Make the Most of Your PC with These Virtual Memory Tips
Just about every computer user has experienced the dreaded “virtual memory too low” message, often followed by freezing programs, unstable performance and other major issues. Virtual memory can be a tricky thing to manage, but understanding how it works can help you make the most of the resources at your disposal. Windows automatically sets the amount of virtual memory based on the amount of RAM in your system, but at times tweaking those settings can give you better performance and reduce crashes.
What is Virtual Memory?
When you run programs on your computer that data used to run those programs is stored in RAM. That is why it is important for computer users to take a close look at the amount of RAM installed in their systems. Simply adding additional memory is one of the most cost effective ways to boost performance and reduce virtual memory programs. When you install additional RAM Windows will automatically increase the amount of virtual memory you have to work with, and that alone can help your system run more smoothly.
Choosing the Right Virtual Memory Size
The Windows operating system will automatically set the size of the system’s virtual memory to 1.5 times the amount of installed RAM. In most cases this automatically generated size will be sufficient for keeping the computer free of virtual memory errors, assuming of course that your system contains enough memory to run the programs you need.
Even so users who are receiving frequent virtual memory errors may want to try resetting the size of their paging files. Doing so is easy, so it is quite simple to experiment with different virtual memory settings. To set the size of the system’s paging file just right click on My Computer and choose Properties from the list. Next select the Advanced tab and click on Preferences. Click the Advanced tab and click the Virtual Memory tab.
Check Your Resource Usage
Sometimes changing the size of the paging file will not completely eliminate virtual memory issues. If those virtual memory issues continue to appear even after the size of the paging file has been increased it is a good idea to take a look at which programs are consuming the most resources. To do that right click on an empty spot on the taskbar and choose Task Manager from the menu. When Task Manager appears click the Processes tab and sort by Memory Usage. You can easily see which programs are consuming all that memory.
In some cases you may be able to reduce that memory usage by running a repair on the program or reinstalling it, but if the memory usage remains high it may be a good idea to invest in some additional RAM. Compared to the cost of some other upgrades, adding memory to a PC is very cheap, and adding more memory can make all of your programs run more smoothly.
If you have set a custom virtual memory size you will need to go back in after the memory has been added and adjust the minimum size of the paging file to 1.5 times the new RAM size.
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