When your computer does not have the required memory for optimal performance, Windows and some or all of your programs can stop working almost instantaneously. In order to prevent information loss, Windows usually notify you when your computer is low on memory. You can also recognize the signs of low memory in your computer and take adequate steps to prevent the problem.
What are the Obvious Signs of Low Memory?
Some signs of low memory on your computer include poor performance, computer freezing, overheating, low-memory or out-of-memory notifications, and display problems. For instance, if you try to open a menu in a program when your computer is low on memory, the program might freeze, respond slowly or appear to stop responding altogether. If the menu eventually appears, it may not respond when you try to click on an item or it may not display all items correctly. If you click a menu item, the menu may disappear and leaving a blank area on the screen instead of displaying the contents of the document or file you are working on.
Why Do Low Memory Problems Occur In Computers?
Your computer has two types of memory, the Random Access Memory (RAM) and the Virtual Memory. All programs in your computer use RAM, however when there is no enough RAM for the program you are trying to run, Windows temporarily moves information that would normally be stored in RAM to a file on your hard disk which is called a Paging File. The amount of information or data temporarily stored in a Paging File is referred to as Virtual Memory. Thus, in using virtual memory, data and information are moved to and from the paging file thereby freeing up enough RAM for programs to run efficiently.
Low memory problems occur when your computer runs out of RAM and becomes low on virtual memory. This can happen when you execute or run more programs than the RAM installed on the computer can handle. Low memory problems can also arise when a program does not free up memory that it no longer needs. This problem is called Memory Overuse or a Memory Leak.
How Can I Prevent Low Memory Problems?
Running fewer programs at a time can greatly help in preventing low memory problems and information loss. It is a good practice to observe which programs show signs of low memory conditions and try as much as possible not to run them at the same time.
However, it is not always convenient or practicable to run a limited number of programs. Signs of low memory may indicate that the computer needs more RAM to support the programs you use. Here are some important and recommended ways to prevent or mitigate low memory problems in your computer.
- Increase the Paging File (Virtual Memory) size
Windows will automatically attempt to increase the Paging File size the first time your computer becomes low on memory, however, you can also manually increase the virtual up to a maximum size that is determined by the amount of RAM installed. Although increasing the Paging File size can help in preventing low memory problems, it can also make your programs run more slowly. Since your computer reads information and data from RAM much faster than from a hard disk (where the paging file located), creating too much virtual memory available to programs can substantially slow down your computer.
- Install more RAM
If you notice signs of low memory, or if Windows warns you about a low memory issue, check the information that came with your computer or contact the computer manufacturer to determine which type of RAM is suitable or compatible with your computer, and then install more RAM. In order to install RAM, make sure you check the information provided by your computer manufacturer.
- Determine if a program overuses memory
If the computer becomes low on memory whenever you execute or run certain programs, one or more of those programs might have a memory leak. In order to stop a memory leak, you will need to close the program. To repair a memory leak, you will need to check for updates for the program or possibly contact the publisher of the software.
In order to determine which program in your computer is using the most memory, you can follow these steps:
- Open the Task Manager.(You can access this by typing Task manager in the search box of your control panel)
2. Click the ‘Processes’ tab.
To sort programs by memory usage, click ‘Memory’ (Private Working Set).
You can also check for program errors and troubleshooting information using Event Viewer. You can do this by following these steps:
- Open the event Viewer
- If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, just type in the password or provide confirmation.
- In the left pane, click on ‘Applications and Services’ Logs to view error events. In order to see a description of the problem, you double-click the event. To see if troubleshooting information is available, look for a link to online help.