Windows XP Virtual Memory

Just wondering what is the ideal size of Virtual Memory, what happens if you set it to zero, do we actually need it?

“Virtual Memory” is a mis-nomer for the paging file. Yes, you absolutely do need it if you want your system to operate, but MS is pretty bad at auto-configuring it. First thing to do, if your system has been running for a while, is to set the initial and max sizes at 20MB, then reboot and run a full defrag on your system partition. (unless you have a defrag utility that will defrag the paging file).
Now go back and set the initial and max sizes to at least 1 GB. Always have initial and max sizes the same to avoid fragmentation problems.

It really depends on how much RAM you have, unless you have at least 1GB of RAM you need plenty of paging file space. The old rule of thumb was to set it at 1.5x your RAM amount, but this is outdated. Many current tasks like video editing and transcoding , DVD burning and such, can consume massive amounts of paging file space.

I have 1 GB of RAM and also set the file to 1GB. I have been able to run it at 500MB without problems, but prefer the extra space. Windows will warn you if you run out of space.

Thank you very much for explaining. I asked the question, because DVD Shrink stated that my system ran out of memory (Windows let me know that it was virtual memory).

It happened only once, but I will follow your advice.

An alternative to shrinking the page file before defragging, is to move the page file to another drive (disk, or partition), reboot, and defrag.

This, IMO is a safer method, should windows suddenly decide it needs virtual memory (aka. swapdisk/pagefile) over 20MB (in rdgrimes example). Why would that happen? I don’t have a clue, but do you trust M$? Mabey I am just paranoid :wink:

Thanks for the advice. I agree what concerns MS and the swap file. That was one of the reasons why I asked the question about virtual memory.

It’s highly recommended to leave about 20MB of paging file on the system partition at all times. This space is used by the OS for logging and other system tasks. Putting the file on another disc is fine, as long as that disc is not used for anything other than storage.