What Is Virtual Memory?


What Is Virtual Memory

What is the virtual memory?

How virtual memory works – Virtual memory uses both hardware and software to operate. When an application is in use, data from that program is stored in a physical address using RAM. A memory management unit ( MMU ) maps the address to RAM and automatically translates addresses.

  1. The MMU can, for example, map a logical address space to a corresponding physical address.
  2. If, at any point, the RAM space is needed for something more urgent, data can be swapped out of RAM and into virtual memory.
  3. The computer’s memory manager is in charge of keeping track of the shifts between physical and virtual memory.

If that data is needed again, the computer’s MMU will use a context switch to resume execution. While copying virtual memory into physical memory, the OS divides memory with a fixed number of addresses into either pagefiles or swap files, Each page is stored on a disk, and when the page is needed, the OS copies it from the disk to main memory and translates the virtual addresses into real addresses.

Is virtual memory a RAM?

How virtual memory works – Virtual memory is an area of a computer system’s secondary memory storage space, such as an HDD or SSD, that acts as if it were a part of the system’s RAM or primary memory. Ideally, the data needed to run applications is stored in RAM, where the CPU can quickly access it.

  1. But when the system is running large applications or when many applications are running at once, the system’s RAM may fill completely.
  2. There’s a workaround to this problem: data stored in RAM that isn’t actively being used can be temporarily moved to virtual memory, which is physically located on a hard drive or other storage device.

This frees up space in RAM, which can then accommodate data the system needs to access immediately. By swapping data between RAM and virtual memory when it is not needed and back from virtual memory to RAM when it is needed, a system can continue to work smoothly with far less physical RAM than it would otherwise require.

Should virtual memory be on or off?

Virtual memory – settings and suggestions | Crucial.com Virtual memory (also known as a page file) is essentially a block of space on your hard drive or solid state drive allocated by the OS to pretend to be RAM when your physical RAM runs short for actively running programs.

It supplies additional “fake” RAM to allow programs to continue functioning, but because HDD and SSD access and performance is much slower than that of actual RAM, noticeable performance loss is usually observed when relying extensively on virtual memory. Managing virtual memory in a Windows® system is relatively easy, but largely unnecessary.

Windows will, by default, adjust virtual memory on the fly based on your needs and your installed RAM. It tries to set itself to what it expects you to need based on your installed RAM and it will adjust itself if your usage spikes. This can lead to it self-adjusting to end up taking a large amount of space if you are currently running a large amount of RAM (for example a system with 8GB of RAM will often default to 8GB of virtual memory and can grow as large as 16GB).

  • Some users will change the virtual memory settings to reduce space being used by their OS on their hard drive or solid state drive because they feel they have sufficient RAM to never need the virtual memory feature of their OS.
  • Users also want to reclaim space that is being “wasted” if virtual memory is not being used, this especially happens with higher cost storage on an SSD.

However, reducing or eliminating your virtual memory to free up drive space carries some risk of causing errors or system instability in cases where you would need more virtual memory but have capped what your system can use. Increasing this memory setting is also generally not needed.

  1. Instances where more virtual memory makes the difference between a program working or not are best solved with a RAM upgrade, as RAM speeds greatly exceed the performance of virtual memory.
  2. Your system performance will be reduced compared to improving the dedicated hardware meant to provide this benefit.

Manual adjustments to this setting are done at your own risk, and this should not be attempted unless you have solid guidelines about what you actually need. Under-allocating space for virtual memory can lead to programs or your system as a whole malfunctioning.

Enter system properties by either the System link in the System and Security sub-menu of Control Panel or by right-clicking Computer in your start menu and selecting Properties (Windows 7 and earlier only). This will open the window pictured below.

Select Advanced System Settings (link outlined in red numbered 1 in the above screen). This will open a window titled System Properties,

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Click the “Settings” button in the performance category (outlined button labeled 2 in the screenshot above). This opens the performance options window. Navigate to the advanced tab (outlined and labeled 3) then click the change button (outlined and labeled 4). This will open the virtual memory window (outlined and labeled 5), from which any adjustments can be made.

If you disable the ‘automatically manage paging file size for all drives’, this window will allow you to manually set sizes or size ranges, specify which drive this space is placed on if you have more than one (to free up space on an SSD by moving the page file to a secondary platter hard drive), or disable the feature entirely.

