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Low Virtual Memory on Dimension 4700


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#1
Godiva00

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Hello Everyone,

I'm glad to have found this forum. It has tons of helpful information that I'm trying to cipher through. While I look through here, I hope someone can help me. My PC has been constantly giving the low virtual memory message. I can't run any programs without it happening (ITUNES, program removal). Then I've gotten the blue screen with different messages such as "unknown hard error d0000144) and "dirty volume". I have to keep doing a hard shut down (holding the Power button in).The configuration for my Dell Dimension 4700 is 40GB HD, 512 MB RAM, Windows XP. It is five years old. I bought it with 256 MB but installed another 256 several yrs ago.
I'm guessing the problem may be that I don't have enough RAM. I think my virtual memory/paging file (?) is already at 2x RAM. I bought 2-1GB Kingston, but have not installed it yet. I want to make sure that it is a RAM problem and not the my PC has just given up on me being that it is so old. I've defragged, run my antivirus and spyware scan (verizon software) and all have come clear. I have 9 GB available out of my 40 GB drive.
Am I better off buying a new PC or is the problem that I need to upgrade my RAM and it would still be worth doing on my PC?

I appreciate all thoughts, ideas.

Thanks!
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#2
rshaffer61

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Hello Godiva00.... Welcome to GeeksToGo, :) :) :)

I'm sorry to hear about your issue. We will try to help you resolve this as soon as possible.
Please understand we are all volunteers and we are not here all the time. Sometimes it may be a extended amount of time to get back to you. If it has been more then 3 days please shoot me a PM and I will try to get back to you quickly then.

You have a couple of different issues running at the same time here.
First in the low virtual memory. In deed the lack of memory is the main problem and taking out the 512 and installing the 2 gigs of memory should take care of this problem.
I would advise you to do this now..

The other problem is the Dirty Volume problem. This can be corrected with a few steps.
Third problem is the small HD. Would you happen to know how much free space you have left on that drive?
Lets take a look at the hard drive and see what you have.

Go to
1: Start
2: My Computer
3: Right Click on "C" drive
4: Click on Properties
5: In this field it will tell you total drive space and also free space

Please include results in your next reply

Let me know when you are ready to work on the Dirty Volume problem and I will post the instructions.
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#3
Godiva00

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Thanks for the quick response. :) You said I should take out the 512 RAM, but can I not leave them in? I have 4 memory modules; with two slots open (I should have given you that info before :) ). I was going to put the 1GB sticks in each remaining module. Is this not the way to proceed?

I checked my PC and here are my configurations.
  • Pentium 4 CPU DIM 4700
    [list=1]
  • 2.80 GHz, 504 MB RAM
  • System Restore disk space usage: set to MAX (12% 4232 MB)
  • NTFS System
  • Total Size: 34.4 GB
  • Used Space: 25.4 GB
  • Free Space: 8.96 GB
  • drive is compressed to save disk space
  • Total paging size for all drives: 1501 MB
  • paging file size: 756-1512

Thanks again. :)
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#4
rshaffer61

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You can leave the older memory in but be warned that the newer memory will slow down to it's speed.
Also watch that free space as the MTF (Master File Table) doesn't like anything less then 10% of free space.
You are sitting at about 25% now.
I have never been a fan of compressing a drive and with the price of drives being so low why not buy a newer drive?
A 250 gig drive now runs about 60.00 dollars from most online companies like Tigerdirect and NewEgg.
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#5
Godiva00

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If I need a bigger drive and more RAM...would I be better off getting a new pc? I'm confused about what's more important...memory or HD space.
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#6
rshaffer61

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The importance is based on what you want.
Is having more programs or files installed more important? Hard Drive
OR
Is having files open faster and being able to open multiple files at one time more important? Memory
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#7
Godiva00

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I see. Well I actually have a 350 GB external HD (Estern digital). I ry to save all my music, photos, small programs tothat. Do I still need a bigger HD even with that? Can I add all programs to my external HD? I never knew if it was safe to run all programs from an extternal...
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#8
The Skeptic

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Virtual memory error can happen because of fragmented page files which cannot be defragmented by simple defragmantation. Without going into too many details: the error can start when windows manage the virtual memory and the disk becomes too full. Please try the following:

1: install the extra ram modules. Like rshaffer61 said they may slow down to the speed of the older modules (if they are any slower. Maybe they are as fast as the new modules) but the extra volume will more then compensate for decreased speed.The fact that there are 4 slots indicates that your computer can run in dual mode. Please set the old modules in slots 1 and 3 (counting from the cpu) and the new ones in slots 2 and 4.

2: By reading your post I understand that you can do the following: set virtual memory to minimum (2 mb) and click OK > Apply > OK. Repeat the procedure but this time check Custom Size and set the minimum and maximum to 2500. (this will take some of your disk volume but do it, please).

3: Download PageDefrag from my list of links below. Run the program and let it defrag page files upon next boot.

4: Run chkdsk. Click: Start > right click local disk c: > properties > tools > Errors Checking > Check now. Check the two boxes and click Start. You will be notified that the process will start upon next reboot. Please reboot.

If the problem still persist then only clean format will solve it. Force shutting the computer can damage the hardware and should be avoided.

If the present computer satisfy your needs then it's a waste of money to replace it. It can still give you few years of good service. The weakest part in your system(after installing the extra ram) is the hard disk. Do not let free volume go below 15% and defrag frequently.
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#9
rshaffer61

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We still need to address the dirty volume problem also when you have finished what The Skeptic has suggested.
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#10
Godiva00

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Thanks for all the great tips! I have one last question before I try everythng you suggested. I really don't want to waste the memory I bought...I bought 2 GB and it seems silly to allow it to slow down to just 1 (i have two 256 sticks installed). If i remove the old memory is there anything on it that I will lose or is everything saved to the HD? Sorry for the probable obvious question :).
thanks again!
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#11
rshaffer61

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Nope, memory does not store information. Everything is stored on the HD and that should be fine.
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#12
The Skeptic

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Please read the details on the old and the new modules. The speed should be written on them. If they are all, say DDR400, then there is no reason why not to install the old ones and have 2.5 gigabyte.
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#13
rshaffer61

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Thanks Skeptic
Are the modules the same in speed and from the same manufacturer?
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