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Low Memory Problems

Low memory problems or errors in Windows generally do not relate to too little RAM (random access memory), but to a lack of disk space for the swap file (Windows 9x) or a missing or small paging file (Windows NT/2000/XP and above). Too little RAM results in slower performance, but not errors from applications. Generally, adding physical RAM (memory chips) will not resolve or resolve only partially this sort of problem, particularly if your system already has a reasonable amount of memory:

Windows 9516-32Mb
Windows 98/Me32-64Mb
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation64-128Mb
Windows NT 4.0 Server128-256Mb
Windows 2000 Professional128-384Mb
Windows 2000 Server256-512Mb
Windows XP256-512Mb
Windows 20031-2Gb
Windows Vista2Gb
Windows 72-4Gb
Windows Vista/7 64-bit4-8Gb

The amount of RAM a system requires depends on usage, and the figures shown above are based on the typical usage for those operating systems. A non-typical scenario, such as running SQL Server 7.0 on Windows 95, would require much more memory.

To check the memory status under Windows NT/2000/XP and above, press CTRL-SHIFT-ESCAPE and the Task Manager will appear:

If the “Total” Commit Charge is approaching the “Limit”, you are running out of memory/paging space.

In Windows 9x, the swap file is dynamic so the only solution is to recover some disk space and restart. In Windows NT/2000/XP and above, increase the paging file by at least 256Mb. The paging file should generally be 1½ times the amount of system RAM. For example, if the system RAM is 512Mb, the minimum paging file should be around 768Mb.

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