“Your system is low on virtual memory. Windows is increasing the size of your virtual memory paging file” – you may have seen this message and wondered what it meant. With the Windows application virtual memory, you can increase your memory capacity without having to purchase additional RAM. Optimizing your initial and maximum settings in virtual memory will help alleviate possible performance problems that using virtual memory may cause.
Virtual memory is a Windows application that stores RAM images on the hard drive in order to free up space for other uses. If you didn’t have virtual memory, the computer would freeze or require you to close one program before opening another. The application looks for parts of the RAM that aren’t used frequently and copies that information to a page file on the hard drive. The operating system then moves back and forth between the paging file and the physical RAM to read the files it needs to operate. Because of the slow read/write speed on the hard drive, your computer’s performance may be slower if you rely heavily on virtual memory.
While you can tweak the settings for virtual memory, the best fix for memory problems is to actually buy more RAM for your computer. Windows virtual memory can make it seem as though you have unlimited memory, but relying too heavily on it when you don’t have enough RAM can affect your computer’s overall performance. Once you have enough RAM on board, you can adjust the Windows default settings to make it run more smoothly.
Page File Size
Increasing the paging file size in virtual memory can help improve your computer’s performance. By default, Windows Vista sets the paging file size to 1.5 times the installed RAM. By increasing this number, you can avoid common virtual memory error messages and freezes. Most techs advise increasing this amount to twice the RAM that you have on your computer. If you’re not sure how much RAM you have installed, follow these steps:
1. Go to Start and then choose Control Panel.
2. Choose General on the System tab.
3. You will see the amount of RAM that is installed on the right hand bottom of the screen.
Now you can get into your virtual memory and adjust the settings.
1. Open System by clicking on Start.
2. Choose Control Panel and then System and Maintenance.
3. Choose System. You will see a left hand panel open up.
4. Choose Advanced System Settings. You may have to enter the administrative information here.
5. You should see the Advanced tab. Under Performance, click Settings.
6. Now choose Virtual Memory and click Change.
7. Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.”
8. Click on the drive that contains the paging file.
9. Click on Custom Size and then type in the new Initial and Maximum size.
10.Click Set and then OK.
If you want to adjust Windows Vista virtual memory settings further, make small, incremental adjustments.