Thread: virtual memory?
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:29 PM
Bob D'Amico's Avatar
Bob D'Amico Bob D'Amico is offline
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Join Date: Sep 1998
Location: Franklin Park, NJ
Posts: 20,493
Exclamation Re: virtual memory?

Rob is 99% or 100% correct. I am not familiar with Vista but on XP the "Virtual Memory" file is stored on the root of your boot up drive. Normally that would be Drive C:\. On my PC that drive is named "Raptor C:" As you can see I have "Free Space: 95.5 GB" which means that there is a ton of extra space for more programs and for Windows Virtual Memory.

The Virtual Memory (VM) file is named "hiberfil.sys" and on my PC is currently 2,8882,000 Kilobytes or 2.8 Megabytes.

Click on "My Computer" and select your C:\ to see the same type screen as above. write down the Free Space and Total Size info. Then close it.

Windows uses your hard disk for this Virtual Memory as a swap file, temporarily storing data needed by the programs running. The more RAM you have in your PC, less VM is needed. If you have a modest amount of RAM (512KB or 1 MB) and are running many apps AND your hard disk is full you are apt to run into VM problems. Windows wants you to free up space on your hard disk so it can use it up for VM.

One can often tell what's going on just by the amount of time it takes to load apps, save files, or do just about anything. If you hear your hard disk constantly running or see it's LED indicator flickering all the time that's an indication of RAM or VM or disk space issues.

Before I go further, this is not a problem that you need to pay someone to fix for you. You can do it yourself, my 84 year old mother could do it!

Second you may not be running many applications when this happens but you may be running a large number of applications in "background" which are launched when your PC starts up.

If you are running Windows XP these screen shots will help.

1: Put you mouse on My Computer. DO NOT double-click.
2: Right click, on the drop down menu select Properties.

2 A: Take note in Properties above of the amount of RAM in you PC. As you can see Windows is reporting I have "2.75 GB of RAM"
3: Select the Advanced tab.

4: In the Performance section click on Settings
5: The next screen will display Visual Effects but you should select the Advanced

6: Note on the next screen the "Total paging size for all drives"
7: Now don't get nervous, but click on the Change button for Virtual Memory.

7: If the "System managed size" is not selected, click on it and then click on the OK button.

8: Next we're going to use the "Task Manager" app. RIGHT click on a free area of the Menu Bar on the bottom of your screen and select "Task Manager."

9: Task Manager displays important information, the first is Applications. This shows all the programs you are running in the "foreground" or in other words the programs you started manually.

10: Now here is the kicker, those Applications are just the tip of the iceberg. You are running many more apps. Click on the Processes tab to see the truth, the apps AND the background apps.

11: As you can see above there are many apps (red blocks) with my name associated with them, many of them load when I start my PC. They are mostly running in the background and all of them are using RAM and/or VM. You may be running Quicktime, AOL's (AIM) Instant Messaging, iTunes, and other crapola from Verizon in background all the time.

If you want help solving your problem you can gather the info as outlined above and post it here or call me at 732-297-5688 Thursday afternoon or evening. does not have a Geek Squad but Tech Support is free.

Installing extra RAM is always a GOOD and cheap solution, plus it's easy.
Bob D'Amico

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