any programs running that you don't want running. Really think here, the only things that need to be here are programs that you are using for something. Is there a program updater running? If so, make a note of it, eliminate it, you don't need it, almost all programs these days automatically check for updates as soon as you launch the program.
You don't need to go through the whole list here, be as thorough as the amount of RAM in your system. You need to decide how to free up RAM in your computer based on the amount of memory you have. You can click the Performance tab in task manager if you don't know this information. I look at anything that's using 100MB or more.
TIP! Task manager will show memory usage in K, to translate to MB divide by 1024. To translate MB into GB divide by 1024 again as there are 1,048,576K in one GB.
Now that you have figured out what's using your RAM, there are 2 ways to free it up. Either you can stop the process, or, permanently disable it from starting unless you choose it to.
To begin, open up msconfig, you can do this by clicking start, then type msconfig and hit enter. When the dialog box opens up, click on startup. Any of the programs in your list that appear here can be unchecked. This will stop them from being started when Windows starts. When your finished reboot the computer. If you've acidentaly changed something that you do want to run, you can easily reenable it. The screenshot below will show you what a portion of my msconfig looks like.