Solution to "Out of Memory" problem on Windows

Insufficient memory
If we open many programs on Windows 10 and our computer does not have much RAM, an error message may appear that says “Insufficient memory“, with the suggestion to close the heavier program or programs running at that precise moment.
If you do not close anything and ignore the message, you can continue working, but there is a risk that one of the programs will crash and suddenly close without saving your work.
The low memory problem on Windows is rather annoying because it can also appear if only the web browser is open, with many open tabs, or after opening two or three very heavy programs (for example a video editor, a graphics program, and a vector graphics program).
Let’s see together how to easily solve this problem and how to prevent the warning from appearing again.READ ALSO: Virtual memory: paging file setting, Windows pagefile.sys

Insufficient memory on Windows: how to fix

Even if this error is not as frequent as in the past, it is still advisable to always keep this guide at hand, so that you can understand the nature of the error and act promptly so that it does not occur again.

What does low memory mean on a PC?

First of all, this problem refers to the RAM memory and has nothing to do with the hard disk space and SSD, which show another type of warning in case of problems with the residual space (however very rare these days with disks from 1 TB or higher).
Windows runs programs in the physical memory, call RAM (Random Access Memory or Random Access Memory), also flanked by the virtual memory. If RAM runs out, Windows uses virtual memory by exploiting a file on the hard disk called paging file or pagefile.sys: we can continue to work, but the PC will slow down considerably since it is using a slower part of memory than RAM.
However, if the maximum amount of the paging file is also exhausted, Windows 10 no longer knows where to save the new files and the message of insufficient memory appears.

Increase the physical RAM

The most obvious solution involves install additional RAM: to be able to run most of the modern programs without problems we advise you to focus on at least 16GB of RAM and to use only 64-bit operating systems (now the norm on all PCs sold after 2010).
We must therefore find out what RAM we have, how many modules we can install on the PC or notebook in use, and which parameters are required for the correct functioning of the new RAM banks; all of this information can be obtained using a free program like Speccy.

To find out all the details on the RAM memory just press on the menu RAM within the program.
Another very useful program to understand which RAM our computer needs is CPU-Z, which can also be downloaded for free.
CPU-Z

With this program, we will be able to discover all the parameters of the RAM already present, the frequency, the type, and the number of slots present.
After having retrieved all the useful information on RAM, we can choose the new banks by reading our guides Computer RAM types: DDR, shape, and speed How to increase RAM and add new memory to your PC.

Increase virtual RAM

As a buffer or emergency solution, we can also increase the virtual RAM of Windows 10, waiting to install the new modules (not to be postponed for a long time, since the virtual RAM is very slow).
To do this update we open the Start menu on Windows 10, look for the item View advanced system settings (we can also just search for “advanced settings” to see the item appear), press the button Settings below the section Performance, let’s go to the card Advanced, we press the button Change and then remove the checkmark on the item at the top Automatically manage paging file size for all drives and we check the item Custom size.
Virtual memory

In the two fields, we must enter the size of the paging file, by entering a minimum value and a maximum value (expressed in MB). In another article, we tried to give indications regarding the optimal values ​​for virtual memory and Windows page files indicating a rule for which you must have one maximum size that is 1.5 times the physical RAM. This rule, however, shows its limits if there is the problem of insufficient memory so you have to increase it.
On a PC with 8GB of RAM or less I would say you can have virtual memory with a size minimum 8000 and as a maxim 16000. You must not put too low values, otherwise, nothing runs anymore, nor too high otherwise it slows down the computer and becomes unstable.

Other tricks to fix the “low memory” problem

If all of these tips do not resolve the low memory problem, there may be other factors for the reasons. First of all, it is worth investigating the programs running in the background; then we open Activity management (right-click on the taskbar) and we sort the processes by Memory by clicking on the column header.
Task Manager

For each process you can see the responsible program or service, so you can find out what takes up a lot of RAM and what we can close immediately without hesitation.
In another article we have seen which services can be disabled on Windows to speed up the PC; the goal is to shut down unnecessary active Windows processes and eliminate wasted memory.

On a Microsoft support article, there is another solution, that changes the size of the desktop heap. Regardless of what this means, this size is specified in a registry key that must be changed manually. To make this change, press on WIN + R and, in the Run window, type the command regedit and press enter.
Expanding the branches of the keys directory on the left, navigate to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Session Manager SubSystems.
Let’s go to the center of the window and press the right button on the key Windows to change it.
You will find a value like: % SystemRoot% system32 csrss.exe ObjectDirectory = Windows SharedSection = xxxx, yyyy, zzzz etc.
Regedit

We modify the value of yyyy by writing the number 12288 for the old 32-bit systems and 20480 for the 64bit systems; we now also modify zzzz with the number 1024.
After this change, we close, restart the PC, and check if the insufficient memory error continues to appear or if it becomes less frequent.

Conclusions

If the RAM memory of our computer is low (equal to or less than 8GB of RAM) we will not be able to open many programs at the same time, but we will have to be content with opening one or two programs at a time, while still trying not to saturate the memory (many browser tabs are enough to bring up the RAM warning window again).

We don’t want or can’t upgrade the RAM memory? In this case, we will have to use programs that take up little RAM and give up Windows 10 for light operating systems, as seen in our guides Lighter and more portable browsers to use on any PC is Best lightweight and fast Linux based portable operating systems.
If we want to speed up the start of programs with RAM-Disk, we can learn more by reading our article Create a RAM-Disk to launch files and programs from fast memory.

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