A few weeks ago I disabled all paging files on my Media Center. I figured that it only ever runs AVG, Media Center, Logmein, Chrome and sundry services to support these and never gets above 1.4-1.5 GB of physical memory used, so what harm could it do? Overall this has worked splendidly, and the lack of drive thrashing is a revelation.

However, Windows insists on popping up warnings about the system being low on memory, despite there never being less than about 450 MB of free RAM. Now I know why it does this, and luckily the popups don't interfere with Media Center (otherwise the wife would definitely have something to say about it!), but every time I drop back to the desktop to do a bit of couch surfing there is a warning dialog.

Is there a way I can basically tell Windows:

"Yes, I know there isn't much physical RAM left, but I'm a big boy now and I know what I'm doing so let it be my funeral if some wayward process eats up all my spare RAM"

  • You could always consider adding one more GB of RAM. ;-) You have 2 now, you could use one more. – Wim ten Brink Sep 15 '09 at 21:33
  • Yes, but even though the cost would be minimal (£25/$35) there would still be a cost...seems a bit daft for memory that would never be used! And anyway, there is no guarantee that Windows won't still warn that the PC is low on memory, simply because the page file is disabled. – Lunatik Sep 17 '09 at 8:54
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    Watch out! That memory will be used, unless you tend to disable Superfetch, which makes starting applications much faster. And besides that, memory consumption will tend to grow over years as programs get more features. Last but not least, if you get the warning and run out of memory Windows will automatically close applications. – Tom Wijsman Sep 19 '09 at 11:48

Open the registry editor (click the Windows orb, type “regedit”, and hit Enter).

Browse to


Export the following folders. This is your backup in case something goes wrong.




Take ownership of the each folder mentioned in step 3. (You can take ownership by right clicking the folder and then hitting permissions. Click the Advanced button and change owner to your user. Click OK and then give full control to your user group. Hit OK again.)

Delete the folders from step 3.

Reboot and enjoy.

Warning: After doing the above steps, you should know that once memory runs out, it is out. You will have no warning. Once your memory gets maxed out, programs will behave very erratic and suddenly crash without warning. I’ve decided that this side effect can be just as annoying as the popups. If you consistently push your machine’s memory to its limits, you should think twice about disabling the low memory messages.


Of course you can always restore the 3 folders from the backup and Windows Vista will happily warn you again :)

PS: This works for Windows 7 as well.

  • Sounds good, will give it a try. – Lunatik Sep 15 '09 at 20:04
  • Finally got a chance to try this and it appears to be working well :) – Lunatik Sep 18 '09 at 20:16
  • I'm pushing my luck here but.. What about changing the warning moment from 75% to about 90%? – Lodewijk Jun 6 '14 at 23:39

It's hackish, but you could stick a cheap flash drive in the back and tell it to put your swap file there. Not the same as running with no swap at all, but at least you won't have to wait on drive seeks.

  • It'll break the drive after a while though. :-( The cheap USB sticks typically have relatively low write lifetimes and Windows does insist on cycling stuff out to the swap file even when you have enough physical RAM. – bobince Sep 15 '09 at 22:57
  • Actually, it's almost exactly the same as using ReadyBoost on Vista, and that seems to be okay with the drives. – Joel Coehoorn Sep 16 '09 at 1:20
  • Actually actually, Windows will not let you put a pagefile on a removable drive. And no, it isn't the same thing as ReadyBoost at all. – Jamie Hanrahan Jul 26 '17 at 0:22

This error message has nothing to do with free RAM. It has to do with running out of commit limit.

The correct answer is to either add more RAM or enable the pagefile. Preferably both.

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