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Out of memory errors despite loads of free RAM


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#1
Syncmaster75

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Hi,

 

I had to do a repair install of XP recently and then reapply the service packs to take it back to SP3. Since then the pc has been very slow, some webpages take minutes to load and now I'm getting 'out of memory' errors from Adobe reader when I try to open a .pdf at the same time as having a browser window open. The pc has 2.5GB RAM, pagefile is set to system managed on C:\  and currently running at 2550MB allocated. I've tested the memory cards using MEM86 and there were no hardware errors reported; system information also reports the correct amount of memory BUT somehow the OS is not using the memory correctly. Below is a snapshot of the task manager performance tab with Firefox and Adobe Reader open (reader showing 'out of memory' error message)

 

System Performance.jpg

 

 

The commit charge rarely goes above 750M; if I get really silly and open 8 programs it might climb to 900 but never higher, nor does the pagefile usage graph ever move above the low level seen above. Before the repair install memory and pagefile usage were a lot higher ie the OS was using both correctly, now something is preventing it using most of the memory available. I've scanned for malware and viruses using MBAM, SuperAntiSpyware and Avast and for rootkits using TDSSKiller and Avast's ASWMBR - no problems found. I've also used sfc/ scannow and again got no system file errors reported. Something in the main guts of the OS is not handling memory allocation and pagefile allocation as it used to, but it's beyond my abiliities to figure out what ... any help much appreciated, thanks. BTW I'm on Home Edition, so some of the system setup stuff just isn't included :(


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#2
DonnaB

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Hi Syncmaster75,

My apologies for you having to wait for a reply.

There is a good possibility that this relates to virtual memory and not physical memory.

Please have a look at the following link:

How to Set the Virtual Memory Back to Its Default Setting in Windows XP

Try resetting the virtual memory back to default.

Next:

Click Start > My Computer then Right click on your hard disk (usually the C: drive). Click Properties in the right click menu list. If you have very little free space remaining, Windows XP will alert you that memory is running low.

If there is little free space, please do the following so we can see where what is using up so much free space:

Please download and install WinDirStat.
  • Click on the desktop icon to run the program.
  • Click on Individual Drives and then click on the HP_Tools E: drive.
  • When the pacmen have finished there will be a graphic display of that drive.
  • Click on the + (plus) sign to expand the folders found.
  • Place your cursor on the divider line between the text above and the color graph below and drag downwards to expand the upper portion of the resultant image produced.
  • Please create a screen shot and attach or upload the image to your next post so I can have a look
I am wondering if the repair install might have created a windows.old folder somewhere on your C: drive which might be occupying lots of space..
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#3
Syncmaster75

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Hi,

 

Thanks for those suggestions Donna. My virtual memory was already at default setting (ie system managed) - just to make sure this was being picked up by the system I changed it to a larger custom setting and then back to the default, restarting after each change - unfortunately this did not resolve the problem

 

My system hard drive (C:) is 80GB with 39GB free space, so plenty of room for the system to make the pagefile whatever size it wants.

 

I'm wondering if this is a registry error caused by the repair install such that the registry is either directing the memory management to an old file version or to a now non-existent location but this is only a hunch; I wouldn't begin to know where to look for such an error if it exists. In the past I have used registry repair programs (oops!) but I stopped doing so long before this problem occurred.


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#4
DonnaB

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You're welcome, Syncmaster75. :) I am sorry that my suggestion resulted in no solutions. Allow me to drop a really good link that I had been reading concerning this error message on XP and I will send out a message to the other techs who have a bit more experience with memory issues on XP.

“Out Of Memory” Does Not Refer to Physical Memory
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#5
DonnaB

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Hi Syncmaster75,

Is this a laptop or desktop? When is the last time that you had given the computer in question a good cleaning inside with a can of compressed air?

Have you ran a defrag since the repair install? Please try that if you haven't already, though do turn your antivirus off prior to the defrag to speed the process up a bit.

Open Task manager and click on Process then click once or twice on the column header Memory it should show you what is using the most memory.

I'd like to see a Minitoolbox report:

Please download MiniToolBox and run it.

Checkmark the following boxes only:
  • List last 10 Event Viewer log
  • List Installed Programs
  • List Devices - (dial) Only Problems - (dial) No Driver >> (dial) All
  • List Users, Partitions and Memory size
  • List Minidump Files
  • Click Go and post the result.

    Next:

    Download Speedfan (The download link is to the right), and install it. Once it's installed, run the program and post here the information it shows.
    The information I want you to post is the stuff that is circled in the example picture I have attached.
    To make sure we are getting all the correct information it would help us if you were to attach a screenshot like the one below of your Speedfan results.

    To do a screenshot, press the Print Screen (prt sc) key on your keyboard.
    • Now go to Start and then to All Programs
    • Scroll to Accessories and then click on Paint (or type paint into your Start Search and click).
    • In the Empty White Area click and hold the ctrl key and then click the V key on the keyboard to paste the screenshot into Paint.
    • Go to the File option at the top and click on Save as
    • Save as file type JPEG and save it to your Desktop
    • Attach it to your next reply
    speedfan.png

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#6
rshaffer61

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May I ask what the actual virtual memory size is for your system?
According to what it should be for 2.5 gigs of physical memory it should be at some place around 3.7 gigs of virutal and no higher then 7.5 gigs
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#7
Syncmaster75

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Hello again,

 

Thanks for your help - that article on 'out of memory' errors was very interesting - certainly corrected a few misconceptions I had as to how the system works. This is a desktop pc and I cleaned all the dust out of it about a month back so I don't think anything's getting too hot. I've posted the info from those programs below - the memory info is at the end of the minitoolbox report. Virtual memory is listed at 2GB which is lower than you were expecting, Rshaffer61. I have run a defrag fairly recently but I'll run it again overnight and post back tomorrow to let you know if it solves anything.

