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Release Memory Utility

Memory Problems

Release Memory's uniqueness

When to use



Operation & Tips

Memory Fixes

Finder memory

System heap


Contacting us

Version Notes


Release Memory™ 1.1
Authored by Paul Lindblad
©2000-2002 Lindblad Architects All Rights Reserved
August 31, 2002

Requirements: Any Macintosh or compatible which uses AppleScript.

Memory problems

Macs will crash - as any computer is prone to do - although not as often as those running Windows 95/98. Statistically speaking, the Mac crashes most under certain circumstances, in which memory fragmentation reduces the amount of available memory and causes Memory Error-based crashes.

When you quit a program, the System does not make the memory (that was previously being used by the program) completely accessible or available - as if the program was still running. Mac OS applications do run out of application memory - no matter how much RAM you have configured on your Mac. (The Finder has the ability to temporarily "borrow" additional memory.)

Today's classic Mac OS does not re-distribute the extra memory when applications reach the limit of their memory allocation (required to prevent either Mac OS or the application from putting up an error panel or worse - crashing - even taking the OS down.) Your only choice is to restart the Mac.

Release Memory™ makes Macs more stable under a number of common conditions (such as the Finder unexpectedly quitting or giving you low-memory warnings.)

When you quit the Finder or your open applications, pockets of memory are trapped according to the order that you closed the Finder and open applications. It's best to quit applications in the order that you opened the applications to minimize this memory 'leakage'. For continued stability after quitting the Finder, you should restart your Mac.

What's unique about Release Memory™?

Under certain configurations of RAM usage, the meager amount of system heap memory that Mac OS Purge actually frees (about 100 K) disappoints me - as well as many other Mac users.

Release Memory™ reclaims a large amount of System memory in addition to a considerable amount of Finder memory memory - for immediate use in applications, saving you the time and trouble of quitting the Finder or restarting your Mac to recover lost memory.

Release Memory™ averts dangerously low memory conditions - in doing so, reduces the frequency of screen hangs, Finder freezes, and System crashes. Can you say hours and hours of restored stability?

Release Memory™ is a cool memory fix hack and imparts a long-yearned-for but to-date, unrealized stability in the Classic Macintosh OS.

When to use Release Memory

Run Release Memory™ when some application taking a soft landing - vanishing (without crashing the Mac OS) or when you get error panels (even while a sizable Largest Unused Block exists) which state:

'Low memory conditions. Close some windows or applications.'

MemoryMapper reflects these situations when Finder Free memory is zero K and System Heap Free memory hovers near zero K.

Installation and download matters

freeware: MemoryMapper (73 K):

freeware: Mac OS Purge (5 K): For a quick description, scroll down MacFixIt Download Library: G - Q to MacOS Purge.ƒ.sit

FiveDollarWare: Release Memory™ (21 K) - besides releasing memory - searches on your local volumes for the two required freewares, and moves them into the Release Memory folder. Either or both freewares are downloaded (if not found on your local volumes) using Netscape, Microsoft, iCab, or Cyberdog. Your wait time for the downloads to complete may vary.


To continue using Release Memory™ past the one month free trial period, you will be emailed a fully working, registered copy - without the annoying reminder panel - upon confirmation of your payment.

For a single user license, send US$5.49 to my email address: - by going to PayPal's site and selecting the 'Send Money' link (using your checking account - not a credit card) and entering my email address. Your browser must support 128-bit encryption & SSL 3.0, such as iCab offers at:

Operation and tips

Maintaining enough free and available Finder and System memory at all times is key to not getting screen hangs, Finder freezes, and System crashes. Run Release Memory™ with as many or few applications running which suits you - and run it as frequently as you wish.

Release Memory™ works with any application, especially games - and is a good companion to Cyberdog. OpenDoc's memory management is restored to working order quite nicely from this kind of adjustment.

The fewer applications open while Release Memory™ runs, the more memory is recovered for immediate application use. So, from within MemoryMapper's File menubar option, select 'Send Quit Event' for any number of open applications (starting with the bottom of the list). The effect will quit applications and 'unsandwich' trapped blocks of free memory, sequentially - including the largest 'trapped' block.

Then run Release Memory™. All open windows on your desktop will close. Memory Mapper will open for you to read the 'before' amounts of available Finder and System Heap free memory. Finder memory is freed up while Mac OS Purge runs once for each open process to free up System memory in a coordinated sequence to curtail dangerously low memory conditions both during the actual running of Release Memory™ and later when you're reopening and working in applications. Finally, you are given the option to run Mac OS Purge once more for perhaps an additional amount of memory recovery.

Lindblad Architects

Memory troubleshooting

1) If you're getting Finder Out of Memory errors without a lot of applications running, it's time you got Jerry's Finder 8 or 9 Patch to increase the size of the Finder heap. Download from Jerry Kindall's Manual Labor site:

2) Applications unexpectedly quitting? Easy; just increase memory in the Finder's Get Info pane.

3) Still, Finder and or applications slowing, freezing, crashing, or rudely quitting? You need to glue the fragmented memory together by quitting some app(s) and using the right utilities - for which Memory Mapper, Mac OS Purge, and Release Memory™ were made expressly for this fine tuning (to recycle otherwise lost memory).

4) If steps 1) through 3) don't solve your problems, there are other remedies such as but limited to (in no particular order) trashing your entire Preferences folder, restarting from the OS CD to trash Finder Preferences, zapping pRAM, rebuilding the desktop, or adding more RAM.

Restoring Finder memory

Release Memory™ automates the two methods of updating boot blocks which also - as importantly, restores Finder memory.

Method 1: Several MacFixit readers suggested that the 8.x Finder freeze was fixed by moving the Finder out and back into the System Folder. This updates the boot blocks. Corruption of the boot blocks may be the cause of some of the freeze problems.

Method 2: Brian Aslakson suggests that double-clicking the System file similarly updates the boot blocks - with the added benefit of checking for System file damage due to the fact that an error message most likely appears if the System file is damaged - although false error messages were associated with using Appearance Extension 1.0.2 (under OS 8.1). Reference:

System heap size

With every application you run so grows the System heap size - as you can read from MemoryMapper's listing. The OS-Application bloats the System heap size from opening and closing applications. Increased System Heap Size reflects application memory leaks which are inevitable from today's coding techniques.

Beta tester Wayne Marsh and I have found with repeated testing that Release Memory™ and MacOS Purge do not increase the size of System heap (not to be mistaken for the Free System Heap separate column).

Background reading

Release Memory™ plays a big part in solving problems discussed here:
Unusual RAM activity running in background - MacFixIt Forums
Finder crashes - MacFixIt Forums
Finder memory - MacFixIt Forums
Finder quitting - MacFixIt Forums
Allocation of ram - MacFixIt Forums
OS 8.6 memory management problems - MacFixIt Forums

Contacting us

For technical support or other questions, contact us at:

For downloading the latest version of Release Memory™, go to:

For information about Cyberdog and related AppleScripts, go to:

Version Notes

February 10, 2002: version 1.1
Updated payment specifics, references and links in the Read Me file. Added capability to the installer to locate a native PowerPC code MemoryMapper application (which would be stripped of 68K Code).

June 14, 2000: version 1.0
Initial release


Last Updated 10-25-2004
Copyright © Lindblad Architects 1998-2004 - All Rights Reserved