VMMap Sysinternals tool provides visual memory map

The Sysinternals tools are among the best for managing and troubleshooting Windows systems at granular levels. Check out a new tool called VMMap.

Troubleshooting memory is an important part of any administrator's toolkit. So take a look at the newly released Sysinternals tool called VMMap, which presents a visual display of physical and virtual memory for a Windows system.

VMMap is a small tool at only 346 KB, and the installation process is straightforward. Once VMMap is installed, you can select a running process to have the memory mapped out for its current usage. Figure A shows a Windows Server 2008 R2 system's memory map for the dsamain.exe (Remote Desktop configuration tool) tool running. Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.

The map shows the difference between committed memory and the working set, as well as specific addresses in use for the various categories of used memory, which includes image, private, shareable, mapped file, heap, managed heap, stack, and system. These categories are more detailed than the memory areas that we have become accustomed to seeing in the Performance Monitor counters.

VMMap allows for a frequent refresh of the current usage. It would be worth using VMMap against normal applications so that, in a troubleshooting mode, there is an established performance pattern for memory usage.

The most beneficial feature of VMMap is probably the Refresh menu option to Empty Working Set. For applications that are known to egregiously waste RAM, this may be a way to counteract the behavior without stopping the application or restarting the system. You should do this with caution and in situations where you can be sure of what the behavior will be on the process in question.

VMMap has scripting options, as well as export functionality. The exports are a *.mmp data format, used only by VMMap.

Do you see a need for a memory flushing option for applications that give you grief? Share your comments in the discussion.

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