This article deals with an important issue that directly affects the performance of Windows, games and all other software on your computer. I suggest you read the entire article before doing anything.

Adequate virtual memory is essential for smooth gaming (and other software) performance. This is true no matter which version of Windows you’re running. Even Windows 10 uses virtual memory. If you’re running Windows 7 or later you might see an error similar to:

“Your system is running low on virtual memory”

Even if you don’t see an error message similar to the above, your computer might still be low on virtual memory.

 

Increase Virtual Memory

Virtual memory is a section of your hard drive set aside for Windows to use when it runs out of main memory. Windows always ends up using virtual memory. If your computer is a little low on virtual memory, your game and Windows will be slow to respond. If you have very little virtual memory, your game and possibly Windows will crash. Pictured on the right is the “Virtual Memory” window in Windows 10. The corresponding window in Windows 7 is very similar. The steps below are for Windows 10 and Windows 7.

  1. If you are using Windows 10
    1. Type “Advanced System Settings” into the search bar next to the Windows 10 logo. Before you finish typing, it should appear.
    2. Press Enter to load the “System Properties” window
  2. If you are using Windows 7
    1. Right-click “Computer” on the desktop or click the Windows logo at the bottom left and right-click Computer in the Start menu
    2. Select “Properties”
    3. Click “Advanced system settings” near the top left of the window to display the Advanced tab in the “System Properties” window
  3. Click “Settings” in the “Performance” section  to load the “Performance Options” window
  4. Click the “Advanced” tab.
  5. Click “Change” in the “Virtual memory” section to load the “Virtual Memory” window shown on the right
  6. Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” if it is checked
  7. Select “C”: from the list of drives
  8. Select “Custom size”
  9. Set “Initial size” and “Maximum size” to a number equal to twice the amount of main memory. So if you have 8GB of memory, set both “Initial size” and “Maximum size” to 16GB. Value must be specified in MB. To convert GB to MB, multiply number of GB by 1024 so 16GB is 16384 MB.
  10. Click OK all the way out to return to the desktop
  11. .
    If you can’t enter the number you want in the two text boxes, it might be that you don’t have enough available space on your C: drive. Click Cancel to exit, perform a Disk Cleanup (see below) and then try again to increase virtual memory. If you still can’t set it to the correct size, make it as big as you can to improve performance as much as possible. You will then need to install an additional internal HDD or connect a USB HDD.
    .
  12. Click OK all the way out to return to the desktop.

 

Disk Cleanup

The above steps will allow you to increase the size of virtual memory but only if you have available space on your C: drive. What if you have run out of space on your C: drive? If you have run out of space on drive C:, you need to delete unimportant files before following the above steps. This is only a temporary solution to improve your computer’s performance to a level where your computer is useable. The long term solution is to either install an additional internal HDD or connect a USB HDD. You then need to move some data from the drive where Windows is installed (drive C:) to the new HDD. You will then be able to increase the size of virtual memory to the amount you want.

The steps below will help you delete unimportant files so you can increase virtual memory and get your computer working a little better. There is no guarantee but hopefully this makes your computer useable until you install/connect a new HDD. This is called doing a disk cleanup. The steps below are for Windows 10 and Windows 7.

Windows 10:

