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Running out of memory with 512Mb free

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 26, 2005 4:01:02 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

I am running XP Pro with 1Gb of RAM on a Dell box. The paging file is fixed
at an additional 1Gb of virtual memory. My typical usage is not very
taxing - Outlook, a few windows of MSIE, paint.net, MS Streets & Trips, etc.

A couple of times a week my system acts as if it is running out of memory:
new windows won't open up until I close existing windows. I go into Control
Panel and various applets will open to a blank screen. I'll hit a button in
Outlook and get a 'plunk' sound. A reboot will correct the problem every
time.

When I check the performance tab in task manager I never see my commit
charge go much higher than 600,000 and the peak never much higher than that
so I should have lots of system resources free. CPU usage is always low and
the available system memory always shows plenty of wiggle room. The only
thing I can see that is consitent is that when the system starts wigging out
the number of handles always seems to be around 17,000 or so as opposed to
the 14,000 that I usually see.

Currently I have 57 processes, 626 threads and 14336 handles, about an hour
and a half after last reboot and everything is working well.

Any pointers on how to figure out what is happening would be greatly
appreciated.
Anonymous
a b } Memory
August 26, 2005 4:01:03 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

"Wowbagger" <none> wrote:

>I am running XP Pro with 1Gb of RAM on a Dell box. The paging file is fixed
>at an additional 1Gb of virtual memory. My typical usage is not very
>taxing - Outlook, a few windows of MSIE, paint.net, MS Streets & Trips, etc.
>
>A couple of times a week my system acts as if it is running out of memory:
>new windows won't open up until I close existing windows. I go into Control
>Panel and various applets will open to a blank screen. I'll hit a button in
>Outlook and get a 'plunk' sound. A reboot will correct the problem every
>time.
>
>When I check the performance tab in task manager I never see my commit
>charge go much higher than 600,000 and the peak never much higher than that
>so I should have lots of system resources free. CPU usage is always low and
>the available system memory always shows plenty of wiggle room. The only
>thing I can see that is consitent is that when the system starts wigging out
>the number of handles always seems to be around 17,000 or so as opposed to
>the 14,000 that I usually see.
>
>Currently I have 57 processes, 626 threads and 14336 handles, about an hour
>and a half after last reboot and everything is working well.
>
>Any pointers on how to figure out what is happening would be greatly
>appreciated.
>

What about antivirus and antispyware programs? Are you using these?
Malware infestations are by far the most common cause of performance
problems and errors.

Even with 512 mb of RAM it is possible that you are using your
computer in such a way that more RAM would improve things.

Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
significant improvement.

Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.

There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
you can get if from
http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/

If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
this activity thereby improving performance.

This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
Windows XP.

Good luck

Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
--
Microsoft MVP
On-Line Help Computer Service
http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
http://aumha.org/alex.htm
August 26, 2005 8:27:43 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.general (More info?)

"Ron Martell" <ron.martell@gmail.com> wrote in message

> What about antivirus and antispyware programs? Are you using these?
> Malware infestations are by far the most common cause of performance
> problems and errors.

Norton Antivirus, updated signatures and MS AntiSpyware. Daily deep scans,
nothing detected in months.

> Even with 512 mb of RAM it is possible that you are using your
> computer in such a way that more RAM would improve things.

To clarify, I have 512Mb of RAM -free-, 1Gb RAM total.

> Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
> added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
> file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
> significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
> significant improvement.

At this moment 52Mb of the pagefile is in use with a session peak of 85Mb

With 544,000 in available physical memory I have no idea why any of the page
file would be in use other than some sort of administrative task.
Performance monitor shows very few swaps so there isn't much disk IO, and
when the system starts to act funky CPU usage remains low as well.
!