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  1. #1
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    Task Manager > Performance question

    Task Manager > Performance

    What's the difference between Available physical memory and Free?

    Isn't the Available free, isn't the Free available?

    Thanks - rev

  2. #2
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    Isn't the Available free, isn't the Free available?
    No. "Free" memory is unused memory.

    "Available" is all usable memory available, including Cached and Free memory. This does not include System Reserved memory.

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    >No. "Free" memory is unused memory.
    So why isn't the unused memory available? What's stopping us from using it?

    I would have expected, Total, Cached and Available - without a Free category.

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    So why isn't the unused memory available?
    What do you mean? Free memory is available to be used by the system. It's just that there aren't any processes that are taking it yet.

    I would have expected, Total, Cached and Available - without a Free category.
    Why? Basically, Total = all physical memory, Cached = used memory, Free = unused memory, Available = Cached + Free

    You could also look at Available as Total physical memory - Hardware Reserved memory. I.E. memory that is "available" for Windows and apps to use.

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    I'm sure you're right but I'm not getting it.

    If I have some free money (unused), it's available for me to spend.
    If I have some available money, it's also available for me to spend.

    >You could also look at Available as Total physical memory
    That can't be because my Total is 12 gig, my Available is 4. Available can't be Total because some of the Total is not Available.

  6. #6
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    If I have some free money (unused), it's available for me to spend.
    If I have some available money, it's also available for me to spend.
    Say you have 10 hammers. (Total)
    1 hammer can only used by the boss (Reserved)
    9 hammers can be used by workers (Available)
    4 workers are using the hammers now (Cached)
    5 hammers are unused (Free)

    You could also look at Available as Total physical memory
    That's not what I said.
    I said "Available is Total physical memory MINUS Hardware Reserved memory".

    Note that video ram can take up a lot of Hardware Reserved memory.

  7. #7
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    Say you have 10 hammers. (Total)
    1 hammer can only used by the boss (Reserved)
    9 hammers can be used by workers (Available)
    4 workers are using the hammers now (Cached)
    5 hammers are unused (Free)

    That's exactly what Task Manager says, my question is what's the difference?

    Me and a Customer:
    Me: I have a two Honda's for rent. This one is available, the other one is unused.
    Cus: Can I rent the unused one?
    Me: Yes.
    Cus: So it's available?
    Me: No, the other one is available, this one is isn't being used.

    See what I mean?

  8. #8
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    Me and a Customer:
    Me: I have a two Honda's for rent. This one is available, the other one is unused.
    Cus: Can I rent the unused one?
    Me: Yes.
    Cus: So it's available?
    Me: No, the other one is available, this one is isn't being used.

    See what I mean?
    The used card isn't available to the customer, but it's in the company inventory. At some point, the car will be returned, and then a customer can use it.
    I didn't come up with the names; I'm just explaining the facts.

  9. #9
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    >The used card
    You mean the unused car? (assuming the Honda's in question were cars)

    I see you trying hard and I don't mean to be slow but Available and Free are two words that have the same meaning in this context. It doesn't mean free as in no cost, it doesn't mean free as in setting an animal free, it means free as in available! Why is it not available for use but free? Free for what? It can't be just left over because left over would belong in the Available category.

    In hard disk terminology it's like having Occupied, Empty and Free - you don't need that third category because free is the same as empty.

  10. #10
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    >The used card
    You mean the unused car? (assuming the Honda's in question were cars)
    No, the "used" car. The customer at the counter can't use it, because another customer has it. It is still in the company's inventory.

    it doesn't mean free as in setting an animal free
    Actually that's not that far off. The "free" memory is unclaimed by processes.
    Free = unclaimed memory
    Available = all memory that can be claimed

    I'm not sure how else to explain it.

  11. #11
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    >I'm not sure how else to explain it.
    I'm not sure how else to phrase the question.

    >The customer at the counter can't use it, because another customer has it. It is still in the company's inventory.
    That would make it part of Total - it can't be free OR available because another customer has it.

  12. #12
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    I think you are just getting hung up on the dictionary definition of "free" and "available". That's just how Microsoft named them, so I've explained it by their rules. I agree that the terms are vague if you use the dictionary meanings, but you're just making it harder on yourself.

    Maybe someone else can explain it better than I can.

    Total = all physical (hardware reserved plus "available")
    Available = memory "available" to Windows (cached plus free)
    Free = unused memory
    Cachced = used memory

  13. #13
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    >I think you are just getting hung up on the dictionary definition of "free" and "available".
    Definitely I am - in lieu of another explanation/definition.

    We both tried valiantly, I'll dwell on it.

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