Monday, September 9, 2019

Diagnosing a weird lack of RAM

Whilst recently playing Warframe, the game crashed with an "Out of Memory" error. I found this as a bit odd as I have 32GB RAM.

Checking Task Manager, I saw my RAM Usage was weirdly high (25GB / 31.9GB). After closing everything (Chrome, Discord, Visual Studio, SQL Server, etc), it was still sitting at 19GB which was still really high.

I downloaded the latest version of RAMMap to figure out what was going on. It didn't show any process leaking anything (I have had issues with excessive Modified Page List Bytes being used in the past since I intentionally have no Pagefile - But it wasn't the case here). Then I saw something odd.


The "Nonpaged Pool" (Whatever that was?) was using up 13.1GB RAM. I didn't realize that was unusual until I searched around and figured out that it should be taking around 500MB - Max - On a Server - With over 100 days uptime. Something was definitely up!

After extensive research, I found out that the "Nonpaged Pool" was a collection of RAM used up by System drivers. Most people simply recommended to reboot when it gets high, but that wasn't good enough for me - I wanted to figure out what was wrong!

I eventually came across this awesome page which got me to install the latest Windows SDK to get a process called "poolmon.exe" (Installing a 9GB SDK for a single app seems excessive, but I couldn't figure out any other way to get it...). After running the program and ordering things, the issue was immediately apparent.


Something with the tag of "AfdB" was using up 6821892960 Bytes (Or 6.8GB) of RAM, whilst the next highest thing "EtwB" was using up 33046784 Bytes (or 33MB) of RAM.

I opened up CMD and ran

> findstr /m /l /s AfdB C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\*.sys

And came up with two results.

> C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\afd.sys
> C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\EasyAntiCheat.sys

So, the problem was either in afd.sys (The "Ancillary Function Driver for WinSock"), or EasyAntiCheat.sys (A third-party anti-hacking program installed by some games). You can most likely guess which one was the issue :p

The EastAntiCheat.sys in my System32\Drivers folder was from 2016. The latest version correctly located at C:\Program Files (x86)\EasyAntiCheat\EasyAntiCheat.sys was from 2019. I rebooted in Safe Mode, deleted the one in System32, and rebooted again.

After 3 days of uptime, my PC is now sitting at a happy 5GB / 31.9GB, and the Non-paged pool is at a much happier 148MB. Much better :)

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