I'm getting a virtual memory is low error message

Updated: 03/06/2020 by Computer Hope
virtual memory low error

First off, understand that virtual memory is a part of the computer's hard drive that is set aside and used like RAM (random-access memory) by the operating system. When the physical RAM is all used up, the operating system begins to use the virtual memory. When the virtual memory is nearly all used up, the "Virtual Memory is Low" warning message pops up.

Close open programs

If you have multiple programs open at the same time and they're using up most of your RAM and virtual memory, this can cause the warning message to pop up. Fixing this requires you to close one or more of your open programs, to free up virtual memory and physical RAM space.

Close and then re-open programs

The second possible cause is similar to the first, with the major difference being that one specific program is using up most of the available memory. The reason for this can be that the program uses a large amount of memory, in general, to process a particular function. For example, photo editing, video editing, and CAD (computer-aided design) drawing programs can use up large amounts of memory at times. It's also possible that the program is not functioning correctly, stuck on some process, and causing it to use large amounts of memory. Try closing the program and re-opening it to reset it and correct the issue.

Reboot the computer

Rebooting the computer helps close any background programs and restore any memory that hasn't been recovered. Reboot the computer and see if the virtual memory errors continue.

Not enough memory

If your computer is several years old, not having enough memory for programs to run can cause virtual memory errors. Today, we recommend a computer has at the very minimum of 4 GB and recommend a minimum of 8 GB of memory. The more system memory you have, the less virtual memory will be used.

Bad memory

The third possible cause is a bad memory chip. A defective memory chip results in some memory being unusable, reducing the amount of memory available. In many cases, a blue screen error occurs when a program tries to access the bad part of the memory chip. In other cases, however, the low virtual memory warning message may be all that appears. Replacing the bad memory chip usually resolves the problem.

Bad hard drive

Lastly, a bad hard drive could also cause this warning message to appear. If the section of the hard drive set aside as virtual memory becomes corrupted, the operating system cannot use it and can result in virtual memory warning messages. You can try repairing the corrupted sectors on the hard drive (using a hard drive repair utility) or replacing the hard drive to resolve the problem.