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Low Virtual Memory - Windows XP

by Willow74 / May 22, 2009 11:40 PM PDT

I keep getting low on virtual memory pop ups from my pc, I have a Dell with a pentium II processor 256 MB RAM, windows xp. I've got loads of disk space but keep getting this pop up, sometiems when i boot up i get a popup saying low on memory, or sometimes if my antivirus tries to update definitions id get an error - insufficient storage available.

I'ts so bad one or two programs (like browser or msn)will disappear on me. I use ccleaner and advanced system care to try and help but it only helps some. Any ideas anyone? Please help!

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Increase your pagefile and add RAM if space
by VAPCMD / May 23, 2009 3:57 AM PDT

and budget permits.


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The root problem
by Bob__B / May 23, 2009 6:15 AM PDT
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another thought
by quan7um / May 29, 2009 4:15 AM PDT

RAM is the component that allows for your speed on your computer. When you have too many things running at once, then the RAM gets full, and will overload. Since you are running on 256MB of RAM, then when you run some of these programs then your RAM will fill up. Then instead of freezing, it will access some of your hardrive space for help (a.k.a. virtual memory). With virtual memory, the computer can use hard disk space RAM. The computer uses virtual memory to augment the ordinary RAM that is installed on the computer. If you already have a low value set for your virtual memory, then it will give you this message to expand it. But in the process some of the programs you are currently using might not be able to work (like your antivirus updates). If you have plenty of hard drive space, then just increase you virtual memory by following these instructions.

1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
3. In the Performance pane, click Settings.
4. In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
5. In the Virtual memory pane, click Change.
6. Change the Initial size value and the Maximum size value to a higher value, click Set, and then click OK.
7. Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog box, and then click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.

If this doesn't help, then I would recommend two things...
1. Try not running as many programs at once.
2. Buy more RAM sticks and install them (unfortunately with older computers, which this can be even a year old in today's world of electronics, programs are getting more elaborate and will take more RAM anyways to run, so it is inevitable)

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hey thanx
by Willow74 / May 29, 2009 5:09 AM PDT
In reply to: another thought

Thank you so much for your advice, I'll certainly try your suggestion.

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RAM and Defrag
by Zouch / May 29, 2009 1:34 PM PDT

As others have suggested 256MB RAM is a bit tight for XP - you will be thrashing. If you can run to it, push it to 1 GB or at least 512 MB.

Your virtual memory is the sum of your RAM plus paging space. XP will automatically allocate pagespace (pagefile.sys in your root directory by default) based on the size of your installed RAM, so increasing your RAM will give you a double boost. You can manually increase the amount of pagespace available via Control Panel System, which will help until you get more RAM.

If you haven't defragmented your hard disk, give that a try. If it is heavily fragmented, there may be enough space but in too many fragments.

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Link to know more about VM.
by DKT27 / May 29, 2009 9:54 PM PDT

Try this link to know more about Virtual Memory on XP -

It gives you the idea what Virtual Memory you should set on XP with that 256MB of RAM.

Its better that you ugrade the PC, as P II processors are very slow. You can keep the hard dive even after upgrading.

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256 MB RAM?
by Flatworm / May 29, 2009 11:11 PM PDT

I have a friend with the same problem, also under XP on a Dell with 256 MB of RDRAM(?).

I checked out his machine and noticed that some processes were consuming so much RAM that they were pushing him into paging all the time, sometimes to an extent greater than the physical RAM he has installed.

He uses Verizon DSL as his ISP and has installed its security suite, for which they bill him $5.99/mo. This suite includes ZoneAlarm, some anti-virus, some anti-spyware, parental controls, and a number of other security apps that I have yet to identify. It is an absolute resource hog even worse than Norton used to be. When I kill off some of the worst offending processes the computer's response speeds up to acceptable levels, but those processes restart themselves within seconds.

It is also very, VERY difficult to remove. It's not a simple case of going to Add/Remove Programs -- this ALWAYS hangs up without successfully removing that crap. I am still working on it and I fear I may need to do some extremely delicate but extensive surgery on the Windows Registry to finally get it off his machine (Kids, don't try this at home!).

For nearly everyone on earth (there are a few exceptions but not a very high percentage of users), there are much better security solutions than this ultimately VERY expensive suite provides that won't bog down your computer. I have found that the Windows Firewall included with XP since the SP2 release is adequate for most folks when left at its default settings. Avira is an excellent freeware anti-virus program that keeps itself well updated and doesn't consume all your computer's resources (I used to love AVG Free but it larded up its once nice and clean app with so much cruft that it too now slows down XP machines unacceptably). Spybot S&D is a good choice for anti-spyware and anti-adware, as is Lavasoft's Ad-Aware. There are many good freeware disk cleaners (Wise Disk Cleaner being one of them) that are almost (but not quite) as good as the $29 Windows Washer.

I would bet that it is your security suite that is getting you down. The big names like Norton and McAfee (and others) are bad resource hogs (although the most recent release of Norton is much improved) and require a newer, much faster computer than was generally available even four years ago. Sometimes I think it's a conspiracy to get people to buy newer stuff.

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Virtual memory low
by jrap30 / May 31, 2009 1:56 AM PDT

I just want to add answers that were repeated numerous times last year. Virtual memory is NOT memory . It is allocated Hard disk space use to supplement memory memory. It goes back to W 95 and maybe W 3.1 days when memory was in single to double digits......4 Mbyts- 32 Mbytes.

And if you have just 256 Mbyte of RAM...XP runs just OK...not fast, takes a long time to boot up and shut down. You can not have too many applications or web pages open and forget about a Security suite and use just Windows firewall with an antivirus program running and a manual antispyware application that does not run in background.

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