Below is an EtreCheck report on my system. My problem is that I have <3 GB or 2.5 GB even after a reboot, with relatively few menu bar applications starting up. (This drops to 20-300 MB once Chrome is running!) I know I could try a clean install, maybe that would take me less time than a cleanup. Still, if I'd start a cleanup, which seem the more important things to start with? Launch agents or launch daemons? Any of them in particular? Extensions? Any of them is more notorious than others? Thanks.

Problem description: My system has less than 3 GB free RAM (out of 8) even right after a reboot.

EtreCheck version: 2.1.8 (121)
Report generated February 27, 2015 at 10:17:56 AM EST
Download EtreCheck from http://etresoft.com/etrecheck

Click the [Click for support] links for help with non-Apple products.
Click the [Click for details] links for more information about that line.

Hardware Information: ℹ️
    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011) (Technical Specifications)
    MacBook Pro - model: MacBookPro8,1
    1 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 CPU: 2-core
    8 GB RAM Upgradeable
        BANK 0/DIMM0
            4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz ok
        BANK 1/DIMM0
            4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz ok
    Bluetooth: Old - Handoff/Airdrop2 not supported
    Wireless:  en1: 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Battery Health: Normal - Cycle count 503

Video Information: ℹ️
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 - VRAM: 512 MB
        Color LCD 1280 x 800

System Software: ℹ️
    OS X 10.10.2 (14C109) - Time since boot: 0:10:11

Disk Information: ℹ️
    Hitachi HTS545032B9A302 disk0 : (320.07 GB)
        EFI (disk0s1) <not mounted> : 210 MB 
        Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted>  [Recovery]: 650 MB 
        Macintosh HD (disk1) / : 317.09 GB (74.66 GB free)
            Core Storage: disk0s2 319.21 GB Online

    MATSHITADVD-R   UJ-898  

USB Information: ℹ️
    Apple Inc. FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in) 
    Apple Inc. Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad 
    Apple Inc. BRCM2070 Hub 
        Apple Inc. Bluetooth USB Host Controller 
    Apple Inc. iPhone 
    Apple Computer, Inc. IR Receiver 

Thunderbolt Information: ℹ️
    Apple Inc. thunderbolt_bus

Configuration files: ℹ️
    /etc/launchd.conf - Exists

Gatekeeper: ℹ️
    Mac App Store and identified developers

Kernel Extensions: ℹ️
        /Applications/CyberGhost 5.app
    [not loaded]    foo.tap (1.0) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    foo.tun (1.0) [Click for support]

    [not loaded]    com.alsoft.Preview (4.1) [Click for support]

    [loaded]    com.karios.driver.DuetDisplay (1 - SDK 10.10) [Click for support]

    [not loaded]    com.Huawei.driver.HuaweiDataCardDriver (4.0.8) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.ZTE.driver.ZTEUSBCDCACMData (1.3.9) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.ZTE.driver.ZTEUSBMassStorageFilter (1.3.9) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.flipvideo.IOUSBCameraMassStorage (1.0.0) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.joshuawise.kexts.HoRNDIS (1.0.0d1 - SDK 10.6) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.prolific.driver.PL2303 (2.0.0) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.ximeta.driver.NDASFamily (1.8.0) [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.ximeta.nke.netlpx (2.2.4) [Click for support]

        /Users/[redacted]/Library/Application Support/Sparkle/Transmit/Transmit 4.1.7 Update/Transmit.app
    [not loaded]    com.panic.TransmitDisk.transmitdiskfs (3.0.0 - SDK 10.5) [Click for support]

Launch Agents: ℹ️
    [loaded]    com.cisco.anyconnect.gui.plist [Click for support]
    [running]    com.github.dnscrypt-osxclient.DNSCryptMenuBar.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.google.keystone.agent.plist [Click for support]
    [failed]    com.opendns.osx.DNSCryptMenuBar.plist [Click for support] [Click for details]
    [loaded]    com.oracle.java.Java-Updater.plist [Click for support]
    [running]    com.sassafras.KeyAccess.plist [Click for support]
    [running]    net.culater.SIMBL.Agent.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    org.macosforge.xquartz.startx.plist [Click for support]

Launch Daemons: ℹ️
    [loaded]    com.adobe.fpsaud.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.barebones.authd.plist [Click for support]
    [not loaded]    com.barebones.bbedit.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.barebones.textwrangler.plist [Click for support]
    [running]    com.cisco.anyconnect.vpnagentd.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.cyberghostsrl.CyberghostPrivilegedHelper.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.github.dnscrypt-osxclient.DNSCryptAfterboot.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.github.dnscrypt-osxclient.DNSCryptConsoleChange.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.github.dnscrypt-osxclient.DNSCryptControlChange.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.github.dnscrypt-osxclient.DNSCryptNetworkChange.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.github.GitHub.GHInstallCLI.plist [Click for support]
    [failed]    com.google.GoogleML.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.google.keystone.daemon.plist [Click for support]
    [running]    com.hanynet.icefloor.plist [Click for support]
    [failed]    com.hanynet.pflists.emergingthreats.plist [Click for support] [Click for details]
    [loaded]    com.linksys.linksysconnect.daemon.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.oracle.java.Helper-Tool.plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    org.macosforge.xquartz.privileged_startx.plist [Click for support]

User Launch Agents: ℹ️
    [loaded]    com.adobe.ARM.[...].plist [Click for support]
    [loaded]    com.citrixonline.GoToMeeting.G2MUpdate.plist [Click for support]
    [running]    com.spotify.webhelper.plist [Click for support]

