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Windows XP Memory Requirements

Question asked on August 9, 2006 9:16 PM :: :: Comments (0) :: TrackBacks (0)


Microsoft recommends a minimum of 128MB ram to Windows XP Home and it is certainly possible to run XP Home with that amount. XP does a much better job of managing resources than previous releases of Windows and with the low cost of memory, not many people have had to worry about it.

Previous versions of Windows included a small applet named Resource Manager that would show the amount of free resources still available. Microsoft is now providing similar information on the Performance tab of Windows Task Manager (press CTRL-Alt-Del to start Task Manger, you may need to click on the Task Manager button if you get a dilog window instead).

On the Performance tab you will notice several graphcs as well as three boxes listing Physical Memory, Kernel Memory, and Commit Charge. It is this last one, Commit Charge, that is the most important to look at. The three values it displays are Total, Limit, and Peak.

Total is the amount of memory currently being used, this includes both physical memory and virtual memory. This value will change as you open and close programs.

Limit is the maximum amount of physical and virtual memory available on your system and should never change unless you do so manually by modifying the size of your swap file.

Peak is the maximum amount of memory that was used at any one time since you last started your PC.

Your Limit amount should be between 1 - 1.5 times the amount of physical memory installed in your machine. You can modify this value by changing the size of your Paging File.

Right-click on My Computer
Select Properties
Click the Advanced Tab
Click the Settings button in the Performance box
Click the Change button in the Virtual memory box
Modify the values as needed

Custom size is recommended with the initial size set to 1 - 1.5 times physical memory and the maximum size can be set to the same value or higher.

The Total and Peak values are the ones you need to watch. If Peak is consistently 50% higher than your total physical memory, you are probably trying to run too many programs at one time. Remember that Peak gets reset everytime you restart your machine, so you have to watch its value over several restarts.

Total should level off no higher than 125% of total physical memory. You can spike higher, but if you are consistently higher than that 125% of total physical memory, you should look at quiting some applications or adding more memory.


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