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Sasquatch Alert: Downsizing ArcMap's Memory Footprint

Blog Post created by geonetadmin on Apr 9, 2010
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Hello, this is Cassandra bringing you another blog about improving your performance with our software. Many ArcGIS Desktop users have noticed how much memory ArcMap takes when it is running, so today I've got some tips on reducing the amount of memory or memory footprint ArcMap requires:

  • An extension only consumes memory when it is enabled, so disable any unneeded extensions. For most ArcGIS Desktop extensions, navigate to Tools > Extensions in either ArcMap or ArcCatalog. Click to uncheck any unneeded extensions and click Close.


  • Uninstall any unnecessary 3rd-party plug-ins or extensions. I've worked with many customers who had numerous plug-ins or extensions installed that they said they weren't ever using or were no longer using. Even if you aren't using them, most 3rd-party tools still load when ArcMap starts, so remove any you aren't using to help ArcMap's performance.


  • If you are using custom code, check for memory allocation issues.


  • Reduce the number of layers in your map. ArcMap must still perform memory intensive processes on all layers that are checked on, even if they are outside the visible extent of the data frame. So, if they are not necessary, remove them.


  • When using direct connect, limit the allocation of large buffers in the SERVER_CONFIG table.


  • Finally, remember that the amount of memory available to a Windows application is marshaled by the operating system, so while you may be running a memory intensive process, you may not see ArcMap take more than a certain amount of memory available on your computer.

For more performance tips, search the Knowledge Base on 'improve performance'. Some of my favorite knowledge base articles on this topic include KB 33325, KB 33098, and KB 34043.

-Cassandra L., Desktop Support Analyst, ESRI Support Services


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