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CNET Membership newsletter October 29, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
This week's winner, Thomas L. of Silverton, Oregon, is no stranger to this newsletter because this is his third win in our Q&A. He has done a thorough job of answering Jared's virtual memory issue and really has set a precedence for a given solution. So Jared, I hope you find Thomas's answer, the great honorable mentions, and special section of "it happened to me" recommendations a great head start in resolving your issue. I encourage all of you to join in each week's discussion because the questions we ask and the advice we share make winners out of all of us. For those of you who are dying to participate each week, before you submit anything new, please review our Q&A submission guidelines on how to send in your questions and answers. Thank you, everyone!

BTW, many of you e-mail me asking about a previous newsletter; well, I finally found enough time to create a newsletter archive page just for you. So if you missed a week or two or just need the newsletters for reference, click here to check them out.

1I am running Windows XP and continue to get a warning message from my computer telling me that my system is low on virtual memory. Can someone tell me why this is and how to fix it?

--Submitted by: Jared Y.

Before you can begin troubleshooting virtual memory, you need to understand what it is and how it works.

The easy answer would be to increase your RAM, but there are several factors that could contribute to your issue, so we'll start at the top.

If you are running a Windows XP machine and typically have several programs running, I would recommend no less than 512MB of RAM. A lot of manufacturers recommend only 256MB of RAM, and I believe Microsoft says that 128MB is sufficient. I would argue both of those by saying that most users do more than one thing at a time on their computer and from personal experience, more is better in the world of RAM.

RAM vs. virtual memory:
RAM is the amount of physical memory installed on your computer. It acts like short-term memory, enabling programs to load and operate faster. When you start a program or an application, it uses a part of that memory. Most programs will require at least 32MB of RAM. If you look in your system tray (next to the time), there are usually four or more programs running (antivirus, firewall, and so on). Those background programs alone require 128MB. Then if you use any programs, such as a Web browser or a word processor, it requires more memory.

Windows makes up the difference for that amount of RAM requirement by allocating or reserving a portion of your hard drive to act as though it were RAM. That's what is referred to as virtual memory, or page file. The less RAM you have the more virtual memory is allocated. Windows typically... Read more

--Submitted by Thomas L. of Silverton, Oregon, USA

Please click the following links for this week's:
Honorable mentions and It happened to me, here's what I did.

For Thomas's efforts, we’re sending him his choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

I run Windows XP Pro and am experiencing a couple of problems with my computer. I use Windows Update regularly. After doing an update, I usually defrag the hard drive. However, I now receive a message saying that the hard drive cannot be defragged. What is the cause of this, and how can I solve the problem? Also, I find at various times of the day or night that my computer turns on all by itself. What causes this, and how do I get it to stop?

--Submitted by: Jim H.

We feature a new question every Friday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines and check out our previous Q&As here.

Best regards and enjoy!

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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1 Any legal recourse I could take against McAfee?!
When your antivirus support is up after a year, is your utility rendered completely useless? Or does it run but not give you updates until you renew your paid subscription? One of our members, rguy1, realized that McAfee had completely disabled his antivirus after a year and is picking a bone with the company's policy. Check out what he has to say in this heated discussion and what others have to contribute for or against his gripe. If you want, throw your two cents in also, the donation jar is wide open. More from the Viruses & Security Alerts Forum

1 Grisoft ending AVG Anti-Virus 6.0 support
If any of you are using free AVG Anti-Virus 6.0, you should know that the support for it is ending very soon, and it is time to move on to the next AVG version or something else. Take a look at what our members are moving to and chime in if you have something to offer.

1 Hotmail killing links in our newsletter
A few of you who use MSN Hotmail as an e-mail client to receive this newsletter wrote to me about being unable to open links or vote on our polls. I discovered that this is probably an issue with how Hotmail processes redirected links. So far, the only solution is to forward the e-mail to a non-Hotmail account to open links. If you know of a solution to this issue, please tell us in this discussion. More from the Windows XP Forum

1 Antivirus software, what to buy?
Do you have an antivirus program that you swear by and would recommend to another member? If you do, please post your suggestions and tell us why you completely trust your app. Make your suggestion convincing so that it's a no-brainer for the rest of us to pick up on. More from the Viruses & Security Alerts Forum

1 Mac nugget: Is it safe to run a Mac without an antivirus program?
Since Microsoft OS has become more popular, it has also become an attractive target for viruses and other attacks. So if you are a Mac user, are you sure that running an antivirus app is pointless? Find out what other Mac users suggest, and if you've ever been hit with a virus on a Mac, share your experience.
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Need recommendation on free screen capture utility
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Tech Nightmare: Having frightening Windows XP SP2 nightmares that you just can't wake up from? Did the update murder some of your apps? We may have the solution you're looking for.
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