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There's a problem on all Windows systems that there's a limitation on graphical primitives that can be used system-wide. Which leads to the following: once I've started several (actually something like 25+) GUI-rich apps like Visual Studio or Internet Explorer I can't open any more windows - depending on how the application reacts to this either nothing happens or an error is reported.

Is there anything I can tune in Windows to at least make the upper limit on these primitives higher?

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it's not a "leakage", it's a "limit" – Steven A. Lowe Aug 20 '09 at 18:57
Makes me wonder why you need 25 instances of Visual Studio at any one point in time. – Joey Aug 20 '09 at 19:31
Well, it's quite typical to have say 5 instances of VS for looking "how that works" in other projects, Outlook and multiple IE instances. This can be enough to hit the limit. – sharptooth Aug 21 '09 at 9:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Take a look at this MSDN article. It explains how to increase the limit of GDI objects in your system

This MSDN article explains how to increase the limit of User object.

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Both links only give pointers how to change the per-process limit. This won't affect the system-wide limit which is what the OP is running into. The limit of 10k handles for a single process is quite ample by default. VS only eats up around 500 of them. – Joey Aug 20 '09 at 19:34

This Microsoft NTDebugging article explains at length how the Desktop Heap can be exhausted and prevent opening additional windows. Indeed, this was THE crucial solution to my own problem of opening an extreme amount of programs on a Windows 2000 and Windows XP workstation. I had to increase my "3072" value to "8192" before I fixed it, after that, I've NEVER run out of handles again, even with 310 Chrome Tabs open simultaneously plus about 20 other applications on a 4GB RAM WinXP 32-bit system.

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I don't know about you, but my Chrome nearly grinds to a halt once I get past ~100 tabs on 4GB Windows 7... – Bigbio2002 Jan 17 '13 at 14:36
I'm up to 1,018 tabs in 26 Chrome windows now on my 4GB WinXP 32 bit system. Yes I know that's insane. You should monitor via ProcExp to see if CPU, disk, or Flash process are your bottleneck. 100 tabs is nothing for a smooth running system! – Syclone0044 Jan 19 '13 at 1:07
Does everything grind to a halt when you try switching tabs, or is it all smooth? I'm betting it has something to do with my graphics drivers... – Bigbio2002 Jan 21 '13 at 2:14
It's all smooth now that I have my pagefile on an SSD. Before that I was using 8GB Commit on a 3.3GB RAM 32-bit system. Now I can use 9GB Commit and it doesn't even slow down since the SSD pagefile accesses are so fast. – Syclone0044 Jan 27 '13 at 10:48
Ah, you have an SSD, that explains it... lucky bastard ;) – Bigbio2002 Jan 28 '13 at 16:01

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