Error "Not enough quota is available to process this command"

Hi! I was back from a short trip out of town and shortly after booting my Windows 2000 desktop computer, I started experiencing strange problems. The main symptom is this error message, which pops up before Windows starts failing apart:

"Not enough quota is available to process this command"

Every now and then, applications fail without a warning. Display elements (tab titles, text zones) start disappearing or windows leave a trail. In both Internet Explorer and Firefox, there seems to be problems related to the display of GIF images (which display as black rectangle or with incorrect "black-transparent" colors). I experienced font-related problems twice yesterday (the default font in Internet Explorer 6 reverted to an italic bold font, not even anti-aliased, before I rebooted the computer).

This computer has plenty of RAM installed (1 gb) and has 20 gb of hard disk left. Paging memory is set to 1024mb/2048mb. The computer is used both as a file server in a SOHO environment, and as my primary work computer (translation software and e-mails, mostly). The computer's configuration is very conventional and I haven't installed much "extras" on it.

Yesterday, even the display driver failed and I couldn't access the desktop properties (an error message told me that no display driver was detected). Desktop icons disappeared until I rebooted.

I scanned the computer for spyware and viruses (using PC-CILLIN) but it found absolutely nothing. I have made no configuration changes on this computer recently. My last action before going on vacation was to perform a backup on my IOmega external USB2.0 disk.

The default user has admin privileges. NTFS disk quotas are not even enabled. So I have no idea why I would get such a message.

Thanks for your help!
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Even though nothing has changed to the machine, the error:
"Not enough quota is available to process this command"
on win2k often refers to pagefile issue's.

I would suggest you make the pagefile a fixed size of 2048/2048  (THis way it won't get much defragmentated) I also recommend defragging all of your partitions.

Let us know if it helps.

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I agree, this is a paging file error message ... BUT ... this hsould not come up on boot.
A couple of things come to mind ...
1. turn paging off and delete the page file if one still exists ... this could be a corrupt file ... if the file is corrupt then it could be garbage in the file or a problem with the disk ... once the file is deleted run a scan disk with a surface scan ... then reenable the paging ... the size should not be a problem ... you have more than enough memory and the page file size in in normal size range.  
*** Since the problem is happening as the system is booting this would indicate it is not an actual memory problem and that the page file is not filling up (at least from normal operation)
2. something in the system is corrupt and is reading something in and not hitting and end of file (or something) and is causing the application to use up all of the memory and fill the page file ... in which case ... run the scan disk with the surface scan and then using an OS install CD do a repair install to fix the corrupt/broken file/program.  You will need to reinstall the most recent OS service pack and security patches after doing this.
dufortAuthor Commented:
Hi! Thanks for the suggestions, I will try deleting the page file and then execute a full disk scan. Is it better to set a fixed-size pagefile to avoid further fragmentation?

Actually, this error message doesn't occur during the boot process. It happens after a few minutes of work, and especially if I use many applications at once. It seems to happen when I open large web pages with any browser.

Yesterday I managed to work for 2-3 hours straight without having to reboot, but I kept the memory load to the minimum. However I ran into trouble after a while and my wife couldn't access the shared drives or print anymore on this computer.

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Quote: "Is it better to set a fixed-size pagefile to avoid further fragmentation?" Answer Yes. start with 2048.

Please let us know what happens, and close question if things work.
This should not be happening ... I open many pages at once and do not run into the problem and people I work with do a lot more than me ... 1Gb of memory SHOULD suffice for most things.

Try bring up task manager and sort by memory usage ... see if you can determine what is using up all that memory.  It sound like something is corrupt and using a lot more memory than it should be.
dufortAuthor Commented:
Hi again! Thanks for all the useful comments. I am not certain I have used the correct steps for creating a fresh pagefile. I have set the pagefile to size 0/0, then I have rebooted and have set it to 2048/2048. Are these steps sufficient?

After performing a disk scan and defragmenting, the computer is MUCH faster (thanks!) but the problem is still there. I have discovered that it gets worse when I visit certain websites, so I try avoiding them. Yesterday I had a random reboot at the middle of a browsing session, right after the browser started displaying text incorrectly and displaying black GIF images.

