New Memory

I just added some memory to my computer (PII 233) for a total of 320MB SDRAM. There is a notable difference in the way things are being handled. However, today I had three bigger programs open (Photoshop, Illustrator, and Homesite) and all of a sudden I got an error saying that I was out of virtual memory!? I have about 20GB of HD free and my 320MB of RAM... now it sounds a bit strange that 5 minutes after starting those applications (I had just opened one 1.5MB photo in Photoshop nothing in the other programs) I would run out of memory...

Could anybody help me? Are there any settings in Win98SE I have to tweak? Any other info you need in order to comment?

Thanks a bunch!

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dew_associatesConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Remove the old memory entirely and put the new stick in the first slot (or slot one etc) and then run the system.

PC133 is backwards compatible, however if your system was built in 98 it might be PC66 and be causing a problem.

There's nothing on a MB that would detail its limits.
<Start, Settings, Control Panel, System, Performance, Virtual Memory>

Check to see if you have it manually set, or are allowing Windows to control it.

gsnAuthor Commented:
I'm allowing Windows to handle it!
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Don ThomsonCommented:
With 320 Meg of ram - make sure that the largest piece is in dimm slot 0  - unless your mb manual tells you different.

Try this - boot your machine and hit F8 to get to the boot menu. Choose Command prompt only. at the C:>
type    mem

If the amount of upper memory (second line) is all 0's

The you need to change your

the 1st 3 lines should read

device=c:\windows\emm386.exe noems

any device lines past that should be changed to

in the autoexec.bat  change any non-virus scanning lines that call programs to LH xxxxx.exe

Then reboot and try it again.

If the largest executable program is less than 585K then you could have 1 Gig Ram and your going to run out of resources fast.  The ideal is around 610-621K

The more base memory windows has when it starts to load - the more memory it will be able to actually allocate to programs

Also in windows - run SFC  to see if there are any corrupted system files - that can also cause these programs
to run out of resources.

gsn, the following will give you a better understanding of what virtual memory is, what it does and at the end, some info on how you might resolve this problem.

First though, there's no reason to have an autoexec.bat or config.sys file on your system, especially for memory handling. As a matter of fact, handling memory in your config.sys file can cause more problems than would be resolved.

Now, a little understanding of how Windows handles memory. Windows 98, like Windows NT, uses a demand-paged virtual memory system. This system is based on a flat, linear address space, accessed using 32-bit addresses.

Each process is allocated a unique virtual address space of 2 gigabytes (GB). The upper 2 GB is shared, while the lower 2 GB is private to the application. This virtual address space is divided into equal blocks, or pages. Demand paging is a method by which code and data are moved in pages from physical memory to a temporary paging file on your hard disk. As the information is needed by a process, it is paged back into physical memory on demand. The Memory Pager maps virtual addresses from the process address space to physical pages in computer memory. In doing so, the Memory Pager hides the physical organization of memory from the process threads. This ensures that the thread can access the memory of its process as needed, but not the memory of other processes. Therefore the virtual memory of a thread process is much simpler than the real arrangement of pages in physical memory.

Aside from the speed of your microprocessor, the elements of your system that have the most bearing on Windows performance are memory (RAM) and available hard disk space. Make no mistake, Windows loves memory. No matter what you run, particularly if you run large, computation intensive programs such as graphics editors and computer aided design programs, you can hardly have too much RAM on board.

Windows uses your hard disk as virtual memory, that is, as an extension of main memory. When things get overloaded in memory, Windows automatically writes some data from memory to a swap file on your disk in a process called paging. When Windows needs that information again, it reads it back from the swap file, at the same time (if necessary) swapping something else out. Because disk access is far slower than memory access, paging impedes performance. Increasing the amount of memory on your system improves performance by minimizing paging.

In earlier versions of Windows (prior to Windows 95), users could choose between a permanent swap file and a temporary one. The permanent swap file provided faster access, but walled off a sizable block of disk space that could no longer be used for program and document storage. A temporary swap file provided flexibility at the cost of slower paging.

The permanent/temporary tradeoff is no longer available in Windows, and indeed is no longer necessary. Windows normally manages the paging process in the most efficient manner, without requiring you to make any decisions or intervene in any way. The only time it might make sense to get involved in setting paging parameters is if you have two or more hard disks and one of them is significantly faster than the one on which Windows is installed. Windows normally pages to the drive on which it?s installed, and if you think you can gain performance by pointing it to a different drive, you can do so as follows:

1. Right-click My Computer and choose Properties from the context menu. (Alternatively, click on the System icon in Control Panel.)
2. Click the Performance tab, and then click the Virtual Memory button.
3. In the Virtual Memory dialog box, select the Let Me Specify My Own Virtual Memory Settings option button, and then select the disk where you want paging to occur. Then click OK.

A better solution, if you happen to have a drive that?s dramatically faster than the one where Windows installed, is to reinstall Windows on the faster drive. The Virtual Memory dialog box also lets you specify a minimum and a maximum size for your swap file. Unless your hard disk space is severely limited, there?s no good reason to change these parameters. And if your disk space is severely limited, it?s far better to address the disk-space problem than to constrain the Windows page file.

Aside from hardware problem, there are three possibilities for this problem.

1. Your Windows swapfile is either corrupt or the disk on which it is located is heavily fragmented.

2. Your motherboards BIOS has not updated Windows as to the full amount of physical memory available.

3. There are hard disk errors being detected by Windows in the virtual memory space.

Let's deal with the easiest first.

1. Swapfile: Restart your system and boot into pure MS-DOS by holding the Ctrl key down during the boot process or by tapping the F8 key just before Windows starts.

