Long-time subscriber Randi Zaduk wrote me a question via my Contact Form, which is at the bottom of my website pages:
I play a lot of jigsaw puzzles on the computer and was wondering if that uses to much memory and is there a way to clean it up once in awhile. Thanks Randi
I wrote back to Randi to tell her that, for most programs, it should not be a problem.
She had not mentioned whether the programs were installed on her computer or running from a web site.
However, either way, poor programming can cause the program to grab memory and then to never release it, even when she exits the program.
Each version of Windows has gotten a little better at preventing this problem (which is called "memory leakage". However, it’s still not perfect.
That’s one of the reasons that Windows likes to be rebooted occasionally.
It’s also one of the reasons that the first answer from anyone performing technical support will give. Rebooting Windows solves many problems. Read more in my article Computer Troubleshooting — The Number 1 Step.
Sometimes, Windows gets so confused, or a program gets in a loop, such that the program simply will not respond to input. That’s when you have to give Windows the infamous Three Finger Salute (Control-Alt-Delete). Fortunately, most of the time, Windows will respond and let you close a malfunctioning program at that point.
Occasionally, you can not successfully shut down a program. At that point, you can try to reboot Windows via the Start menu, but you’ll probably be unsuccessful. You will probably have to do a manual power-off by holding in the power button for 8-10 seconds.
If you do the manual power-off button, Windows is not able to shut down properly. When you turn on your computer again, watch the hard drive. Windows will continue to do internal repairs even after it gives you the desktop and control of the mouse.
Be sure to let Windows finish its cleanup before trying to do anything — or you may have Windows crash and have to reboot all over again.