Windows Vista and memory related performance problems

Since I built my new computer this past February, I’ve encountered periodic memory related errors. I have 4GB of RAM and a fancy new AMD X2 CPU running Windows Vista Business, but I kept receiving errors that I couldn’t start new processes due to a lack of resources. Task Manager showed I was only using about 30% of system resources.

Luckily this only happened when I had an obnoxious number of applications and windows opened, so I just dealt with it. But when I was scanning my RSS feeds this morning I saw Ed Bott has written a post describing the fix for this issue on both 32 and 64 bit platforms. It seems this problem has been around from the old Windows NT days (see KB 126962), and is related to the size of the desktop heap.

To fix this issue you will need to change the value of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\SubSystems\ key . Edit the Windows value. If you’re not sure how to do this, you probably shouldn’t be messing in the registry to begin with.

Anyway, look for the section that begins with Shared Section. Change the second number from it’s default of 3072 to 4096. Restart your computer and test to see if you can now open more apps and windows. If your performance is still not acceptable, keep increasing that value in increments of 1024. Don’t forget to reboot after each change.

For more information, see the Windows Desktop Heap Guide and the Ask The Performance Team blog.

2 Responses to “Windows Vista and memory related performance problems”

  1. peter2007 Says:

    I have the same issue so; I tried to changing the shared section and received a Blue Screen in Vista. Likely I performed a system restore and fix that Problem. I would recommend not changing the shared section. Thanks

  2. Julie Says:

    Thanks for the info. Can you give us some additional details, like CPU you’re using, which version of Vista, etc. Also, can you tell us what the bsod stop error was, or capture an image with a digital camera. Also, which number did you use in the Shared Section? 4096? Thanks, Julie

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