Windows is full of annoying little errors and “Out of virtual memory” is one of them. Usually your PC starts freezing first. Then an error appears and tells you that your virtual memory is too low.

In this article we are going to explain what causes this error and how to fix it once and for all. And if you have been wondering how to increase virtual memory in Windows 10, this article will be of immense help to you as well.

What Is Virtual Memory?

There are two types of memory available on your computer: your hard drive or solid-state drive and random-access memory (RAM). Virtual memory, also known as the page file or swap file, is a file on your hard disk that Windows uses in addition to physical memory (RAM) whenever the need arises.

In a nutshell, Windows virtual memory’s main aim is to provide space to store, manage and protect your data and optimize your PC for speed and efficiency by temporarily storing information of running tasks and processes. For example, when you are running an application or a process your RAM can’t handle, virtual memory is there to help. All in all, virtual memory in Windows 10 is designed to

  • increase the amount of available memory;
  • help users run more than one app at the same time;
  • let core processes share memory between libraries;
  • improve security, speed, and efficiency;
  • optimize CPU usage; and
  • make computer systems more affordable.

Windows virtual memory is a built-in component, and it comes pre-installed on most modern PCs as part of their CPUs. The more virtual memory you have, the more processes you can run simultaneously. Usually the page file is 1.5 times the amount of physical memory, i.e. a system with 512 MB of RAM will have 768 MB page file. This should be enough to help the system run quickly and efficiently. The bad news is, things do not always go as planned.

Unfortunately, problems like “low virtual memory” and “out of virtual memory” are notorious for pestering Windows users. Such issues tend to cause significant performance delays: for instance, applications take longer to load, and you may find it more difficult to switch between programs when using your PC.

Your computer may even stutter or freeze if you are running low on RAM. With this in mind, you should not turn a blind eye to Windows virtual memory errors. Below you will find tips on how to deal with them effectively.

What Are the Types of Virtual Memory?

There are two types of Windows virtual memory: paged and segmented.

  • Paged virtual memory is the most common implementation of virtual memory. Its main goal is to bring information into primary storage so that you can access it quickly. This type of memory is split into blocks called pages, and each page has a fixed size. At the same time, the physical memory on your computer is split into fixed-size blocks as well, and those are called frames. Pages and frames are of the same sizes, and when the need arises, the pages are mounted into corresponding frames.
  • Segmented virtual memory is less commonly used than its paged counterpart and is split into continuous blocks called segments instead of pages. Those segments can have different sizes. Segmented virtual memory is called resident, which means it is already in primary storage. When an application gets started, it is assigned a certain number of segments. If it does not need all of them, those that are not required at the moment can be reassigned to other apps. If it needs more segments, the system will provide them. Apps can share segments if they use the same code or data. Segmented virtual memory is considered to be more efficient than paged virtual memory since segments are quickly retrieved from the segment cache when needed. That said, it is more complicated and requires more from both your hardware and software.

Why Does the “Low on Virtual Memory” Error Occur?

There are several two things that usually cause this error:

  • You don’t have enough RAM;
  • An application on your computer is buggy and is causing a memory leak.
  • You are running too many apps at the same time.

Whichever the cause of the “out of virtual memory” memory problem in your case, it should not be taken lightly. That said, there is no need to panic. Since virtual memory usage by apps keeps growing, more and more users face related issues, so you are not alone in your predicament.

Solutions to your problem do exist: from simple workarounds like closing unnecessary apps or quitting a resource-hungry program to more complicated fixes like increasing the size of the page file, you have several helpful options at hand.

How to Fix It?

Getting rid of this error is not too difficult, especially if it happens because your computer doesn’t have enough RAM. If that’s the case, all you need to do is add more physical memory to speed up computer performance. While adding more RAM to your machine involves some expenses, it is nevertheless one of the best ways to tackle memory-related issues, especially if you regularly run multiple apps simultaneously or often encounter problems like the one we are discussing here.

To get more RAM, you need to add physical sticks of memory to your computer. If your PC is a desktop machine, you are unlikely to face any difficulty when doing so. However, things may get complicated if you are using a laptop due to the device not having much extra space.

First and foremost, you need to find out whether your RAM is upgradeable. If it is, you need to purchase a RAM module that is compatible with your device’s make and model. Then you should decide on how much extra RAM you need. If you can’t do it immediately, you can increase the size of the page file. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right-click on This PC and go to Properties.
  2. Click on Advanced system settings and go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Click on the Settings button in the Performance section.
  4. A new window will open. Go to the Advanced tab.
  5. Find the Virtual memory section and click on the Change button.
  6. Select the System managed size option or manually change the size of the page file.
  7. Click OK.

What is virtual memory and how to increase it

However, if the error is caused by a buggy application, you’ll first need to identify the culprit. To do that, open the Task Manager (press Ctrl+Alt+Del on your keyboard) and go to the Processes tab. Then click on View –> Select Columns. Check the Virtual Memory Size checkbox and click OK. Now the Task Manager will be showing how much virtual memory each application is using. If you click on the VM Size column name twice, the processes will be sorted based on how much virtual memory they are using, from largest to smallest. You will instantly see which process in the most hungry one.

Then you’ll need to find the application that’s running the process – some, like firefox.exe, are pretty obvious.

If you are not that familiar with processes, download a program called Process Explorer. It doesn’t require installation – all you need to do is run the .exe file. Basically, this program is a much more thorough Task Manager alternative. Once it’s open, click on View –> Select Columns. Then go to the Process Memory tab and check the Virtual Size checkbox. Click OK. Like in Windows Task Manager, you can sort the results. Every process will have the information about the application running it. If you need even more information, hover your mouse over the process in question.

What is virtual memory and how to increase itNow that you know which program is causing low virtual memory, you can try to fix it. First of all try updating the software – usually updates fix bugs like that. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling and reinstalling the application. If that doesn’t work either, contact the software support team and search the Internet for that particular software problem.

You can also use the tool designed by Auslogics to find out why exactly virtual memory is so slow on your PC. Our software doesn’t contain malware, it’s safe and free.

Is the question how to make my computer faster still bothering you? Read our other tips and tricks on how to increase computer speed.

Parting Shots

With Windows dominating the OS market, it is no wonder users are determined to optimize it for the best experience and therefore keep asking, what is virtual memory? We hope this article has provided you with a well-rounded overview of what virtual memory in Windows 10 is and enough information on how to speed up your computer.

Is the question of how to make your computer faster still bothering you? Here is an easy solution: install the BoostSpeed software by Auslogics to improve your system’s overall speed and get the most out of your Windows OS. The tool will help you get rid of junk files, safeguard your privacy, and make sure your PC performs at its best.