Now change directories to C:\Windows

Now type:  DEL WIN386.SWP and touch enter.

Now restart the system and test it.

*Windows will rebuild the swapfile for you!

2. Drive is heavily fragmented:

Run a disk cleanup and then defrag the drive.

3. BIOS is not updating Windows as to memory available.

*Usually resetting the CMOS or BIOS to its default settings will cause the BIOS to force a Windows update.

4. Drive problems. Run Scandisk in thorough mode.

Don ThomsonCommented:
Dew_accociates  -  Great explaination

I agree that the only time you need config.sys  and autoexec.bat files  on Win98  is if you are using some older programs that require you to set such thing as files=  or require a minimum amount of ram to run.

These are typically older DOS programs and some Win3.1 progs.

If you are running for instance Accpac Plus (Dos)  then you need to set up things like files=249

If you do then you should set up the config.sys with the 3 lines I mentioned.  If your gooing to use anything other than set commands etc  or any Devices in config then you will probably need to insert those lines. If you don't then I agree - don't use them at all.

M$ says that Win98 will efficiently handle all the memory - but remember - in the 80's they also said that no-one would ever need more than 640K of memory. <grin>

gsnAuthor Commented:
Ok... first of all THANK YOU SO MUCH for the great advice and in-depth information!!

Now, I did replace the swap file and started to defrag the drive (I'll have to do the rest overnight tonight...) and also tried to reset the BIOS (not sure if that's worked yet). I just ran the c:\ mem and got these results:


Type | Total | Used | Free

Conventional | 655,360 | 33,104 | 622,256
Upper | 0 | 0 | 0
Reserved | 0 | 0 | 0
Extended | 67,043,328 | ? | 334,319,616
Total | 67,698,688 | ? | 334,941,872

Total under 1MB | 655,360 | 33,104 | 622,256
Total Expanded (EMS) 67,108,864 (64M)
Free Expanded (EMS) 16,777,216 (16M)
Largest executable program size 622,240 (608K)
Largest free upper memory block 0 (0K)
MS-DOS is resident in the high memory area.


I hope that tells you something... why does it give me this odd discrepancy between Total and Free memory in the Extended category??? Oh, and btw I'm still running out of memory... :(

Are you running out of memory with the same apps open you mentioned at the start of this issue?

BTW, the disparity is because you have DOS loading high in your config.sys file. Rename config.sys to config.old and rename autoexec.bat to autoexec.old and then reboot and check it.
gsnAuthor Commented:
dew_associates, the answer is yes. Whenever I have Photoshop, Illustrator and Homesite open my machine seems to be dying... it's the big white ugly error box that I get... I know that Homesite is a memory hog and so are the Adobe children...

I renamed config.sys and autoexec.bat to .old, restarted but it did not change anything...
Okay, try narrowing the field a little bit. Open Photoshop and Illustrator and leave Homesite closed and see what happens.
gsnAuthor Commented:
nothing has changed so far... I was typing on a rather lengthy explanation yesterday when all of a sudden I got yet another "out of resources" message and then the blue screen of death.
Is there any hope...???
Yes, but we need to narrow the field some to see what's causing the problem. Try using only one app at a time to see if its an app doing this or windows iteself.
gsnAuthor Commented:
ok, here's the summary of the rather lengthy narrative I lost yesterday:

Homesite in general causes problems... even when NOTHING else is open and I run it for about 10-20mins it gives me the Homesite-internal resource warning (understand, that this is not related to the OS error!). with it I can run multiple browsers, Outlook, YM, Access and not much will happen.

However, when I open one of the above-mentioned Adobe products things start to get real sour. To the point where the system simply crashes or freezes.

My personal uneducated guess is that Win98 arrives at a maximum amount of RAM it will handle regardless of how much is installed. Before I installed the 256MB chip I had 96MB (which is rather weak, but not so weak as to constantly run out of memory... but I thought I'll give it a try and upgrade... voila...).

Is it possible that the OS simply doesn't know that there are 320MB available although it shows up in the BIOS and even when I do the [My Computer] > [Properties]??? What about this ominous 128MB limit in Win98?

Thanks so much for your help!!!!!

First, let me address your last comment first. Who ever said there was a 128MB limit in Win98 hasn't got a clue about what he/she is talking about.

Next, let's look at pure memory issues. Although the Bios may be able to count the RAM up to 320, doesn't necessarily mean that it is functioning correctly. RAM values, except for speeds such as 100 and 133 MHz, need to be identical. As an example, you can't mix 2-2-2 with 3-3-3 without having problems somewhere.

Can you examine the RAM you have in an effort to ID what it is?

Furthermore, Adobe creates a scrath disk the is very much like the Windows swapfile. This may be causing problems, but we can't tell for sure until the hardware is verified.
PS, what does your system manual show as the maximum supported RAM for the motherboard?
gsnAuthor Commented:
1. New memory: 256MB PC133 DIMM CL3 (Kingston ValueRAM)
2. Old memory: 32MB 4clock (that's ALL it says on the DIMM... except for the individual chips on it where it says: 9810 C USA MT 48LC2M8A1 TG -10 S)
3. Motherboard: No clue... I bought that machine in 98 and have moved a few times since then... not sure where that manual would be... and the manufacturer (Axis Systems []) closed its doors a couple of months ago... is there a way to find out details from anywhere on the motherboard itself??
4. I can verify the Adobe scratch-disc... I changed some settings there a while back and improved performance immediately.

Should I take the remaining 64MB out to see if it makes a difference?


gsnAuthor Commented:
sorry for being inactive for so long... I guess I'll just have to live with this problem until I get a new machine. Thanks for your help meanwhile!! I really appreciate it!
Thank you too!
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