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Windows Server 2003+ - OS - Troubleshooting memory leaks

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Windows Server 2003+ - OS - Troubleshooting memory leaks

Postby lmmtux » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:50 pm

Typically, memory leaks are somewhat difficult to locate. Using the steps below can help in narrowing down which process may have a memory leak on Windows Server operating systems.


To download the poolmon utility, proceed for the appropriate operating system:
  • Windows Server 2003: You will need to install the "poolmon.exe" tool from the Windows Resource Kit. It is located in the "support.cab" file under the "support" folder on the Windows Resource Kit DVD.
  • Windows Server 2008: Contained in the Windows Standalone Debugging Kit (SDK), downloaded from Microsoft.
  • Windows 7: Contained in the Windows Standalone Debugging Kit (SDK), downloaded from Microsoft.

Troubleshooting steps:

  1. Open the Windows Task Manager.
  2. Go to the View menu, then Select Columns.
  3. Make sure that "Memory - Non-paged pool" and "Handles" are checked and click OK.
  4. In the process list, watch the "NP Pool" column, which is for non-paged memory. If any process is taking more than around 1.5 MB of non-paged memory, or its non-paged memory is slowly increasing, this could start to point to the process at fault.
  5. Run the "poolmon.exe" utility.
  6. Press "P" until all non-paged processes are listed.
  7. Press "B" which will sort the non-paged processes, highest at the top. The process at the top should be examined first, especially if its non-paged memory is much higher than the others in the list.
  8. If the non-paged memory shown keeps increasing, this is again another clue that the process in question has the memory leak.
  9. Go back to the Windows Task Manager.
  10. Examine the "Handles" column for the process just noted in the previous steps. If the handles are in the multiple thousands, this could again indicate a problem.


Upgrade or stop the process that is questionable per the instructions above. If the program in question has a new version, it is worth trying or keeping the offending process stopped for a period of time to see if the memory leaks continue.
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