While some users do shut off automatic management, or virtual memory features as a whole, our official recommendation is to leave it in place. If you are comfortable reducing the size based on your usage that can be done safely, but disabling this entirely is not necessarily safe. Even if you feel you have sufficient RAM to go without this, that change does put you at risk of poorly optimized software, particularly something with a memory leak issue ballooning it’s RAM footprint, causing malfunctions later.

: Virtual memory – settings and suggestions | Crucial.com

What is virtual memory why it is used?

Virtual Memory – Virtual memory provides virtual address mapping between applications and hardware memory. Virtual memory provides many functions, including multitasking (multiple tasks executing at once on one CPU), allowing multiple processes to access the same shared library in memory, swapping, and others.

How much virtual memory should I set?

How To: Increase Virtual Memory beyond the Recommended Maximum The instructions provided describe how to increase virtual memory beyond the recommended maximum. Increasing virtual memory beyond the recommended maximum enables users to export large map documents to PDFs that preserve all of the map elements.

  • What is virtual memory? Virtual memory is simulated RAM.
  • When all of the RAM in a machine being is used, the computer shifts data to an empty space on the hard drive.
  • The computer swaps data to the hard disk and back to the RAM as needed.
  • When virtual memory is increased, the empty space reserved for RAM overflow increases.

Having enough available space is absolutely necessary for virtual memory and RAM to function properly. Virtual memory performance can be improved automatically by freeing up resources in the registry. Warning : The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system.

It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary. Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.

The virtual memory is increased by accessing the system settings and then adjusting the virtual memory setting.

Access the System Properties settings.

Go to Start > Run,Type sysdm.cpl and click OK,In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.Under Performance, click Settings,In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

Adjust the virtual memory setting.

Note: The Virtual memory section is at the bottom of the dialog box. The value following Total paging file size for all drives: is the size in MB of the system’s virtual memory.

In the Virtual memory section, click the Change button.In the ‘Paging file size for selected drive’ section, select the Custom size option.Set the Initial size (MB) and the Maximum size (MB).

Note: This defines the initial (base) size of disk space that Windows sets aside to be used solely for the purpose of virtual memory. The initial size can be matched to the maximum size, or both can be increased. Increasing the maximum size enables exporting large maps that would not normally export if the settings were at the recommended size. What Is Virtual Memory

Click the Set button and click OK to close the dialog boxes.

If the virtual memory setting is too low and all virtual memory is in use, Windows may issue a warning. : How To: Increase Virtual Memory beyond the Recommended Maximum

What is virtual memory example?

Example of virtual memory A business owner uses their computer’s virtual memory system when running multiple applications simultaneously. The user tries to load their email in their browser window while also running word processing software, shift scheduling software and a content management system.

Can I use SSD as virtual memory?

Virtual Memory and SSD SSDs are slower than RAM, but faster than HDDs. So, the obvious place for an SSD to fit into virtual memory is as swap space (swap partion in Linux; page file in Windows). The operating system automatically uses the swap space as needed when RAM is in short supply, so by putting swap on the SSD, you get faster-than-HDD performance when swap is needed.

  • On Windows the page file normally lives at C:\pagefile.sys, so to put that on SSD you’d have to either put your C: drive on SSD, or somehow tell Windows to put the page file elsewhere.
  • The other method that you seem to be suggesting is to somehow make the SSD look like additional RAM to the OS.
  • I don’t know how you would do that, but I agree that it would be a bad idea, since SSDs (flash memory) are slower than RAM.

: Virtual Memory and SSD

Does 16GB RAM need virtual memory?

As a general guideline, the virtual memory size is often set to a value that is equivalent to or slightly larger than the amount of installed RAM. For a system with 16GB of RAM, setting the virtual memory size to 16GB or a bit higher is a common recommendation.

Does more RAM mean more virtual memory?

Other Ways to Increase Your Virtual Memory – If you find that your system still runs slowly following the paging file size adjustment, you must consider upgrading your RAM, Upgrading your RAM is the only way you can increase your virtual memory, by increasing the amount of overall memory available to the system.

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Do I need virtual memory with 128GB RAM?