  1. Type “Disk Cleanup” into the search bar next to the Windows 10 logo. Before you finish typing, it should appear
  2. Press Enter to load the “Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection” window
  3. Select the C: drive from the drop-down menu – it should be displayed by default – and click OK to load the Disk Cleanup window. The window will have one tab – Disk Cleanup – as shown on the right
  4. This window lists various categories of files, most of which are unimportant, and can be deleted. On the right of each category is the amount of space you will get back if you delete the files in that category. On the left of each category is a check-box. Click the check-boxes of categories containing files you wish to delete. The categories are listed below.
    1. “Windows Update Cleanup”. This category is not always displayed. It consists of copies of updates to Windows. You don’t need to keep these files.
    2. “Downloaded Program Files” and “Temporary Internet Files” are files that are created when you surf the World Wide Web. You don’t need to keep these so check both boxes.
    3. “Windows error reports and feedback diagnostics” are diagnostic files generated from Windows errors and user feedback. Most people don’t have a use for these files
    4. “DirectX Shader Cache” refers to files created by the graphics system. These files help speed up application load time and improve responsiveness. Since these files improve performance it would make sense to keep them. If you need the HDD space you can delete them. They will automatically be re-generated when needed.
    5. “Delivery Optimization Files:”
    6. Downloads refers to files in the Downloads folder. Select this to delete all files from the Downloads folder
    7. Recycle Bin” is next. If you’re confident you don’t need anything back from the Recycle Bin, click the box.
    8. “Temporary files” are files created by Windows that are supposed to be deleted automatically but sometimes Windows forgets to delete them. No one needs these files so click the
    9. Thumbnails” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so if you need the HDD space, click the box. Eventually, the files will be re-created.
  5. The “Clean up system files” button
    1. Click the “Clean up System Files” button if you chose the wrong drive earlier from the “Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection” window. The Drive Selection window will appear and you can select a new drive to clean up
    2. By clicking the “Clean up System Files” button you will have more options. The “More Options” tab will appear next to the “Disk Cleanup” tab as shown on the right.
      1. “Programs and Features”
        1. Click “Clean up” under “Programs and Features” to load the “Programs and Features” window where you can  uninstall programs
        2. Close the “Programs and Features” window when you have finished uninstalling programs. The Disk cleanup window will still be open
      2. “System Restore and Shadow Copies”
        1. Click “Clean up” under “System Restore and Shadow Copies” to delete all restore points except for the most recent
        2. Click Delete to confirm that you want to delete the restore points. The Disk cleanup window will still be open
  6. Click the OK button to delete files from all categories that are checked.
  7. Click “Delete Files” to confirm that you want to delete the files
  8. The Disk Cleanup window closes automatically.
  9. Delete any data files (documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos) you no longer need. Deleting a few documents will not help. Deleting a folder of many videos you no longer need would help because videos take up a lot of space.
  10. Try again to increase virtual memory.

 

 

Windows 7:

  1. Click “Computer” on the desktop (Click Start at bottom left. Click “My Computer”.) to display all your drives.
  2. Right-click your C: drive and select “Properties”.
  3. A window loads showing the amount of used and available space on your C: drive. Click “Disk Cleanup” to the right of the pie chart to load the Disk Cleanup window shown on the right
  4. This window lists various categories of files most of which are unimportant and can be deleted. The list of categories might be slightly different if you’re running a version of Windows later than Windows 7. On the right of each category is the amount of space you will get back if you delete the files in that category. On the left of each category is a check-box. Click the check-boxes of categories containing files you wish to delete. The categories are listed below.
    1. “Downloaded Program Files” and “Temporary Internet Files” are files that are created when you surf the World Wide Web. You don’t need to keep these so check both boxes.
    2. “Offline webpages” are pages of websites that you visited. You saved copies of the pages to your HDD so you can look at them later. If you want to keep these, don’t click the check box.
    3. “Debug Dump Files” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so click the box.
    4. “Recycle Bin” is next. If you’re confident you don’t need anything back from the Recycle Bin, click the box.
    5. “Setup Log Files” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so click the box.
    6. “System error memory dump files” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so click the box.
    7. “Temporary files” are files created by Windows that are supposed to be deleted automatically but sometimes Windows forgets to delete them. You don’t need these files so click the box.
    8. “Thumbnails” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so click the box. Eventually, the files will be re-created.
    9. “Per user archived Windows Error Reporting files” are files created by Windows.You have no use for these files so click the box.
    10. “Per user queued Windows Error Reporting files” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so click the box.
    11. “System archived Windows Error Reporting files” are files created by Windows. You have no use for these files so click the box.
    12. “System queued Windows Error Reporting files” are files created by Windows.You have no use for these files so click the box.
  5. Click the “Clean up system files” button in the lower left corner of the window to delete files from all categories that are checked.
  6. When Disk Cleanup is finished, click Cancel to close the Disk Cleanup window.
  7. Click OK or Cancel to close the Properties window of your C: drive.
  8. Delete any data files (documents, spreadsheets, pictures, videos) you no longer need. Deleting a few documents will not help. Deleting a folder of many videos you no longer need would help because videos take up a lot of space.
  9. Try again to increase virtual memory.

 

 

Click here to go to the next troubleshooting page “Please login with administrator privileges and try again”.

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Erick

    Wow, pretty awesome advice to get out of this issue, especially with old programming you might not figure it out easy at first so, thanks for taking time and troubleshooting and see what caused the problem in the old programmes like xp. I wonder if some of these tips actually work for windows 10?

    • admin

      Thank you for your comment. All of my tips apply to every version of Windows including Windows 10. On a few pages I give instructions on how to do something and those instructions are for Windows 7 and Windows 10.

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