Plugging a memory leak

Question: My computer slows down quite a bit if I leave it on for 30 minutes. It never regains its speed until I reboot. Is it due to the CPU or something else? — G.P.

Answer: It’s probably a memory leak in a program you have running…but what the heck is that? Sounds like a drippy tap. It’s actually less like plumbing and more like a hotel.

Think of it this way. Imagine that Random Access Memory (RAM) is the Westin Hotel. Each time a visitor stays in a room, it’s marked by the hotel front desk as occupied. If all of the visitors leave and forget to check out, eventually the hotel is going to appear full, even though no one is in its rooms. That’s what happens in a memory leak.

A computer program asks for a memory block to work with, but doesn’t tell the operating system that the memory block is available when it’s finished. So, slowly but surely, the memory fills up and eventually, the system runs out of memory resources.

What seems to be happening on your computer is that a program is slowly eating up memory resources. This could be Windows 95 itself or any other piece of software you have open.

A good way to check this is to turn the computer on as you would normally and check the memory resources as follows:

  1. Right click on the My Computer icon.
  2. Select Properties and then select the Performance tab.
  3. Listed in the dialogue box is an entry that says something like System Resources: 97% free.

Make a note of the percentage and then continue to work on your computer. Check it again in 30 minutes. The percentage should shrink and grow according to the number of programs you have open as resources are used up and freed again.

If one particular program seems to slow the computer to a near standstill and the resources are reported very low, it’s probably causing a memory leak.

How do you fix it?

Check with the software manufacturer to see if there’s a software patch. That’s a program that you can run that will fix the memory leak and update any bugs that have been found since the program was released.

If you suspect Windows 95 itself is to blame, Service Pack 1 for Windows 95 is available at:

A known memory leak occurs when you’re connected to the Internet for a long period of time.
This can be fixed by downloading the Kernel32 Update which is found at: