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Low Virtual Memory In XP

Carol writes:

I have a HP Pavilion PC, 512 RAM, 120GB HDD, Windows XP Home, SP3. Still have about 49GB unused on Hard Drive, but recently I’ve been getting messages about “low virtual memory.” I don’t want to get rid of the computer, even though it’s slowing down a bit, so any input would be great. I really don’t understand paging files, so I appreciate your advice. BTW, love purchasing stuff from Worldstart, and really enjoy these weekly e-newsletters. Thanks!

If your virtual memory is low, the computer may be set to a static swap file (virtual memory) that is too small. The good news is the fix is pretty easy.

Click Start, then right-click on My Computer (or if you have My Computer on your desktop, right click My Computer). Now click properties.

In the resulting window, click on the Advanced tab then on Settings in the Performance section.

In Performance Options, click on the Advanced tab then Change under Virtual Memory section.

Finally, in the Virtual Memory window, click on C:, and put a dot in the Custom Size radio button. Now type in a number at least 1.5x the size of your memory in megabytes. In the case of 512 MB of RAM, the minimum starting is 768, but I’d set it at 2048 initial/2048 maximum or even 4092 initial/4092 maximum. Very large amounts will not be helpful, so going too far won’t improve things, but too small can result in low virtual memory messages.

Finally click OK and reboot your computer. That’s it!

P.S. I’d highly recommend upgrading your memory to 1GB or 2 GB of physical RAM. You’ll see a massive performance boost, and if you buy the memory online you’ll get a great deal (make sure to check your model for the right memory; crucial has a great memory adviser to let you know which RAM you need – check it out here [1].) Upgrading your memory is as simple as pulling the release tabs of the existing memory and pushing the new memory in place and can be done at home.