Running Low On Virtual Memory

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Running Low On Virtual Memory

Postby moongirl » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:00 am

I get this message frequently...
"Your system is low on virtual memory.
Windows is increasing the size of your virtual memory paging file."

I've always associated it with my love of animations.
I'm most impressed with this very comprehensive answer to the problem from:
http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_can_i_ ... ndows.html


I'm going to assume you're running Windows XP, and seeing a message stating "Your system is low on virtual memory. Windows is increasing the size of your virtual memory paging file." Unless you have very little physical memory (RAM) in your system, this message is indicative of a buggy application with a memory leak.

A memory leak is a common problem caused by poorly written or poorly debugged applications where they continually use more and more memory until you shut down the program, end the process manually or restart Microsoft Windows.

Virtual memory, also known as a page file or swap file, is a file on your hard drive (C:\pagefile.sys by default) that Windows and applications use in addition to physical memory (RAM) as needed. The default and recommended size of this file is 1.5 times the amount of physical memory. Virtual memory is the sum of physical memory and the page file. So if your computer has 512 MB RAM, it will have a 768 MB page file by default, for a total of 1.25 GB of physical + virtual memory.

Finding the source of the problem

First you need to determine which application is causing the problem.

Hit Control-Alt-Delete to bring up Task Manager (on certain XP Professional configurations you'll need to click the Task Manager button after hitting Control-Alt-Delete). You can also access Task Manager by holding down Control and Shift and pressing Escape.

Go to the Processes tab in Task Manager. Here you will see a list of all the processes (applications or parts thereof) that are running on your system. You will see the memory usage here, but in my experience this very rarely has anything to do with problems running low on virtual memory.

Click View, Select Columns.
Windows Task Manager View Menu

Check the Virtual Memory Size box, as circled in the screen shot below and click OK.
Windows Task Manager Virtual Memory Size

Now you have a VM Size column in your Processes tab. Click the top of the VM Size column (as circled below) twice to arrange the processes by their VM Size from largest to smallest.
Windows Task Manager: Processes

You'll see in this Task Manager shot that Mozilla Firefox is taking up the most virtual memory at about 237 MB, with Internet Explorer the next biggest at about 81 MB. (the number of KB divided by 1024 equals MB) For both, this is the consequence of leaving them open for more than a week straight. Almost every application will use more memory the longer you keep it open, though some are worse than others. This is one reason that Windows becomes more and more unresponsive the longer you keep it running, and why you end up eeding to restart your computer periodically.

Once you determine which process is using more virtual memory than it should, you need to determine what the process is. Some are pretty obvious, like winword.exe is Microsoft Word, iexplore.exe is Internet Explorer, and so on. Others aren't so obvious. The best way to determine the source of a specific process is to use a search engine to search for the Image Name as shown in Task Manager.

Resolution

Now that you know which application is causing the problem, let's resolve it.

One common thing to try is to uninstall and reinstall the offending application if possible. Searching the Internet, and checking the support site of the software vendor would be the next two steps I would try. Without knowing which application is at fault, it's difficult to recommend a specific solution.


For the full article with screenshots go to:
http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_can_i_ ... ndows.html
Image
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Re: Running Low On Virtual Memory

Postby moongirl » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:11 am

Solving the problem... help from Microsoft.

1.You keep getting a "your system is running low on virtual memory" message
Perhaps you're more than familiar with this scenario: You're working on your PC and notice performance getting gradually slower and slower. Programs become harder to open and close. You wait forever for Web pages to display. And then, you get some serious-sounding "virtual memory is too low" message, like the one displayed below.

Don't worry: This message isn't as scary as it sounds.

Virtual memory is the space your PC uses when it's short of RAM (Random Access Memory), which is the memory used when running programs like Microsoft Office Word or Microsoft Office PowerPoint.

So what can you do to correct this problem and prevent this message from coming up in the future? The following are some solutions to keep your PC from displaying the "virtual memory minimum is too low" message.

Solution #1: Bump up the virtual memory size on your PC

The first solution is to increase your PC's virtual memory settings. To do so, you first need to determine how much RAM you currently have.

To increase the virtual memory on your Windows XP computer:

1. On the Start menu, click My Computer. The My Computer window is displayed. Click View system information (located on the left-side of the My Computer window). The Systems Properties dialog box is displayed.

2. In the Systems Properties dialog box click the Advanced tab. Under Performance, click Settings. The Performance Options dialog box is displayed.

3. In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab. Find the Virtual memory area. Click Change. The Virtual Memory dialog box is displayed.

Solution #2: Add more RAM to your PC

If you keep getting that dreaded "Your system is running low on virtual memory" message – even after you've increased your PCs virtual memory – then you may need to buy more memory for your PC. To really work well, Windows XP needs a minimum of 256MB of RAM. Windows Vista needs at least 512 MB of RAM to run, but for some applications (like gaming), 1 GB or more of RAM is recommended. The more RAM you have, the better.

If you're at work, you should contact your company's IT administrator before updating the memory on your computer. They may have some available and can help you install it.

If you do need to purchase some more memory, stop by your local computer shop. You can probably buy memory from them, and they'll probably install it for you. Or, you can buy memory online.

For the full article with screenshots go to:
http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/getstar ... blems.mspx
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