Welcome back to the Tool Bar & Grill, where we search through the Internet to find the best utilities and Web sites, and hand them to you on a silver platter. Today’s utility is a strong shot for weak computers, and it is chased with a rundown of the most important literature for document authors by Mark Lautman.
In fact, Microsoft Windows generally does a fine job of managing RAM. If a utility frees up RAM, it takes that memory away from a program that needs it. Windows might then have to use part of the hard disk as overflow RAM space, and the hard disk is much slower than RAM. So when I suggested in recent comments on other Web sites that I know of a RAM utility that really works, some techno-snobs derided the idea. Techno-snobs, eat your words!
Instant Memory Cleaner (freeware for Windows XP and Vista) actually is only a convenient, easy-to-use front-end GUI (graphical user interface) for the ClearMem (XP) and FreeMem (Vista) commands, which otherwise can only be executed from the DOS command line. Through these commands, Instant Memory Cleaner slaps each running program back down to its minimum RAM size. (This is more a bit effective in XP than in Vista.)
This trick is useful only for computers with limited RAM that tend to lock up or crash due to insufficient RAM or memory conflicts. If you have enough RAM (generally, 1 GB for XP systems and 2 GB for Vista), you don’t need Instant Memory Cleaner. And buying more RAM, if you can, is better than futzing around with utility programs.
Of course, your programs will fill up the RAM again in a short time, if you keep using them. But this utility helps prevent a freeze when you see a RAM crisis coming. This gives you time to close some applications or reboot your system gracefully.
Instant Memory Cleaner also puts an icon in your system tray (a.k.a. the notification area) that constantly reports on the amount of used and free RAM.
So if your budget is as limited as your RAM, try Instant Memory Cleaner – and save up to buy some more memory soon.
And now for a special literature review from technical maven Mark Lautman.
Goldilocks and the Three Specs
by Mark Lautman
The CSS specification, also from the W3C, is the companion to the HTML spec: iron-clad rules for cascading style sheets that make your pages look spectacular with low maintenance effort.