Virtual Memory is too low

virtual-memory-error1Perhaps you have seen this problem while working on your PC: You are surfing the net, writing a document or listening to music when suddenly a new window pops up warning you that your virtual memory is too low. You are asked to close some applications or you won’t be able to continue using your PC.

This happens usually when you use several programs at once and your computer’s performance goes down. If your PC is old and slow, this message shouldn’t come as a surprise. The computer is using up all the RAM (memory used to run some programs such as Microsoft Office) and all the extra space on your hard drive that is made available by the Windows system. This extra space is called virtual memory and it’s used when there is not enough physical RAM available. Without it, your computer would freeze constantly.

There are two solutions to fix this problem:

1. Increase the virtual memory size:

Windows sets the amount of virtual memory (space on the hard drive that will be used as RAM) by default, but you can increase this size if there is plenty of free space on your hard drive. If you are using Windows XP, go to the My Computer icon in the Start Menu or on your desktop, right click on it and select Properties. Next, click on Advanced and then on Settings in the Performance area. In the new window, click on the Advanced tab and you’ll see the Virtual Memory settings at the bottom. Click on the Change button. In the custom size and maximum size (both 768MB by default) fields, you can delete the current value and change it to 1152MB, as recommended by Microsoft, or double it if you think 1.5 times more is not enough. Then click on Set, close all windows and restart your PC.

2. Add more RAM:

If you think you don’t have enough physical RAM, then it’s a good idea to add more. Consult your motherboard manual to see what kind of RAM you need. For Windows XP, I recommend at least 512MB of RAM; and for Windows Vista at least 1GB.

After either one of these changes, you computer should run faster and the virtual memory too low message should not appear again.

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