Why is my Windows XP acting wonky?
June 5, 2007 9:14 AM   Subscribe

My Windows XP acts really weird when I have a lot of programs open...

The system: A Dell P4 3.20 GHz with 1 GB of RAM, XP SP2. Whenever I have a lot of programs open, everything starts acting really weird, but it is reminiscent of the Windows 3.11 when the OS would run out of GDI resources.

New windows (and controls) fail to be created. For example, at some point, new dropdown menus do not open because Windows seems to have run out of resources that it can allocate to those menus.

Less tolerant programs (I'm looking at you, TOAD) tend to just close down. Internet Explorer's menu bar disappears.

The thing is, I have virtual memory enabled, and a lot of it (I stepped it up to 3 GB.) I also run XP SP2 on my laptop. It has a little more RAM, but I do a lot more with it. I never run into this kind of issue -- the worst that will happen is that the hard drive will grind a lot and it will go really slow.

What is going on here? Is this some weird build that was botched by the sysadmin guys here? Do I just have some bad RAM chips? Has anyone run into anything like this before?
posted by qvtqht to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yeah, this happens to me too. It may be because of
Desktop Heap Exhaustion.
posted by grouse at 9:30 AM on June 5, 2007

Response by poster: grouse: Thank you very much for that recommendation. My current settings differ from the default ones listed on that page:


I'm not sure why this line is missing:


or why I have three SharedSection values instead of the two listed there, but I'll just try increasing all three of those and report back on what changes.

I'm assuming that I need to reboot for this to take effect...
posted by qvtqht at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2007

this has happened to me on every xp install i have used on lots of different hardware. alt tabbing will allow you to switch between windows and close a few things. once i have done this my machine run normally again. i have just assumed it is failing not so gracefully when it runs out of memory, but have not looked into it at all.

for what its worth, it generally means i need to restart firefox. yesterday it was using over 800MB of ram
posted by mailbox125 at 10:23 AM on June 5, 2007

Response by poster: Firefox is definitely the biggest RAM hog, but it has happened without Firefox running too.
posted by qvtqht at 6:33 PM on June 6, 2007

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