The other day I was working on a Windows 7 32-bit PC, with a few applications running including Firefox.
Over time I kept opening new tabs in Firefox until, suddenly, the Firefox window started flickering. From that point, most of Firefox's GUI turned black and refused to repaint. After trying to blindly close some tabs, the Firefox process crashed entirely. All other applications seemed to continue to work just fine.
I'm assuming (correct me if I'm wrong) that the Firefox process exhausted its 2GB virtual memory entitlement or some other resource. Which brings me to the key questions:
Can memory/resource exhaustion in one process de-stabilize other processes or even the kernel itself?
How does modern Windows deal with this scenario? How robust is it under these high-pressure conditions?
My concern is that, if other processes or kernel services are compromised, that could conceivably result in a broken system (e.g. file/disk/registry corruption).