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Virtual Memory Too Low

Quoting: Jonni
At least once a day I get a little pop up on my screen saying that my "virtual memory is too low. Windows will fix it but it might refuse some requests during the process. And go to help to learn more."

Well, help doesn't help at all. I cannot find anything about this issue. My computer slows down a little for a while (5 minutes? maybe?) Then all seems well.

I want to know what I can do to help my computer not need to do this. Will deleting things help? I'm not sure even where to go to check on my computer's specs and memory used/available.


Well, for starters you could add more physical memory to your computer; it's not really that expensive at all now adays to max out the memory that a computer can use.

Generally speaking, these errors happen when programs utilize all of the available memory and then work on the virtual memory of the system; generally "memory leaks" in software can just eat and eat more and more resources (so no, it's not the pictures on your machine).

If you're one of those people who leave your computer on all of the time, you may consider making sure you close various programs that you use normally as they could be not releasing their resources to the computer when not in use.

Virtual memory (aka page file or swap file), is a file on your drive (usually pagefile.sys) your OS and programs use with physical memory when needed. The default and recommended size of the file is 1 to 2 times the total amount of ram. Virtual memory is the sum of physical memory and the page file. If your computer has 512mb of RAM it will have a 768mb page file as a default (total of 1.25 GB of physical + virtual memory).

You can hunt down what programs are the issue by right clicking on a blank area in your task bar and opening "Task Manager", from here go to "View" and choose "Select Columns" and from the new popup select the "Virtual Memory Size" option and press "ok".

Now select the "Processes" tab and click on the "VM Size" column header (on the words that say "VM Size" and it'll list everything according to smallest to largest (if you click again it'll list largest to smallest). You can see what programs are using the most virtual memory on your system.

These programs are ones you'll generally want to make sure are closed when you leave your PC unattended; it'll likely be your web browsers, media applications, etc.

In my case, i have FireFox which is using 191.5mb memory, and 177.8m of virtual memory; this is definably one which I'd want to make sure I'd close when not in use.
Posted on July 18th, 2008 - Updated on December 31st, 2010
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