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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Operating Systems and Applications ]

I am using Windows 3.x, and I keep running out of system resources

Explanation: Your PC uses the Windows 3.x operating system. You are frequently having problems with Windows running out of "system resources", especially when using multiple large applications simultaneously. This usually manifests itself as applications claiming that they cannot do something because they are out of memory (even when there is a lot of memory remaining), or spurious crashes and odd behavior when system resources get low.

Diagnosis: One of the biggest flaws in the design of Windows 3.x is the limitations on the amount of resources available for performing certain tasks within the system. There are several memory spaces within the operating system that are shared by all open applications, and they are only 64 KB in size. When these special areas are filled up the system runs into problems, no matter how much "regular memory" it has available. To make matters worse, Windows 3.x has resource "leakage" problems. If you start it up and check what percentage of resources are free, and then you use multiple applications for a while and then close them, you frequently will have less remaining than you started with.

Note: "System resources", in this context, refers to something totally different than system resources such as IRQs, DMA channels, etc.

Recommendation: Read this section on optimizing system resources under Windows 3.x. It contains several ideas that may be of assistance.

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