Skip navigation

Big RAM issue with macBook Pro and OSX Montain Lion

5664 Views 30 Replies Latest reply: Jan 25, 2014 1:58 PM by Csound1 RSS
1 2 3 Previous Next
adn67 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 5, 2013 10:19 AM

Hello Everyone,


I'm using a MacBook Pro 15" (early '11) and I've got serious Memory issues.

I've installed 16GB of RAM in my computer, and believed it will solve the problem, but no!!

Even when I am only using Outlook, VMWare, Safari, the OS tells me that I'm using the whole memory (see picture below). I tried to use 'Free memory' thinking it will handle it a little better.

I know there is a lot of inactive memory and then usable, but I did nothing to use this memory, so I would like to understand why it using swap file and all that memory. I would like to use several virtual machine at the same time, but when I try to do so, my computer is very, very slow and I can not do anything.


2013-02-05 18.59.15.png


Thank you for your help.



MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • leroydouglas Level 6 Level 6 (13,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 10:42 AM (in response to adn67)

    Did you try restarting?


    What is your uptime on that screenshot.


    terminal copy and paste:





    Quit some programs.

    MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2010), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 2.4GHz IntelCorei5 320GB HD 8GB RAM
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,105 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 10:46 AM (in response to adn67)

    Blue "Inactive" memory is used for things recently read from disk, in hopes that you will re-read them soon and your Mac will respond more quickly. It can instantly be turned into Free Memory.


    Your largest single use is 4GB of memory for VMWare.


    Safari Web content is high -- If are you saving more than ONE DAY of History, you should set it to remember only ONE DAY. It is easier to search for that stuff than to look through more than one day of History, and Safrai uses a lot of memory to save all that junk.


    You ARE showing about 2GB of PageOuts and 2.5GB of Swap Used. These are counters that begin at Startup and count up continuously. Depending on how long your Mac has been running these could indicate you have too many things running at once.


    Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • g_wolfman Level 4 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 10:48 AM (in response to adn67)

    VMWare will consume massive amounts of RAM while starting up and launching a VM (not sure if launching a windows VM is worse than others, however), and then release it once the launch is complete.  That alone could account for most of your inactive RAM.  It will also use a few hundred MB of swap in the process.


    MS Office is probably responsible for the rest, especially if you have many unsaved documents open (for example, in MS Excel, as shown in your image).


    Unfortunately, you don't say whether this memory problem occurs just when certain applications are open, if it goes away after a while, etc, etc.  So it's difficult to say if this even looks like a problem.  If it's chronic (it's like this all the time) then maybe.  If this is occasional and then goes away (for example, if the swap file size drops after VMWare has been fully launched for a while)...then it may be normal.


    There are also other considerations, like whether you have shared folders/applications between OS X and your VM(s).  That can change the memory isolation of the VM and might mean that not all the VM RAM is wired (how much ram is assigned to your VM?).

  • Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,135 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 12:12 PM (in response to adn67)

    Part of the issue is VMWare that you are running. It is one huge ugly memory HOG. At least make sure it is updated to the latest version. And quit the thing when you don't need it. Then you'll see wonder of wonders, most of the pie go to green.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,105 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 12:23 PM (in response to adn67)

    Many days of History can consume a lot of memory. Your browser is a different version, but is using twice the memory mine is. Set "Remove History Items" in Safari > Preferences > General


    Screen shot 2013-02-05 at 3.18.43 PM.png


    Another non-intuitive thing you can do is to set Top Sites to use LARGE icons (this allows fewer complete Web pages to be stored and updated).



    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2013 12:52 PM (in response to adn67)

    VMWare is using 4G (as Bennett pointed out) and it is also the reason that your Page Out numbers are so high.


    Reboot and run without VMWare for an hour, I bet your Page-Outs, Swap used and Inactive memory numbers all decrease (I would expect Page-Outs to drop to zero)


    All VM's do this.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    I use Parallels 8 with 16GB of memory on my main system and another person users it with 8GB on the system.  Mine always has about 4GB left free after the VM starts on it with 4GB allocated to it and everything else running on my machine.  Theirs gets a little tight and looks similar to the OPs on 16GB, but not once have I ever seen it peg my 16GB system all the way.  I don't even show a swap on mine, so I wouldn't say it's ALL VMs.... maybe VMWare's crappy memory management or something, but not all VM systems.

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)

    Maybe not to the same extent but all VM's Page out constantly, hence Ram and Swap space get used.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    7.3xGB of page ins on mine, but 0 page outs.

1 2 3 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (1)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.