Memory Creep

Running in Win 2000 with Service Pack 4 I have noticed the following phenomenon when doing development work. I run several development programs concurrently switching between Dreamweaver MX, Flash, Eclipse, and Netbeans. Usually Tomcat, Apache, JRun, Opera, Mozilla, and IE are available for testing purposes plus Paintshop Pro or Photoshop for quick visual touch ups. Dreamweaver and Apache/Tomcat or Apache/JRun stay up continually. The other programs wink on and off as needed.

After boot up, memory usage is about 220MB, handles 12000, threads 400, processes 30. By the end of the day memory is typically at 320-350MB, handles 15-18000, threads 600-700, and processes 50-60. If I work through the night or leave the machine up doing some long conversion processing – typically an “art job” – Photoshop batch processing on hundreds of large images followed by a defragmentation – my memory usage then reads:
390-420K, handles 20,000++ threads 900, processes 50-60.
But the killer is that response time for context switching is atrocious. Typically, switching between browsers which at the beginning of the day took less than a second now grind on for 10-15 seconds as swapfiles are moved in and out in obvious thrashing.

My question is this – is this inevitable ?

Do Mac or Solaris or Linux users see the same memory leak and resource/handles mismanagement over the course of a day ? Are modern day operating systems inherently leaky and have to be rebooted at least once a day ? Is this phenomenon the fault of the OS or some bad program(s) in my mix which have memory and other resource leaks?

It is sort of like my registry which is now about 100mb in size and constantly growing as I install, test, and uninstall a constant stream of programs – and despite all care and Norton and Registry Medics assistance the darn thing just grows like a mole. My questions are really twofold:
1)Is memory bloat inevitable ?
2)Is reboot every day the only practicable solution ?
Any or all assistance will be appreciated.

A pretty leaky editor himself.