User Login Items: ℹ️
    duet    Application  (/Applications/Duet.app)
    Arq Agent    Application  (/Applications/Arq.app/Contents/Library/LoginItems/Arq Agent.app)
    Dropbox    Application  (/Applications/Dropbox.app)
    Spotify    Application  (/Applications/Spotify.app)

Internet Plug-ins: ℹ️
    o1dbrowserplugin: Version: - SDK 10.8 [Click for support]
    nplastpass: Version: 2.5.5 [Click for support]
    Default Browser: Version: 600 - SDK 10.10
    AdobePDFViewerNPAPI: Version: 11.0.10 - SDK 10.6 [Click for support]
    FlashPlayer-10.6: Version: - SDK 10.6 [Click for support]
    Silverlight: Version: 5.1.30214.0 - SDK 10.6 [Click for support]
    WidevineMediaOptimizer: Version: - SDK 10.7 [Click for support]
    Flash Player: Version: - SDK 10.6 [Click for support]
    QuickTime Plugin: Version: 7.7.3
    googletalkbrowserplugin: Version: - SDK 10.8 [Click for support]
    Mathematica: Version: 10.0.0 - SDK 10.8 [Click for support]
    AdobePDFViewer: Version: 11.0.10 - SDK 10.6 [Click for support]
    JavaAppletPlugin: Version: Java 9 Check version

User internet Plug-ins: ℹ️
    CitrixOnlineWebDeploymentPlugin: Version: 1.0.105 [Click for support]

Safari Extensions: ℹ️
    Open in Internet Explorer

3rd Party Preference Panes: ℹ️
    Diablotin  [Click for support]
    DNSCrypt  [Click for support]
    Flash Player  [Click for support]
    Java  [Click for support]
    MusicManager  [Click for support]
    TeXDistPrefPane  [Click for support]

Time Machine: ℹ️
    Skip System Files: NO
    Mobile backups: ON
    Auto backup: NO - Auto backup turned off
    Volumes being backed up:
        Macintosh HD: Disk size: 317.09 GB Disk used: 242.43 GB
        Time Capsule [Local] 
        Total size: 399.74 GB 
        Total number of backups: 0 
        Oldest backup: - 
        Last backup: - 
        Size of backup disk: Too small
            Backup size 399.74 GB < (Disk used 242.43 GB X 3)

Top Processes by CPU: ℹ️
         6%    WindowServer
         2%    csh
         1%    ksh
         1%    Dropbox
         1%    com.pushbullet.macapp-notifications

Top Processes by Memory: ℹ️
    266 MB    mds_stores
    241 MB    CalendarAgent
    223 MB    callservicesd
    215 MB    soagent
    137 MB    ocspd

Virtual Memory Information: ℹ️
    3.90 GB    Free RAM
    2.60 GB    Active RAM
    649 MB    Inactive RAM
    1.44 GB    Wired RAM
    1.70 GB    Page-ins
    0 B    Page-outs

Diagnostics Information: ℹ️
    Feb 27, 2015, 10:04:09 AM    Self test - passed
    Feb 26, 2015, 04:36:19 PM    /Users/[redacted]/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/EtreCheck_2015-02-26-163619_[redacted].crash
    Feb 24, 2015, 04:34:45 PM    /Users/[redacted]/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/garcon_2015-02-24-163445_[redacted].crash
  • 1
    For best efficiency there should be no free RAM it all should be in use for caches etc? What is running slowly and what does activity monitor show – user151019 Feb 27 '15 at 16:49
  • Well, Chrome is a memory hog for sure. Easily losing 2 extra GBs from the 3 left free even if only 3 tabs are open. Many other operations are sluggish, esp. the Finder (shall I suspect Dropbox?). I was suspecting disk intensive operations to be slow (esp. on a spinning HDD), but running down to 30-200 MB free RAM makes me suspicious that Yosemite is not that efficient managing caches and RAM. Or what could I check for you, and how? – László Feb 27 '15 at 19:08
  • What happens to the RAM usage if you open other applications than Chrome or an another web browser like Safari? Google Chrome is known to use much RAM but not that much as you describe. – Dempa Feb 27 '15 at 21:40
  • @Dempa I use Chrome Canary with quite a few flags turned on, maybe it does eat a few GBs. But even in that case, I would expect Yosemite release some RAM if it was hoarding it only "just in case" while it could. When I am down to 300MB or less, I cannot accept the OS still taking up 5GB and not releasing it. That's not smart caching, that's a memory leak. What else is there to do to investigate? – László Feb 27 '15 at 22:13
  • @László Does the extreme RAM use only happen after launching Chrome or does it happen if you open other apps and when the OS is just running by itself? – Dempa Feb 27 '15 at 22:22

Stop focussing on the amount of free RAM, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with system performance. As others have mentioned the operating system will keep recently used files in caches to improve performance, but it frees up that memory very quickly as soon as something else needs it. Low free RAM isn't necessarily a cause for concern.

If you want to confirm whether lack of RAM is a problem, then try to run your system for a typical day of use and then run EtreCheck. Check the Page-Outs values at the bottom of the report. If Page-Outs is high (measured in GBs) then you likely need more RAM for whatever you are doing on your Mac.

Aside from that you do have a lot of extensions, agents, daemons, etc though. You are right to be focussing on them. There are none listed that stand out to me as particularly problematic, so I'd recommend starting by removing the ones you don't need. Things that you installed to try out but then forgot about after trying them once or twice, or things that are remnants of old software you no longer use (for example I think the "Open in Internet Explorer" Safari extension is installed by Parallels; if you no longer use Parallels then remove the extension). Then focus on the ones that say "running" or "loaded" as they are actually using resources on your machine.

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