Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:08 PM
Virtual memory (sometimes called the "page file" or "swap file") is space on your hard drive that Windows uses in addition to actual RAM memory; think of it as an way to handle RAM overflow.
A low virtual memory warning can occur if:
1. You have too many applications open at the same time.
2. Poorly coded applications causing memory leaks (using more and more memory without clearing it out when the application closes, for example).
3. Not having sufficient RAM, causing extensive use of the swap file the size of which has been manually reduced.
4. Not having enough RAM for your computing needs. Windows allocates by default 1.5 times your actual RAM for your swap file. If you have 512MB RAM, it will allocate 768MB file space, for a total of 1.24GIGs of virtual memory. However, if you are operating XP on 256MB of RAM, the swap file is 384MB for 640MB. Windows XP takes a great deal of memory just to run itself, opening Word or Excel and a browser and a picture editor, malware, and.... may very well strain both the 256MB of RAM and the allocated page file space to the point where Windows issue a low memory warning.
To remedy this situation:
1. Review the running process in Task Manager to determine if you have any "rogue" applications running.
2. Purchase and install additional RAM (this will improve performance and also increase the default size of the page file).
3. Habitually close any applications you are not currently using; turn off your computer occasionally to close any memory leaks and reset the operating system.
4. Manually increase the page file size.
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.