The Explorer: Resource Leaks, Part One - InformationWeek

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Commentary
1/7/2004
02:28 PM
Fred Langa
Fred Langa
Commentary
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The Explorer: Resource Leaks, Part One

Crashes can sometimes be traced to sloppy programs that "leak" memory.

I get a lot of mail like this:

"Fred, I'm running Win98 SE with 128MB of RAM and I notice that my 'system resources' level is constantly draining to a low level. It starts at 70 percent and goes as low as 14 percent with only 1 or 2 apps running. Is this something to be concerned about? I've found some freeware apps that promise to help: Freeware Plus -- memory management tools.

I would appreciate an article on this subject, along with recommended remedies, if appropriate."
-- John Byers

I certainly can sympathize with John, and you probably can too. No matter how much physical RAM you have in your system, it's still possible to run out of System Resources. When that happens, one of three things occurs:

1. You may get an error message such as "Out of memory" or "Not enough memory to display completely" or "System Resources are running low."

2. Or, your system may begin to behave weirdly by doing things such as opening blank or garbled windows, refusing to respond to keystrokes or mouse clicks, and the like.

3. Or, your system may simply crash and burn.

In each case, your only remedy is a reboot. Hope you saved your data recently!

So what's really going on? What can you do to prevent it from happening? And do those freeware apps that John mentioned (and others like them) really help? Let's take it a step at a time:

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