Virtual memory is extra "virtual" RAM that Windows XP creates by turning some of your hard drive storage space into a buffer of "virtual" memory that programs can access when not enough physical RAM is available or when a program is specifically designed to use virtual memory to improve efficiency. With Windows XP, virtual memory is almost always in use during regular computer operation as typically only the core Windows system files have straight-through access to the physical RAM installed in your computer.
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"Out of memory" errors are the most common symptom of problems with the Windows virtual memory system. When trying to start an application, you may also receive an error message indicating your "virtual memory is too low".
The cause of these errors could be:
You can access page file and virtual memory area of Windows by right-clicking on My Computer, selecting properties and clicking on the 'advanced' tab. Then click the Performance button. Under 'virtual memory', click 'change' set the page file to the recommended maximum size.
Even if you have a large amount of RAM installed in your PC, setting your page file to the "Recommended" maximum size is best for most users. This will allow you to avoid 'out of memory' and 'low virtual memory' errors in most cases. Occasionally, your hard drive is so low on free space, Windows XP doesn't have enough wiggle room to create virtual memory for use when loading programs etc... In this case, running a disk cleanup (by right clicking on your hard drive in My Computer, and select 'Tools' disk cleanup) will make enough room available to get rid of the errors.