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How do I know if my computer has a memory problem?

How do I know if my computer has a memory problem?
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Usually, Windows automatically detects possible problems with your computers memory and displays a notification that asks if you want to run the Memory Diagnostics Tool .
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Preventing low memory problems

When your computer does not have enough memory for all the actions it is trying to perform, Windows and your programs can stop working. To help prevent information loss, Windows will notify you when your computer is low on memory. You can also learn to recognize the signs of low memory and take steps to prevent the problem.

What is virtual memory?

If your computer lacks the random access memory (RAM) needed to run a program or operation, Windows uses virtual memory to compensate.
Virtual memory combines your computer's RAM with temporary space on your hard disk. When RAM runs low, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called a paging file. Moving data to and from the paging file frees up RAM to complete its work.

Memory and RAM

Memory, such as random access memory (RAM), is temporary storage space on chips that your computer uses to run Windows and other programs. Memory is different from disk space, which is the amount of storage space available on your computer's hard disk. Different computers and programs have different RAM requirements.

Using memory in your storage device to speed up your computer

Windows ReadyBoost can use storage space on some removable media devices, such as USB flash drives, to speed up your computer. When you insert a device with this capability, the AutoPlay dialog will offer you the option to speed up your system using Windows ReadyBoost. If you select this option, you can then choose how much memory to use for this purpose. However, there are some situations where you may not be able to use all of the memory on your storage device to speed up your computer.

See details about your computer's performance using Task Manager

The Performance tab in Task Manager provides advanced details about how your computer is using system resources, such as random access memory (RAM) and the central processing unit (CPU):
Monitor how much CPU and memory resources are being used.
Get details about how much memory is being used.

Change the size of virtual memory

If you receive warnings that your virtual memory is low, you'll need to increase the minimum size of your paging file. Windows sets the initial minimum size of the paging file at the amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer plus 300 megabytes (MB), and the maximum size at 3 times the amount of RAM installed on your computer. If you see warnings at these recommended levels, then increase the minimum and maximum sizes.

What is CMOS?

Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor, or CMOS, typically refers to a battery-powered memory chip in your computer that stores startup information. Your computer's basic input/output system (BIOS) uses this information when starting your computer.

Find out how much RAM your computer has

Random access memory (RAM) is a general indication of performance that is measured either in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB): the larger the number, the faster some programs will run.

What information is sent to Microsoft when I report a problem

When a hardware or software problem occurs on your computer, Windows collects information that describes the problem, called a problem report. Report details can include, for example, the name of a program that has stopped working, the date and time that a problem occurred, or the version of the program that has encountered the problem.

Here are answers to some common questions about video cards.

How do I find out what kind of video card my computer has? How do I find out how much memory my video card has? How can I find out whether my video card is compatible with Windows? Can I upgrade my video card? How do I update the driver for my video card? What is video acceleration? Can I use more than one video card in my computer? What is a video capture card?