FIX: "Limited Virtual Memory" Error Message When You Start Your Computer

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Article ID: 257758 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q257758
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SYMPTOMS

When you set the paging file (Pagefile.sys) on your computer to a size that is lower than the recommended size of 12 megabytes (MB) plus the amount of random access memory (RAM), a temporary paging file (Temppf.sys) may be created, and you may receive the following error message after you log on:
Limited Virtual Memory

Your system is running without a properly sized paging file. Please use the virtual memory option of the System applet in the Control Panel to create a paging file, or to increase the initial size of your paging file.

CAUSE

This issue can occur when the temporary paging file uses a substantial amount of free space on the hard disk, and the remaining available hard disk space is less than the initial size of the paging file setting that you configured in Control Panel.

RESOLUTION

To resolve this issue, use the appropriate method:

Windows NT-Based Computer

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  2. Click Virtual Memory, set the "Initial Size" and the "Maximum Size" values for the paging file to 0 (zero), and then restart your computer.
  3. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  4. Click Virtual Memory, reset the "Initial Size" and the "Maximum Size" values to the recommended values for Windows NT, and then restart your computer.

Windows 2000-Based Computer

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  2. Click the Advanced tab, click Performance Options, click Change, set the "Initial Size" and the "Maximum Size" values for the paging file to 0 (zero), and then restart your computer.
  3. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  4. Click the Advanced tab, click Performance Options, click Change, reset the "Initial Size" and the "Maximum Size" values to the recommended values for Windows 2000, and then restart your computer.
After you configure the paging file to an appropriate size, the temporary paging file is deleted and virtual memory errors no longer occur.

To work around this issue, create enough free disk space to accommodate the size of the temporary paging file.

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

MORE INFORMATION

The error message listed earlier in this article can occur when the initial paging file size is reduced to an amount considerably smaller than the recommended amount. Windows recognizes that the paging file size is insufficient and creates a temporary paging file of up to 20 megabytes in the Winnt\System32 folder. The System dialog box in Control Panel is then displayed, forcing you to address the paging file problem.

When the free hard disk space on your computer is 30 megabytes or less, issues can occur when you try to correct the insufficient paging file size. The combination of the insufficient paging file size and the temporary paging file size can easily use all of the available free hard disk space. This does not leave enough free space to create a paging file large enough to eliminate the need for the temporary paging file.

The only way to free the disk space that is used by the temporary paging file is to create an appropriately-sized paging file. When it is no longer needed, the temporary paging file is deleted the next time you start your computer, and the disk space is then freed.

Properties

Article ID: 257758 - Last Review: March 1, 2007 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
Keywords: 
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