How to Increase Virtual Memory
For computer users that multi-task or work with high performance applications, you should know about virtual memory and how to get the most from it. Virtual memory can be best described as simulated RAM. If your computer has 1 GB of RAM and you use up all of this memory with the OS and several applications, your computer is forced to compensate by switching from physical RAM to virtual memory. Without virtual memory, once your computer ran out of physical RAM, no other programs or higher performance could be possible.
With virtual memory, the computer copies data from the RAM and writes it to the hard drive- essentially freeing up RAM and allowing you to open additional applications or allow a high performance application to run uninhibited.
However, the downside of virtual memory is that since virtual memory is copied to your hard drive and your hard drive is much slower than physical RAM, the user will notice a significant decrease in performance. If you would like to increase performance, there are a few things you can do. Here are some tips to increase virtual memory for both Windows XP and Vista.
One of the ways to increase virtual memory is to increase the Paging File size. The Paging File gives the operating system specific instructions on the amount of virtual memory that can be used when your physical RAM has been exhausted.
- Start up your computer, click Start and then click Control Panel
- Click on Performance and Maintenance and then click on System
- Access the Advanced tab, Click Performance and then Click Settings
- You should see Virtual Memory Listed, click to change
- Click the Drive that contains the paging file that you want to change. The drive you click on should be the one where your OS is located.
- Once you are located in the menu for Paging File Size and you have selected the drive with your OS, check the Custom Size check box. In this field, you can enter the amount of memory that you prefer to reserve for Virtual Memory. There are two fields, one for initial and one for maximum memory size. While there are two fields, make your initial size the same size as the maximum for top performance. Now click Set.
Once you have changed the settings to incorporate maximum paging file size for your virtual memory you should start to see better performance when you are running lots of applications or high usage applications.