So, myself and my fellow support techs have been fighting with this issue and we still dont know what the problem is.

Lets start off with the system specs:

  • Windows XP 32 bit Corporate (SP2 and SP3)
  • Intel D975XBX2 Mobo
  • 4gb of ram
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
  • ATI Radeon HD 3600 - 512mb

After a few hours of working on the machine, the end user will begin to see the following symptoms:

  • Out of memory messages
  • Title bars and menus dont draw in properly
  • Problems accessing network resources
  • Problems opening up documents such as MSWord and MSPowerpoint and text files
  • Problems opening up explorer windows
  • General instability

We have looked at task manager while this issue was occurring, and all indicators, like PF usage, threads, handles, etc. are normal. We have been having trouble pinpointing the root cause of this issue. It is also not situated with one user, it affects 8-10.

So far we have tried:

  • Resetting CMOS (Waiting to see results)
  • Replacing video card (didnt help)
  • Windows updates (didnt help)
  • Updating network drivers (didnt help)
  • Switching user from 1gbps to 100mbps network connection (awaiting results)
  • Swapping the affected user's hardware (waiting for results)
  • Increasing desktop heap size (helped for a bit but then the issue became more frequent)
  • Applying the /3 switch to XP (didnt help)
  • Increasing and decreasing and setting PF to system managed state (didnt help)

We did have a power outage at the office a couple weeks ago, and all these issues became more frequent. Prior to the power outage it may take a week or so for the users to experience the issues but since the power outage it takes 3-4 hours or less. We havent had reports of the above issues causing BSODs, although that would be easier to diagnose :).

Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • What exactly do you mean when you say you tried swapping the hardware? Replaced just the RAM or was it the whole machine? – Velociraptors Apr 9 '10 at 18:13
  • Common app with a memory leak maybe? Though that wouldn't explain why this became more frequent after the power outage. – MetalMikester Apr 9 '10 at 18:18
  • By swapping the hardware I meant we took the users hard drive out of their current machine, and put into another machine with the same hardware. The users do run similar apps, but the issues dont come up with the same app always running. So they all use firefox, but they dont all have it running at the same time when the issues occur. – commradepolski Apr 9 '10 at 18:26
  • Can you post a screenshot of the task manager or the machine when this is happening? – Michael Pryor Apr 9 '10 at 19:41
  • This is task manager screenshot of the computer. Sorry cant figure out how to post the pic in this comment. i130.photobucket.com/albums/p278/commradepolish/taskmgr.png – commradepolski Apr 9 '10 at 21:11

You may be out of available chunks of memory.

For example, the program might require 300MB of memory, and the system might show 500MB free, but there isn't a 300MB chunk available, there's two 200MB chunks and a 100MB chunk.

Though I still don't know what would eat up 4GB of memory....

  • How would I check the available chunks of memory? – commradepolski Apr 9 '10 at 18:27
  • No idea, sorry. – Josh K Apr 9 '10 at 18:29
  • If you're talking about physical memory (RAM), it doesn't work that way. A program can't ask for contiguous physical memory. If you're talking about virtual address space, that is per-process, and it is quite possible to run out of sufficient contiguous v.a.s. in a process, particularly in 32-bit systems. – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 18 '14 at 17:35

Looks it was due to Symantec AV 9 that we have installed on our machines. Uninstalling this seems to have fixed the issue.

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