My Computers –

OS Win11 Pro RTM Computer type Laptop Manufacturer/Model Dell Vostro 14 (3400) CPU Intel Core i5 11th Gen.2.40GHz Memory 12GB Hard Drives 256GB SSD NVMe Operating System Windows 11 Pro RTM x64 Computer type PC/Desktop Manufacturer/Model Dell Vostro 5890 CPU Intel Core i5 10th Gen.2.90GHz Memory 16GB Graphics card(s) Onboard, no VGA, using a DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter Monitor(s) Displays 24″ Dell Hard Drives 512GB SSD NVMe, 2TB WDC HDD Browser Firefox, Edge Antivirus Windows Defender/Microsoft Security


Virtual Memory gives a program the ability to perform better on large files when the physical memory has filled up and older data can be swapped out to VM without having the program crash or lose a document being worked on. To avoid use of it merely requires having as much physical memory modules installed, e.g.

having 128GB RAM may never require VM. A few things that need more RAM are video editing, gaming, working on large documents such as spreadsheets and databases, accounting programs, etc. I’ve not played with memory compression, no need yet. The main issue with memory, data stored in it, is that a crash or reboot will cause loss of that data.

Some programs have a setting that can autostore or recover against such an event. Hi there It’s not so simple – this is not a 1:1 relationship. Disk I/O is generally very slow compared with cpu / memory operations – so what the computer tends to do is store “pending I/O” requests into the fast areas of the disk controller or cache area -so always when buying HDD’s look for those with the largest and fastest cache systems for best performance.

These are “queued up” and then executed while the computer is doing other things e.g waiting for keyboard input or output to video. Since also only a small amount of RAM is currently in use at any one time the system makes an “internal” map of RAM use so each time an app gets focus again its entire memory space doesn’t need to be reloaded again.

This is known essentially as demand paging and works essentially by a complex algorithm known as LRU or “Least Recently Used” which are flushed first. Don’t confuse with Swapping where an entire users address space is written to disk – a much slower process and only really of concern to multi-user systems with many users concurrently logged on.

Why is more RAM better than virtual memory?

Understanding RAM – Generally, the more RAM your computer has, the larger the digital countertop you have to work on and the faster your programs will run. If your computer is running slowly due to a lack of RAM, you might be tempted to increase virtual memory because it is less expensive.

What happens if you use too much virtual memory?

Why not use virtual memory all the time? – Virtual memory is an amazing tool that helps people get more out of limited memory resources on their computers, so why not use it all the time — or even dedicate an entire hard drive for virtual memory? There are two big reasons that virtual memory shouldn’t be the default substitute for RAM.

  1. First, it takes more time to read and write data on a hard drive than it does on RAM.
  2. The more your computer relies on virtual memory, the slower your programs will run and the less you’ll be able to effectively run multiple programs at once.
  3. Second, swapping data between virtual memory and RAM takes time.

If the OS spends too much time swapping data between RAM and virtual memory, it can lead to thrashing — a severe drop in performance because too many computer resources are being dedicated to managing virtual memory and updating the paging file.

Is virtual memory necessary?

If virtual memory doesn’t exist, we can’t load more than one program in the main memory. This means that without virtual memory, we can only run one program at a time. This is because each program might have to use different functions that may point to the same addresses in RAM.

Do I need virtual memory with 32gb RAM?

It lets you run things you couldn’t whithout enough RAM, but you won’t enjoy it at all, as it’s slow and in games swapping causes bad slowdowns. Virtual memory is virtually useless for gaming. You want performance, and that’s what it can’t provide.

What is the main disadvantage of virtual memory?

Disadvantages of Virtual Memory – Here, are drawbacks/cons of using virtual memory:

Applications may run slower if the system is using virtual memory. Likely takes more time to switch between applications. Offers lesser hard drive space for your use. It reduces system stability. It allows larger applications to run in systems that don’t offer enough physical RAM alone to run them. It doesn’t offer the same performance as RAM. It negatively affects the overall performance of a system. Occupy the storage space, which may be used otherwise for long term data storage.

How much virtual RAM for 8GB?

Adjusting the Page File in Windows 10 – Are you seeing warning messages like, “Your system is low on virtual memory”? This is because your Windows 10 PC doesn’t have enough RAM and is trying to write to virtual memory, but the page file that serves as virtual memory has a file size limit that’s too low.

