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Windows XP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Virtual memory minimum is too low

I keep getting this error message: "Virtual memory minimum is too low. Windows is increasing the size of the virtual memory paging file."

What does this mean?

Answer:

The virtual memory is the space your computer uses when it runs short of RAM memory. The paging file is the place where Windows handles your virtual memory settings. If your computer wants to change it, you should go ahead and let it because XP will adjust the setting to meet the current memory needs. I do not recommend changing these settings manually as Windows can manage the size much more efficiently than the user can. Making your virtual memory setting larger will increase the number of addresses and will make Windows lazy.

Adding more RAM may also be of benefit as this will reduce the need for virtual memory to be used in the first place. For running Windows XP, I suggest at least 384MB. In general, adding more RAM is the most cost effective means of boosting a computer's performance.

I recommend buying quality RAM from a reputable company. Some cheap (unbranded) RAM can on occasion be defective resulting in 'unexplained' crashes or freezes. Brands to look for are Mushkin, Crucial and Kingston. To determine the price and availability for a particular computer, select its manufacturer and then the model from the menus on Crucial's site:

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