Clarification to “Low Virtual Memory…GRR!”

55 pts.
Tags:
Memory management
Office 2003
Virtual memory
Windows XP
Windows XP SP3
We have a roughly two-year-old Sony VAIO multimedia desktop with Win XP SP2 (we uninstalled SP3 after numerous problems), Microsoft Office 2003, and a number of other programs. However, we have 145 of 186 GB available. Our problem is that we are unable to determine which programs and Windows subprograms are safe to (permanently) turn off, and our virtual memory "overload" makes our system slow to a crawl every so often, usually when the online MBA student is in the middle of a school assignment and can’t afford to interrupt. Please HELP! Thanks!

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Without knowing more about the situation, the first think I can suggest is upgrading your RAM. Virtual memory often refers to your page file; space on your hard drive that Windows uses like RAM. To change this follow these steps:

Start>(right click) My Computer>Properties>Advanced>(under performance) Settings>Advanced>Change>Custom Size>enter a range from about half of your current RAM to about double>click Set Size and then exit, you will need to restart.

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Keep in mind that using a page file is MUCH slower than using RAM, so increasing the amount of RAM available to your computer will improve performance.

Windows by default uses 1.5x your RAM as a page file. Since this is not enough for your uses, it is highly recommended that you add RAM to your computer.

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I think you should roll back SP3 and check the behavior, most probably if the system was working fine before SP3 installation and has started misbehaving after installation of SP3, it is because of improper installation of SP3

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  • Technochic
    How much RAM do you have on this system? Are you able to add more?
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  • Pressler2904
    Contrary to what Schmidtw stated, my first step would be to fix/set the page file/virtual memory (V/M) size... Windows XP will by default allow itself to manage the page file size. The default range for V/M is 1.5 - 3.0 times physical RAM (ie: with 512MB RAM installed, V/M will show between a range of 768 - 1536MB by default). Your V/M may become fragmented (despite the large amount of available free space on your HDD), leading to the behavior you have noted. I would suggest setting your V/M to twice your physical RAM (with both min and max settings the same). If this does not resolve your issue, turn OFF V/M, boot from an external source (such as ERD Commander, the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4Win) or Knoppix) and defrag your HDD. Boot into Windows, set the V/M to 2x the physical RAM and reboot again. This should resolve your problem. On another note, if you have image adjustment software running (PhotoShop, Corel), their memory management schemes sometimes interfere with Windows V/M (although this has been less of a problem of late than it was several years ago). Try disabling the image adjustment software and see if your memory issue remains...
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