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Virtual memory

tonka
Grafter
Posts: 107
Registered: 31-07-2007

Virtual memory

Hi i have been having slight problems with virtual memory warning popping up now and again and also mouse pointer freezing on my page and have to re-boot to free it,is this a virtual memory problem?
I have 512 mb of ram and space available is 81117mb,initial size is 2048 and max size is set to 2048.
19 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,030
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Virtual memory

You don't say what operating system you are using but I assume it is XP. and that the graphics run off the system memory
You could try letting Windows decide the size or raise the upper limit to 3000MB
Of course what you actually should do is stick a load more memory in. I would recommend 2GB
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Virtual memory

Quote from: Oldjim
You don't say what operating system you are using but I assume it is XP.

Weird. I posted almost exactly the same query a while back and it's just disappeared.  Huh
Agree 100% with OldJim re VM settings and RAM upgrade.  Cool
tonka
Grafter
Posts: 107
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Virtual memory

Thx for reply guys,it is windows xp i am running,didnt really want to upgrade any at mo as its a oldish system and was saving for newer one so was just looking at short term fix to stop mouse pointer probs and it annoying me with messages,not sure if the problems are linked was just running down options.
rongtw
Seasoned Hero
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Registered: 01-12-2010

Re: Virtual memory

another thing to consider , Is your hard drive Full ? , have you enough free space , have done a defrag ?  all of these will degrade the speed of your PC
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Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Virtual memory

When you reboot in order to re-enable the mouse, just after start-up does it say something like -
ESCD successfully updated

If so, then your problem is possibly the lithium battery on the motherboard (which should be replaced every few years anyway),
as the voltage has become too low to maintain the non-volatile settings in the BIOS, one of which is how the mouse should be detected and reported.
The battery is usually a cheap "CR2032" and is easily changed.
Remember to remove all power from the computer before you do it, and then afterwards in the BIOS "Load default settings" and then tweek the other values to suit.
I think the mouse issue and virtual memory warnings, are unrelated problems.
I would also advise to upgrade the memory (while you have the case apart for the battery), as even a small increase to 1GB or 1.5GB will make a big change in performance on an XP machine.
Try getting the details of the required memory from your system handbook, or try running the Crucial "System Scanner".
If you get your memory from eBay, you should be able to pick up fast rated 512MB DDR or DDR2 sticks for about £7, or 1GB sticks for £12 - including postage.
Once ANY new memory is installed, check it using Memtest86+ - preferably for 24 hours with the case closed so the PC runs at full temperature.
With ANY change to the physical amount of RAM fitted, remember to adjust the Windows virtual memory settings accordingly.
KenA
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: 28-08-2007

Re: Virtual memory

An inability to page out memory to disk fast enough can cause this.  I suggest defragmenting the disk and ensuring the pagefile is not fragmented.
If the pagefile is badly fragmented, you can disable it, reboot, delete the file, defragement, enable it and reboot again.  Use google for detailed instructions.  I tried this a couple of years ago and it worked well.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Virtual memory

This utility is good for defragmenting the page file etc. but lack of ram sounds like the primary problem.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897426
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,868
Thanks: 126
Fixes: 24
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Virtual memory

Lack of RAM, rubbish!  What percentage of computers running Windows XP were sold with more than 512 MB of RAM?  I'd be very surprised if it was as much as 10%.  Now modern security software tends to be more demanding of memory than the versions that were around in the XP era and so you need to be more selective about what security software you use but you still should be alright with 512 MB of RAM.  Of course, if you added more real memory your computer will be less likely to need to use virtual memory but that is working around the problem rather than discovering the cause and solving it (without recourse to cash).
If you let Windows pick the quantity of virtual memory it would choose a maximum of 768 MB (1.5 times the installed RAM) so your 2048 MB is much larger than this.  Therefore KenA provides the only logical explanation of why you might be seeing a virtual memory warning.  
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Virtual memory

Someone is forgetting about Service Packs, Windows Updates, applications that have memeory-resident (loaded at startup) services etc. etc.,  Roll eyes
512MB maybe 10 years ago, now in the "real world" it's a very rare XP system (with a very dedicated technical user) that will run at top efficiency in that space.  Cool
Community Veteran
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Virtual memory

Are the Service Packs and updates more demanding of memory than the original XP software they replace?  Perhaps so, but I don't see why.  Memory-resident application are a real problem as computers tend to accumulate these over time and that degrades performance.  But stringent housekeeping can deal with that.  And even with all these extra encumbrances, I've seen hundreds of XP computer with 512 MB of RAM that don't ever report that virtual memory is low.
If you want top efficiency by all means get more memory but get it together with a new motherboard, processor, and peripheral hardware - get a new computer.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Virtual memory

[quote=ReedRichards]If you want top efficiency by all means get more memory but get it together with a new motherboard, processor, and peripheral hardware - get a new computer.
Nonsense, reformat the hard drive and install Linux - problem solved !  Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,868
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Fixes: 24
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Virtual memory

Quote from: purleigh
Nonsense, reformat the hard drive and install ....

Well actually, re-installing any operating system from scratch, even (gasp) Windows, would most likely solve this particular problem. 
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,718
Thanks: 931
Fixes: 10
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Virtual memory

Restart the PC and before you start any applications go in to task manager. Go to the performance tab and look at the figure for Total Commit Charge and compare it to the total physical memory. If the commit charge is near (or above) the phsical memory the PC will be slow. From there you can do two things.
Firstly look at all the programs that run on startup - you may find a number in there which are updaters (i.e. checking to see if a later version of software is available) or other things that you don't actually need to be running in the background. If you disable those it will free up more memory for the programs you do want to run.
If after looking at that the commit charge is still high compared to the memory size, putting in more memory will make a dramatic difference.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Virtual memory

I would never recommend anyone running XP SP3 to have less than 1GB of ram for anything like usable performance. Lack of ram, especially if some of it is used for graphics makes a huge performance hit, especially now you also need to run decent firewalls and anti-virus programs, bigget browsers and all te other accumulated software that often installed background processes. It does not take much to hit memory shortages now-a-days.
Ram for your age of PC is likely to be very cheap on ebay, adding 1GB should be less than £20. You need to check you get the right type and Don't forget to increase the pagefile to twice the ram, and use a fixed size (after defragging).
A disk defrag is also recommended - the included XP defrag program is useless - I would recommend using periform defragger or MyDefrag