The Dancer in the Shadows

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Windows Memory Management

In working with computers, one of my greatest frustrations has been with how Windows manages itself and the programs it is host to.  Not being a Windows programmer myself, I often find myself asking what the programmers or designers were thinking (or sometimes smoking when no transmutation of thought could possibly explain the situation).

The most common has to do with Windows Memory Management and what to swap or not swap to the paging file.  I am currently monitoring several memory and paging metrics and am at a complete loss to come up with any possible explanation for the design decisions that must have been made to arrive at this scenario.

The host has 4 GB ram total.  Of that, 372 MB is currently in use as disk cache, and 414 MB is completely unused, listing a total available for new programs and activities of 786 MB.  The process I'm working with has a Memory Working Set of 53 MB, a Private Working Set of 38 MB, and a Commit Size of 54 MB.  With the free memory being almost ten times the largest measurement of the process's usage, I can't come up with any scenario in which this process should hang for over a minute while the Memory Management System is resolving page faults and swapping this process's active memory in and out of the page file on the disk.  And yet it does.  If the host were running out of memory, sure, I could understand having to do a lot of paging.  If this process had been completely idle while other processes had been busy, perhaps.  This isn't the case though...

This is the primary active process at the moment, using a "whopping" 4% of the CPU.  CPU usage total is 5%.

If anyone out there could shed some light on this I'd greatly appreciate it...

--- The Dancer in the Shadows

Monday, September 09, 2013

I Hate Budgets

On a practical note: budgets are a source of both freedom and pain...

This time was an experience in panic.  I updated my personal finance budget projections and suddenly I'm predicting running out of money entirely in a couple months rather than barely holding stable like i have been for about a year.  After the initial panic passed, I started looking for why.  What changed?  What is different now that would cause the small reserves I have struggled to build to suddenly vanish so quickly?  It turns out that in my most recent projections, I accidentally doubled the mortgage payments on both houses.

(Yes, I own two houses... It is a long story; the really short version is that while I got the marital house in the divorce, my Ex got to live in it rent free... Not entirely certain what I will do with the extra house once the Ex-rent-free period ends...)

Having a solid budget has given me peace of mind that I have not had in a long time.  I know my bills are going to be paid, I know how much I can spend on various things, I even have a solid answer for how long I could go without changing my spending if I lost my job tomorrow.  HOWEVER, I hate doing the updates and projections.  I hate the fear and panic that ensues when I make a mistake (like this one) that severely throws off my projections.  And I hate the amount of time it takes to deal with the budget that I would much rather put into something more tangibly productive.

--- The Dancer in the Shadows