General discussion

Virtual Memory

For the last month, at least three or four times a week a window will pop up stating that "your Windows Virtual Memory is low". I've checked the usual suggestions that would be causing it to state that and it still keeps coming up.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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What were those usual suggestions?

I ask because we find users who recommend managing virtual memory, (the Page File), themselves, but we don't say that.

We recommend that you let the OS manage the page file and that will allow Windows to create or reduce as much hard disk space it needs, as it needs it.

The only proviso I can think of is if your hard disk is nearly full and Windows cannot find enough space on the hard disk for it's needs.

But your details are a little light on that. Tell us more about your system.


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Not sure exactly what system info you wanted.

Running Windows XP.

Total Physical Memory 512 MB
Available Physical Memory 141.48 MB
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
Page File Space 1.44 GB

Recycle Bin is empty.
I ran defragmenter and disk cleanup.
And this has been happening with no programs running...just while online.
I have firewall installed.
Is free of Trojans, virus, spyware and malware.

If you need any other info let me know.

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Hard disk space

Hard disk free space and used space.


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Hard disk space


Used Space is 39,614,431,232 bytes
Free Space is 280,447,631,360 bytes
Capacity is 320,062,062,592 bytes

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Thanks for that.

The amount of disk free space is more than enough, so that eliminates one possibility.

As Steven says there are other factors that can affect virtual memory. Can you just confirm that your Windows OS is set to manage the Page File? As I said before, that's what we normally recommend.

Your RAM. At 512 MB it is on the low side. XP should work perfectly well with it, but if you can increase the physical RAM to 1 GB, or even better, to 2 GB, you should find a marked improvement in performance.

With that 'lowish' RAM you will have to manage what is running. That means keeping Startup files to a minimum and seeing if you can turn off any unnecessary Services.


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Page File

I will look into increasing the RAM...that would make sense.

But you totally lost me as far as where to check that "Windows OS is set to manage Page File"...there are three options and I want to be sure to chose the correct one.

Custom Size 768-1568
System Managed Size
No paged file

Those are the three options.

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(NT) "System Managed size" is waht he means.
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System was not set to System Managed, so it is now.

I will check into adding additional RAM today.

Startup files are only what is necessary as far as I can tell plus Avast. I disabled most daily chores long ago.

Thanks so much, you guys are great and hopefully these changes will make a difference.

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That's a good clue

My own experience from these forums and elsewhere is that when the System Managed option is not selected, that is when we see most of these virtual memory errors.

I am betting that, now you have changed to system managed, those errors will go away.

Good luck.


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Post more about your system including physical RAM size

Your PC will begin to use virtual memory when physical memory isn't available. Virtual memory is the use of hard disk space to simulate RAM...or so to speak. If you haven't configured the maximum virtual memory size manually, Windows is doing this. So, what's happening is that you've run out of physical memory and your available virtual memory is in short supply. There can be many reasons for this. One is that your physical RAM amount is rather meager for what you want to do. Another is too many startup items being loaded or programs open at once. Still another is memory leaking software. Generally, this is temporarily resolved by shutting down and restarting your system. Some corrective actions to reduce or eliminate this from happening is to reduce the number of startup items, add more physical RAM, or manually adjust your swap file size. Adjusting the swap file would be my last alternative, however.

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