Fixing Virtual Memory Issues

Posted by Bob, Slimware

In this article I will discuss...

What is Virtual Memory?

When you run a program on your computer, you use physical memory (RAM) to run it. You tell the computer to run the program and the processor pulls it from the hard drive and loads it into RAM so it can be worked with. You can only open so many programs until all of your RAM is being used. In order to open another program, you'd have to close one of the ones you have open in order to free up some space in RAM. Not with virtual memory!

Virtual memory is a technique utilized by your operating system in which it takes a chunk of your hard drive and uses it as memory. The programs you are running don't know the difference between physical memory and virtual memory, so it doesn't really matter that you run out of RAM, so long as you have some hard drive space as a backup for workspace. Essentially, you can choose to allocate as much free disk space as you have to be used for virtual memory. However, a hard drive is much, much slower than physical memory; therefore, it's not as reliable a place to run applications as physical memory, but it's a cost effective way to increase your workload without purchasing additional RAM.

If your virtual memory isn't configured appropriately to match your workload, you may receive an error from Windows saying that you have too little virtual memory or that your virtual memory is too low. This is often accompanied by a blue screen or can result in all of your programs being closed down and all of your work lost.

Virtual Memory Issues and How They Occur

Your operating system should be configured, by default, to allocate a certain size of the hard drive (typically 1.5 times the amount of RAM) to use as virtual memory when it is needed. The part of the hard drive that is used for virtual memory is called a page file or a swap file. You can increase or decrease the size of the page file in order to achieve a special result. Increasing the page file size will give you more virtual memory and thus more space to run programs but will decrease speed and performance, because the operating system will have to jump back and forth between physical memory and virtual memory to run the program. Remember, your hard drive is slower than RAM, relying on the hard drive as virtual memory too much decreases performance. Alternatively, if you have a surplus of RAM to run applications you can decrease the page file size to prevent applications from using the hard drive as virtual memory. You don't want to completely disable the page file, because many programs, the operating system included, expect that virtual memory to be there. Some programs even load several of their components into virtual memory but never access them.

Occasionally, you may give your computer more work than it can handle. You may unknowingly load more applications into your physical and virtual memory combined that there is simply no more room to work with and Windows will give you a virtual memory error. This error isn't fatal, it simply means you ran out of virtual memory. Other times, there may be errors in your system's configuration that cause virtual memory overload.

A virtual memory error doesn't necessarily mean something is broken, it means that you are out of memory. You may be able to prevent this buy doing one or both of these things: Add more RAM to your computer or increase the page file size, thus increasing your virtual memory pool. We've described some manual steps to take to solving virtual memory problems. You may already have the maximum amount of RAM that your motherboard and/or operating system will allow. In this case, your only options are to run less applications, which hardly anyone is willing to accept, or you can increase the page file size.

How to Easily Fix Virtual Memory Issues

Virtual memory problems, such as "low virtual memory", are not commonly caused by errors with your RAM or hard-drive themselves. Rather, these errors spring up because of system misconfigurations. A misconfiguration can range from something as simple as a number setting being too low, to random, seemingly unrelated errors in your system's registry. The bottom line is that it takes a proper diagnosis to determine how to fix a virtual memory problem.

We recommend you use SlimCleaner Plus by SlimWare Utilities to diagnose the reason behind your virtual memory issues. SlimCleaner Plus is certainly the easiest, fastest method to find errors within your computer, and has been downloaded by millions of users worldwide.
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