Virtual Memory too low....a little question

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Well-known member
Sep 1, 2006
Florida, USA
For the first time this morning I was greeted with the problem warning.

  I proceeded to do my usual cleaning procedure.. CC, Clean disk and the went to defrag. The defrag showed a large area in red near the end of the graph. During all this the disk indicator was flickering for a very long time. The defrag reported that it could not finish (defrag) that 1MB area.

  After a while all settled down and all is working well. Now what ?

  I see that there are several downloads available from differing sources to easily fix the problem.

  Should I worry or take action.  If a download is required to solve that problem, which program would be the easiest and fastest.  Any recommendation ?

  Running XP-SP3

Just what is the problem?  Low virtual memory or unable to defragment part of the disk?  If you've let Windows manage your swap space (virtual memory) then you won't ever run out unless you are running out of hard disk space.  Low free space on the hard disk can also prevent the defragmenter from completing.  Using NTFS, which you should be for Windows XP or later, there is no real need for defragmenting at all.
I think you should run a malwarebytes scan (as administrator).  If this is a "new" problem and no changes have been made, you may have picked up some malware.

My opinion on fragmentation is that it is important to defrag Windows operating systems.  I generally use defraggler as I find selecting the files to be defragmented is usually quicker than the built in Windows utility.  Swap files I always set to static as the changing size of the Windows automated swap file increases the risk of corruption and degrades performance of the overall system. Of course we all have opinions and mine are no better than others, although they are based on small business experience (instead of home use).
Thanks Ned and tnthub.  Let me see if I can untangle my little problem.

To reiterate: Yesterday morning I got a pop-up warning that Virtual memory was too low and this may result in bigger problems.

  Never haven had this happen before I decided to look around and proceeded with my usual cleaning process. When I got to the defrag analysis screen, it was a mess and the note said that I should defrag, which I proceeded to do.  Took a long time but could not finish for some reason. That's why I posted my first post seeking a bit of advise.

I left that pursuit and continued with my regular activities...RVforum etc.

All ok until 6pm  when the BSOD (blue screen) filled the screen. It said something about having discovered problems and was undertaking "memory dump" and other things. Now I had a dead computer. Nothing worked; could not even turn off the power. So... I pulled the plug and let it sit for a while. When I turned it back on again it did reboot. MS message suggested I send in a report, which I did; did get confirmation that they had received the report.

After that the system started to go into action and by midnight it was finished. All systems seemed to work fine.

  This morning I double-checked the defrag screen; it was perfectly clean. Hurray

I had no knowledge of the NTFS situation...above my pay grade. I usually...for years.. only defrag when asked to do so or if the chart looks really messy.

  All is well now; the only thing I noticed so far that my google home page was inoperative; the search entry box was missing. I fixed that by installing the real Firefox-Google home page.

Big smile on my face now. So all is well on the Eastern Front. Thanks for trying to help.

whenever I see stuff like this I always recommend making a backup of at least your pst (email data file), and any documents, pictures, videos and spreadsheets, any accounting data like Quick Books or Quicken, and tax program data, and your links, to a USB thumb drive.  That way if you happen to have a failing hard drive that had a bad spot causing a BSOD you can at least restore the stuff most difficult to re-create.
Obviously something is not good, even if it does seem okay now.  I agree with tnthub, it's a good time to back up important files.  Then run chkdsk.  Probably the best way to do this is to open a CMD (DOS) window and type chkdsk c: /r.  This will perform a thorough scan of your hard drive and attempt to repair any sector errors it encounters.  Since this is your main system drive, it cannot do this right off.  Instead, it should indicate such and ask if you want it to preform this job on the next reboot.  Answer yes and reboot.  Be aware this procedure can take a long time depending upon the size of your hard drive.

Another matter not yet addressed by you is how much free space do you have on your hard drive?  If you are down to 10% or so free space you start losing Window's ability to expand virtual memory as required.  You may need to clean up your drive or upgrade.
I agree with most of the above suggestions.  Of course, you should be taking regular backups of your important files.  You've seen me emphasize that enough in the past.  I don't agree with running regular defrags, especially on a NTFS drive.  To see what the file system is, open the Properties for the drive and it will state on the General tab.  Defrag is particularly unneeded if your drive is almost full as it will not have enough room to do its job.  The low virtual memory message also indicates a nearly full drive.  Do clean out your temp folder and temporary internet files regularly.  I believe you have CCleaner so run that once a week to clear those items and the browser caches.  Do not delete cookies, however.

I would also run a scan for malware, I suggest the free scanner from
Here are the stats:  149GB capacity,  135GB free space,  90 % free

Am reading and learning as I go....

Obviously, free space isn't the problem.  If you have a fixed size swap file, that could account for the low virtual memory message depending on what was running at the time.  I strongly suggest you do the malware scan I recommended.  And with that much of the drive free, defragging isn't going to make any noticeable difference.
Thanks for your referral to, Ned.  I did the free download, ran the scan, and it picked up (and then eliminated) two nasties of which I was unaware.

Margi, where have you been going on the internet? :)
I couldn't tell by the name of the file where it came from.  Probably from one of the hidden object games I downloaded.  No racy stuff for this old-ish lady.  ;D

Downloading from the Internet is dangerous stuff unless you are positive the site you are downloading from is legitimate. If you can figure out where the download came from you should avoid that site in the future.

Ned's recommendation is a good one. Everyone should scan for malware.
Margi, today any web site, even well known and trusted ones, can be and have been compromised.  That's why it's important to run good security in your browser.  Things like NoScript for Firefox are good ways to prevent the "driveby" installation of malware.  Scripting, particularly what is called cross site scripting, is the most common route to getting infested, and of course, do be sure that Java is disabled in all the browsers.
Also, when you run a malwarebytes scan, select  "run as administrator".  In Ccleaner, you have the ability to select which cookies you want to keep.  Once you go through the process of learning which cookies you want, you can then select to clean cookies and it will  eliminate uninvited cookies and keep the ones you want.
Configure your browser to not accept 3rd party (those are never desired) cookies and you'll only keep the good ones and never have to clean them up :)  Also, in Firefox, you can tell it to set the cookies from a web site to session only so they never get saved.
A little update on my Virtual memory problem.

  I took the advise from earlier posts.  Went ahead and took the free offer. No problem and it cleaned the first 100 problems. However; there were a whole bunch still to go. Now way of knowing what the problems were.  I decided to bite the small bullet (29.95/yr) and sign up.

  Today I completed the procedure... with some difficulty. The sign-up website was very instructive on the proper way to do it, but The website, to me, was not very user-friendly, lots of places to hit the wrong key or miss something. However; I am now an expert at it. (old age creeping up).  ;)

  After the big search it found a total of 2016 errors and fixed them. I suppose a great percentage of those were merely little bits of junk littered throughout the system. Well I feel better.

Selected automatic scan for once a week. 

Wow, I've never had malwarebytes scan find more than one or two things, and those were always false positives.  What have you been doing, Carson?
Wow is right, Ned.  I am probably the most innocent user on the web.  I have no idea why all these things appeared after 4 years.  No gaming, no risky sites etc ever.... DW uses the pc after I go to bed but I can tell from the history that she is a good girl.
  Ok, just another enigma. Just don't tell me to junk the PC and get a new one. Even my printer is acting up now.

Prints everything except informative text.  Think I'll go have a nap. :mad:
Top Bottom