  1. Open the Control Panel and select System, While you’re in the System window, make a note of the size of your currently available RAM. You will need this later. In the example shown here, there is 8 GB of available RAM.
  2. In the System window, select Change Settings,
  3. In the System Properties window, select the Advanced tab. In the Performance section, select the Settings button to open the Performance Options window.
  4. Under Virtual memory, select the Change button to modify the virtual memory settings.
  5. In the Virtual Memory window, deselect Automatically manage paging file size for all drives, Select Custom size, Now you can set the Initial size and the Maximum size for your paging file. As a rule of thumb, the paging file should be a minimum of 1.5 times the size of your installed RAM, and a maximum of 3 times your RAM size. For example, if you have 8 GB RAM, your minumum would be 1024 x 8 x 1.5 = 12,288 MB, and your maximum would be 1024 x 8 x 3 = 24,576 MB.
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Keep in mind that if you set your paging file size at the upper limit, you could experience significant system slowdown, since data reads and writes to the hard drive where the paging file is stored are much slower than normal RAM, The minimum recommened size is usually enough of an increase to meet your needs. This is often double the amount that the system automatically sets.

Does virtual RAM increase performance?

Does increasing virtual memory help gaming? No. Applications that you are currently using will not be affected by virtual memory, because they aren’t ever going to use it. Virtual memory, also known as the page file or swap file, is fake memory stored on your disk.

What is the ideal virtual memory for 8GB RAM?

To calculate the ‘general rule’ recommended size of virtual memory in Windows 10 per the 8 GB your system has, here’s the equation 1024 x 8 x 1.5 = 12288 MB. So it sounds as if the 12 GB configured in your system currently is correct so when or if Windows needs to utilize the virtual memory, the 12 GB should suffice.

Do all computers have virtual memory?

Virtual memory is a common part of most operating systems on desktop computers. It has become so common because it provides a big benefit for users at a very low cost.

What happens if a computer doesn’t have virtual memory?

Look at all these hard drives! HollenderX2 / Getty Images Virtual memory is a common part of most operating systems on desktop computers, It has become so common because it provides a big benefit for users at a very low cost. In this article, you will learn exactly what virtual memory is, what your computer uses it for and how to configure it on your own machine to achieve optimal performance.

Most computers today have something like 32 or 64 megabytes of RAM available for the CPU to use (see How RAM Works for details on RAM). Unfortunately, that amount of RAM is not enough to run all of the programs that most users expect to run at once. For example, if you load the operating system, an e-mail program, a Web browser and word processor into RAM simultaneously, 32 megabytes is not enough to hold it all.

If there were no such thing as virtual memory, then once you filled up the available RAM your computer would have to say, “Sorry, you can not load any more applications. Please close another application to load a new one.” With virtual memory, what the computer can do is look at RAM for areas that have not been used recently and copy them onto the hard disk,

This frees up space in RAM to load the new application. Because this copying happens automatically, you don’t even know it is happening, and it makes your computer feel like is has unlimited RAM space even though it only has 32 megabytes installed. Because hard disk space is so much cheaper than RAM chips, it also has a nice economic benefit.

­ ­ The read/write speed of a hard drive is much slower than RAM, and the technology of a hard drive is not geared toward accessing small pieces of data at a time. If your system has to rely too heavily on virtual memory, you will notice a significant performance drop.

The key is to have enough RAM to handle everything you tend to work on simultaneously – then, the only time you “feel” the slowness of virtual memory is is when there’s a slight pause when you’re changing tasks. When that’s the case, virtual memory is perfect. When it is not the case, the operating system has to constantly swap information back and forth between RAM and the hard disk.

This is called thrashing, and it can make your computer feel incredibly slow. The area of the hard disk that stores the RAM image is called a page file, It holds pages of RAM on the hard disk, and the operating system moves data back and forth between the page file and RAM.

What is the difference between virtual memory and main memory?

Conclusion – The main difference between physical and virtual memory is that the physical memory refers to the actual RAM of the system that stores the currently executing programs, but the virtual memory is a memory management technique that allows the users to execute programs larger than the actual physical memory.

Is virtual memory a VRAM?

VRAM is not Virtual memory, these are different things. VRAM is video memory.

What is virtual memory in games?

Virtual memory, also known as the page file or swap file, is fake memory stored on your disk. It’s much more abundant than real memory, but it’s incredibly slow. Video games rely on fast memory access so they can perform a lot of calculations in the background.