Then, something dramatic happens. You get a worrying message that your virtual memory is too low.
It’s not as bad as it seems, however. You can fix the problem of low virtual memory.
Simply put, your computer’s virtual memory is the hard drive space your machine uses when it is running short of random access memory, called RAM. Common programs like Microsoft Office PowerPoint and Microsoft Office Word can be real memory hogs, sometimes using all of your computer’s free RAM.
What can you do about a “virtual memory low” message?
If you get a warning that says your virtual memory minimum is too low or something similar, there are two things you can do to correct the situation.
The simplest solution is to increase the virtual memory size on your hard drive, if space allows. To do that, simply go to your control panel and increase the size in the System section. The exact location varies depending on whether you’re using Windows 7, Windows Vista or another version of the operating system.
A somewhat more complicated solution is to add more RAM to your computer. If you continue to get messages that say things like “your computer is running low on virtual memory” even after you increase the virtual memory size on your hard drive, adding more RAM is your only option. That requires opening the case, but the new RAM simply clips into place.
Here are some general guidelines for how much RAM average systems need:
- Windows 7 requires 1 GB of RAM to work properly.
- Windows Vista requires 512 MB of RAM or more to work well, but some applications, especially gaming software, need twice that much.
- Windows XP can manage with only 256 MB of RAM, but like all systems, it will work better with more.
A low virtual memory message isn’t really as terrible as it sounds. It indicates a problem you can easily solve.