Subscriber Peter Dunckelmann wrote me recently about a problem he was having with his computer.
Hi Terry Stockdale
For some time now I have been experiencing a lot of problems with my PC.
One day I experienced a severe PC crash; monitor went blank, PC switched itself off. As I re-booted I encountered a continuous bios beep. So every time now when I switch on my PC I just press any button to omit the bios beep.
I found instructions on the internet under heading: More Power Through RAM & Cache Tuning.
Following the instructions I attempted to defrag the RAM. And since then I cannot use my computer at all! When I switch on my computer it tells me ‘low memory’ and shows me 0 (zero) MB. I am unable to do anything!
Under Virtual Memory on the PC:
Hard disk: C:\0MB Free
And the above is the result!
If I am not mistaken I have to defrag the system. But how can I work with zero system memory? How could I regain system memory? I am running WIN/Me. I am nearing to throwing the computer out the window.
So Please Hellllpppppppp!
Your urgent advice would be very much appreciated.
There is a difference between RAM (which is the temporary memory in your computer that the computer actually uses to do its work and its calculations) and hard drive memory (which is the permanent storage for the operating system, your programs and your data.
Peter shows that his hard drive was completely full. But, since he was able to get that far, he obviously was able to boot into Windows.
Since virtual memory is nothing other than hard drive space that is grabbed by Windows so that Windows can pretend that it is RAM, he might have used up all his hard drive space that way.
To diagnose what’s happening in a case like this, first, go back to the Virtual Memory page and tell it to “let Windows handle the virtual memory” or whatever that setting is. Peter had it set to max at 2GB and that’s pretty high for a Win/Me machine.
After changing that setting, reboot.
Then, you need to clean off some of the hard drive. Right-click on the Start Menu, then select Explore.
Now, check your My Documents folder for big files — and delete anything that you don’t really need.
In order to defragmnet your hard drive, you will have to have at least a few hundred MB of free space on the hard drive — the more available space you make, the faster the defragmentation will work.
Don’t worry about “defragmenting RAM” — although there were some third-party utilities that claimed to do this, I never found any benefit. Anyway, RAM is automatically cleared when you reboot or shut down your computer.