Attached File  Result.txt   37.23KB   113 downloads

 

SpeedFan.jpg

It doesn't look as if my motherboard or bios allow much monitoring - I can assure you the fan is running!


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#8
rshaffer61

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Try setting your virtual memory manually at 3.75 gigs and see if that helps.
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#9
Syncmaster75

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Hi,

 

I've defragged my machine overnight and not seen any noticeable performance improvement - looking at the performance tab under task manager it's still showing much lower figures for commit charge and pagefile use than it had before the repair install.

 

Rshaffer61, are you referring to pagefile size when you asked me to set the virtual memory at 3.75 GB? Pagefile and virtual memory are reported as two separate things on the minitoolbox results so I'm a bit confused. I've set the pagefile at 3.75GB but I don't know how to change the virtual memory size if that is something different. Following this change I haven't seen any 'out of memory' error messages but the computer is still running slowly with no change to the figures in the performance tab of task manager.

 

Perhaps if the error messages are gone (I can now open Adobe reader and a web browser at the same time) the general slowness of the pc is a separate issue - I'll continue to troubleshoot it.

 

Thanks for all the help.


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#10
rshaffer61

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Since your Hd doesn't seem to be running low on space, I want to make sure we can get rid of the Virtual memory problem. Please follow the next steps:


Go to Start and then Right click on My Computer
Click on Properties and then click on the Advanced Tab
In the Performance area click on the Settings button
When the new Window opens click on the Advanced Tab
In the Virtual Memory area please click on Change
Half way down the window you will see the System Managed Size option
Select this if it isn't already selected
Now click OK, OK, OK. This will now hopefully end the warnings.


Let me know how everything works then.


Alternate Instructions:

Go to Start then to Control Panel
Click on System then click on Advanced tab.
In the Performance Field click on Settings
Now on the Advanced Tab click on Change
Now take a screenshot and include it in your next reply.

To do a screenshot please have click on your Print Screen on your keyboard. It is normally the key above your number pad between the F12 key and the Scroll Lock key
Now go to Start and then to All Programs
Scroll to Accessories and then click on Paint
In the Empty White Area click and hold the CTRL key and then click the V
Go to the File option at the top and click on Save as
Save as file type JPEG and save it to your Desktop


Attach it to your next reply
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#11
Syncmaster75

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This is the result when I set the virtual memory to 'system managed'

 

Virtual Memory.jpg

 

Virtual Memory2.jpg

 

 

The second pic shows that the system managed size sets vm to 2550MB, although the recomended setting in the first pic is 3825MB. Perhaps this disparity is causing problems, but even if I set vm to 4000MB as a custom size the pc doesn't seem to run any better.

 

Sorry, had to edit to get both screenshots displayed.


Edited by Syncmaster75, 17 November 2014 - 12:21 PM.

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#12
rshaffer61

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OK I reread your original post and just a question. Are you trying to use all the available or is it you are getting the error message that is the problem?
Also is your OS a 32 or 64 bit OS?
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#13
Syncmaster75

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Let me give you some background. Before my system crashed the computer ran well, I regularly scanned for viruses/malware with no detections beyond a few tracking cookies and if I used the task manager to monitor performance I could see that memory usage was around 1GB and pagefile usage at about 2GB - I had the pagefile at a custom size of 4GB giving 6.5GB total memory. The computer then crashed - not sure why as I've never detected any viruses etc. but I was unable to boot and had to recover my data using utilities from a CD. I then used the recovery console to do a repair install of  XP and downloaded and reapplied the service packs to get back to SP3. Since then the computer has never run as well as it used to and became progressively slower and slower until finally it was taking minutes to load some webpages and came up with the 'out of memory' errors that triggered this post. Whenever I've looked at task manager following the repair install the total amount of memory in use has been much lower than before the crash, usually around 750MB total, and the pagefile usage graph has always shown that only a tiny fraction of the pagefile was in use, no matter what programs were open.

 

It seems to me that the poor performance is somehow related to the reduction in the amount of memory in use - I have the same software on the system as I had before the crash and do roughly the same things so memory usage should be the same?

 

The OS is 32 bit XP Home Edition SP3. I haven't seen the 'out of memory' error today even with multiple programs open which is an improvement, however the performance is still poor and some webpages (typically those with video content) take an age to load. Am I right in thinking this is memory related, or do you think that whatever caused the crash is still affecting the system? I've run loads of scans and never had any detections but there's always something that can evade the scanners! It's an old pc and CPU usage can hit 100% if I don't manage the programs in use properly - guess I'll have to buy a new one soon, but I can't afford one just yet.

 

Thanks again


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#14
rshaffer61

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Let me ask since you didn't mention it have you ever ran diagnostics on the HD itself using the manufacturers diagnostic tool?
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#15
Syncmaster75

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Until today I've just relied on chkdsk either from windows (drive properties/tools/error checking) or chkdsk/r from the recovery console. Running this from windows has not produced any major errors when I've looked at the event viewer/application/winlogon report - usually it just has a few unused index entries to clear up. No bad sectors have been detected.

Today I downloaded SeaTools as the system drive is a Seagate model and ran all of the basic tests except the 'fix all/long', no problems found:

Attached File  5JVCQW2S.log   1.05KB   111 downloads

 

 

System Drive Info.jpg

 


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