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"Almost out of virtual memory" message

Posted on 2004-04-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Problem at work.

Every once in a while, a message that is as close to this as I can remember
appears on my screen just after I have asked the computer to do something simple,
such as print an Access 97 database (sorry, did not write down the exact text):

(The usual X-in-a-red-circle is at the top of the box that appears.)

      "System almost out of virtual memory....close an unnecessary programs
        and try again..."

What can I do to free up more virtual memory?  

A friend here at work tells me that I need to keep my hard drive at least
half empty, because he says that the computer needs twice as much space
as the size of any particular file in order to work with said file.

Is he correct?  If he is, then I really have to copy or print a lot of files, because my
pitifully small 6-gig hard drive is half full right now.

Another question:

    How do I tell how much space an particular application or folder or file is using if
    "View - Details" only shows how much space the shortcut to a file is using??
    Right-clicking on the name does not give me this information, and I cannot figure
    out any way to get this info.  I'd really like to know how much actual space on my
    hard drive is being used by various applications and suchlike, so I can tell how much
    I need to delete to free up more space.


Question by:SP_fan
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 10740246
So you have 3gigs remaining on the machine? No that is fine I would say you have more than enough space left albeit a small drive.

1/. I would check for viruses as these have been known to be a common cause of memory guzzling and weird virtual memory errors.

2/. Also check for spyware with spybot @ www.safer-networking.org (be sure to update).

3/. Also how much RAM is in this box? Maybe you need to increase it.

4/. And what is your page file size set to?

Author Comment

ID: 10741087
As this is a computer I use at work, and my employer is a large
company, they have some very good anti-virus software, which
is kept updated fairly often. so I doubt very much that that message
I have been getting from time about being almost out of virtual memory
is a virus.

RAM is 261,488 KB, according to the "System Properties" box.

Page file size is 128 MB.  I think I have to get someone from
IT to change that for me, as we worker bees do not have the
passwords (aka "Administration Rights") to do this.  I will call
IT & get them to make this bigger.   Wouldn't making this bigger
prevent that message from appearing again?

Author Comment

ID: 10741097
I will also ask IT to increase the amount of RAM.
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LVL 31

Accepted Solution

Gareth Gudger earned 800 total points
ID: 10741937
Your RAM size of 256MB sounds adequate but definately increase that paging file size. I would increase it to:

Min = RAM SIZE(256MB) + 12MB = 268MB
Max = RAM SIZE x 2                   = 512MB

Try that...and yes you will need an account with local admin rights to change it.

Author Comment

ID: 10742584
I am going to wait until after IT has increased my
paging file size before I accept this answer.

Author Comment

ID: 10745122
How do I find out exactly how much space (KB or MB) any particular
folder or application is using?  All I see is how much space a shortcut
to Lotus Notes is taking - not useful information at all.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 10745522
You mean how much RAM is it using?

For a quick view hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and click on the Processes tab. You will see a "Mem Usage" column and how much each process is using.

Expert Comment

by:Danny Kon
ID: 10755619

The initial error sounds like an not updated version of lotus notes
If i was you go to the IT department and just tell your problem (you don't have the right's to solve this kind of problems)
Maybe as recomendation to the IT department point them to the following link


Good - Luck


Author Comment

ID: 10759350

"CTRL+ALT+DEL" gave me a number that was far, far too small - around
5 KB, which is much too small, as I have a couple of messages that are
around 12 MB in size.

Thank you anyways - I will ask the person from IT when he/she arrives.


We use Lotus Notes 5.0.8 (June 18, 2001) here at work, but this problem
has really nothing to do with Lotus Notes, as it happens sometimes when
I am trying to print something that is not just a small MS Word document.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 10759528
Well maybe you mean disk storage and not memory usage. If that is the case you can go to the properties on any folder or file and see how much disk space they are using.

Author Comment

ID: 10761626

All I get under "Properties" is how much space the Shortcut is using: 1 KB.
I have not yet been able to find out how much space Lotus Notes is really taking
up on my hard drive.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 10762439
Check the location of the program from the shortcut.

Then browse to that folder under your C drive. Right click on the folder and do properties. That might give you a rough estimate. Also most program will tell you rougly how much space they will take during the install process or on the side of the packaging.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 10765135
Your initial problem is exactly what diggisaur has alluded to, too little page file size for the amount of RAM in the box.  Increase the page file to 1.5X RAM as a minimum.  MS use to tout that the minimum of RAM+12, but they really don't push that any more.  

For best performance make the min and max size of the pagefile the same. This tells the OS to not auto grow the pagefile when the minimum value is approached.  It keeps the file from becoming fragmented, which is a severe performance hit in a heavy paging environment.  

Sounds like your box initially contained 128MB of RAM and when it was upgraded, someone forgot to increase the pagefile size.  So to answer your question about wouldn't increasing the size of the pagefile stop this error, I would say a definite yes.  

Author Comment

ID: 10770712
I will wait until IT has been here to accept an answer.
Please be patient: it may take a few days.

Thank you VERY much,all of you, for helping me.  

EE is GREAT!  : )

Author Comment

ID: 10826329
IT finally arrived and increased the size of my paging file.

I have not had any problems since then.

I thank all of you who helped me with this problem.

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