I am still wondering if the problem is related to:
- a corrupted Windows component (a DLL related to the GUI maybe, or a driver)
- corrupted hardware (memory chips, motherboard, power supply)
- an undetected virus, backdoor or trojan

I have reinstalled my video drivers, but it didn't change anything.
I still have no clue.
dufortAuthor Commented:
OK. The problem is not related to RAM. I have run WinDiag, which scans & tests installed memory chips. It found no error.
I am inclined to go with the video drivers ... despite what you tried.
Try switching the video drivers to VGA and then reboot.
Once booted up again, reinstall the drivers ... download new ones if available.
It is possible that a corrupt video driver is causing the problem.
Did you do a surface scan when you did the scan disk?  If not, do it again and select the surface scan ... it will take a lot longer to run but if the corruption is de to a bad sector on the disk then reinstalling will just over-write the corrupted spot leaving a newly corrupted copy of the same file.  The surface scan will mark the sector as bad and try to move the contents to a new location ... then when you reinstall the drivers the new version will over-write the corrupt file leaving a good copy in its place.
dufortAuthor Commented:
Okay! This discussion is starting to look like my personal blog on Windows 2000 Misery, but I think I have finally corrected the problem that has plagued my system for the last 2 weeks!!!

Yesterday I had an insight -- I took a look at the Event Viewer and discovered that it was peppered with a single type of Error:
Event ID 2020: «The server was unable to allocate from the system paged pool because the pool was empty. »

Now that is interesting; it means that something is filling up Windows's Kernel memory (paged / unpaged pools) with leaked bytes. Or that some core process is taking up an aweful lot of pool space.

In order to investigate this problem further, I have installed Process Explorer (procexp.exe) from Sysinternals/Microsoft. This is a free tool, available for download. It works a bit like the Task Manager.

However, this tool alone is not able to give the "full picture" about Windows "pools". It requires the Debugging Tools for Windows (which you will find in your Microsoft Windows 2000 or 2003 install CD) to gather more system information. These tools are not installed by default with the system.

Then, I launched the "Global Flags" application and selected "pool monitoring".

After rebooting, and a little bit of configuration with Symbols in Process Explorer, it was able to give me the full picture with all the pool information.

Both the "paged pool memory" AND "pool memory" were very close to their limit (70%+ load), even after a fresh reboot. Pool usage looked like:
Paged physical 180
Paged virtual 188
Maximum 268

This TechNet article gives some information about pool limits:

After some googling around, I found instructions in Microsoft's KB articles on increasing the maximum pool values (KB 312362); however you can't set them much higher than their original value, this is a system design limitation.

The increase of pool maximum size, coupled with a disk defrag, was enough to give a speed boost to my system. The system was also more stable than it used to. But the basic pool usage was still high:
Paged physical 180
Paged virtual 188
Maximum 352

So the next logical step was to determine which process was using so much pool memory. I opened a CMD window and launched POOLMON.EXE to have a closer look on pool memory usage. Be warned though -- in Windows 2000, it is difficult to match pool symbols with actual drivers and system processes. Microsoft gives some information in its KB articls on poolmon (KB 177415).

Three non-system items were using an aweful lot of pool memory (both paged and unpaged). One of these items had a constant memory leak. All three belonged to my antivirus program, Trend Micro PC-CILLIN Internet Security 2007. I had upgraded my antivirus from the 2006 to the 2007 version about a month ago.

I performed a seach on Trend Micro's site but their tech support section is poorly designed and there wasn't much useful information there. I decided to download a new antivirus (from another company) and uninstall Trend Micro.

After uninstalling and rebooting the antivirus (with my Internet cable unplugged for added security), I launched Process Explorer and got the following values, which are MUCH better:
Paged physical 58
Paged virtual 58
Maximum 352

After installing the ESET NOD32 antivirus, the figures rise to:
Paged physical 70
Paged virtual 70
Maximum 352

Which is quite impressive, when compared to Trend Micro's pool usage. The system is also MUCH faster, it takes about 20 seconds to open a session (as opposed to 90 seconds with Trend Micro). Memory usage is WAY DOWN and the system is more responsive. Truly, ESET NOD32 lives up to the expectations; it is lightweight in every aspect.

Thanks to all for the useful insights. And I hope this discussion will be useful to other users as well.
As a follow up to anyone searching this issue (and still running Windows 2000 on a box like me):

I attempted to install Symantec EndPoint Protection 11 on my Windows 2000 PC and had the same symptoms arise.  This problem/answer exchange here outlines the same symptoms my PC displayed, and I followed the same solution path, check memory, reinstalling video drivers, and finally uninstalling SEP 11 from the PC.  I am wondering if it's a true memory leak because of poor coding or a result of attaching entry points to email and acessed files.

Just a heads up to anyone interested as this thread saved me even though the software was different.
Thanks for the insight ... good information to know.
I'm glad the problem is solved ... and thanks for the points  :)
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