June 17, 2024

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How to Fix an Out of Memory Error

Experiencing an “out of memory” error usually means that whatever program was being run was not able to load or was not able to complete the task requested by the user. In order to get back on track, here are some suggestions for fixing an “out of memory” error without having to take the computer to a professional.

Overview of Computer Memory Types

A computer makes use of several different kinds of memory during normal use. The two most common are physical memory, such as what is provided by the hard disk, and random-access memory, known as RAM. The latter is what allows a computer to pull up different and unrelated pieces of information almost instantly, while the former type of memory takes time to move physical parts in order to call up information.

These two types of memory work together often. When the user opens a program, the time it takes to load is due to the time required for the part of the disk to move to the appropriate locations and retrieve the program. Once the program is opened, even if it is minimized, it is using up RAM, and it is, thereby, quickly available to the user.

A third type of memory is virtual memory, which is a way (to put it simply) of extending RAM and allowing larger programs to run without actually taking up all of the RAM.

Common Causes of Memory Errors

An “out of memory” error refers to the amount of RAM available for whatever task the computer is being asked to perform. One cause of an “out of memory” error is having too many programs open at once.

Each program takes up an amount of RAM, and once the amount available on the computer is used up, the machine has no more virtual memory available for various tasks, like saving a document. The solution in this case would be to close a few programs and try to limit the number of programs open at one time.

Sometimes a computer is set to have too much RAM, which does not leave enough virtual memory available for certain actions. Occasionally simply opening Windows in this situation may be impossible.

Microsoft recommends fixing this issue by lowering the amount of RAM allowed on the machine to less than 512 megabytes. To do this, a registry key may have to be edited and the user will have to run the command msconfig. Search Microsoft’s Support center for detailed instructions on fixing this issue depending on the version of Windows being run.

Keeping the Registry Clear Boosts Memory

Another way to address an “out of memory” error is to look into using a registry cleaner on the system. A cluttered registry contains too many entries, and ones that may also have been corrupted or misplaced. Extra data takes up memory space and it takes the computer extra time wade through it all.