How to Increase Virtual Memory in Windows XP?

As its name suggests, virtual memory is a non-physical memory. When Windows does not have enough physical memory required to perform a certain task, it automatically uses the computer's virtual memory. When this happens, the hard drive is used to store the information that would normally be out in the Random Access Memory (RAM). Virtual memory is defined as simulated RAM. When all the physical memory in the computer has been consumed or used up, the computer will automatically shift the necessary data to a temporary empty space on the hard drive. The pieces of data are swapped to the hard drive and moved back to the RAM as needed. If the hard drive space left is not sufficient and you have been experiencing lots of problems, your computer may be lacking virtual memory. When Windows does not have enough memory (both virtual and non-virtual), it simply stops running or operating well.


Why would you add extra RAM when you can actually use the hard drive space? The main reason is that RAM is a lot faster and whenever you are using too much virtual memory, the computer will slow down. The best solution is to obtain more physical memory. The minimum requirement for a computer running on Windows XP is 512Mb. These days, the price of RAM has gone down and having a one or 2GB memory for the computer is not that costly anymore. The more physical memory your computer has the faster and more efficient the processing of the computer will be and the more applications and programs you can run all the same time.


However, if you keep getting error messages saying that you are running on a low virtual memory and if your only resort is to increase the virtual memory of your computer running on Windows XP Operating System, you can:


  1. Click on the "Start" menu found on the lower left corner of your desktop. Right click on "My Computer" and choose "Properties".
  2. Click the "Advanced tab" and choose "Settings" under the Performance option. Under the Performance options window, choose the "Advance" tab and click "Change" under the Virtual Memory section at the bottom of the window.
  3. Under the Virtual Memory section, choose "Custom size" under the paging file size for the chosen drive to set your computer's virtual memory manually.
  4. Enter the sufficient amount of virtual memory in the "Maximum size" and "Initial size". The amount in the initial and maximum size should be the same. This is important because even a little difference will cause your CPU to change the paging file constantly. The most common value entered in the initial and maximum size is 768Mb. The value you will enter should be at least 1.5 times more than the physical RAM. For instance, if the physical memory is 512Mb. Multiply it by 1.5 and you will get 768Mb.
  5. Click "Set".
  6. Restart your computer when prompted.

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