Solving a Windows Vista Resource Problem

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 15, 2007
Updated • Jul 29, 2013
Windows, Windows Vista

I regularly work with a lot of applications in Windows Vista at once which should not be a problem because my PC has enough RAM and a fast enough CPU to handle all of those application-needs with ease. It happens that I experience a strange behavior which can be only be attributed to the number of applications and windows that are opened simultaneously.

Sometimes an out of memory message appears although the task manager reports that enough free RAM is available and sometimesm I get a blank window without contents or a windows where elements are missing. This is kinda frustrating and can only be fixed by closing several of the open applications or windows.

Ed Bott from ZDnet found an explanation and fix for this problem.

Windows sets aside a blob of system memory called the desktop heap, which it uses to store user interface objects such as windows, menus, and hooks.

The default size of the desktop heap is set to 3072 Kilobyte which is not enough if you experience the errors mentioned above. The value can be changed in the Windows Registry.

Open the Windows Registry with a tab on the Windows-key, typing in regedit and hitting the enter key on your keyboard.

Navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \SubSystems and right click the Windows entry in the right pane.

Windows vista resource issue

Choose Modify from the menu and search for the 3072 value in the string that is shown. Change that figure to another one, say 4096 and see if this fixes the issue. It could be that 4096 is still not enough which would mean that you would have to edit the setting again and raise the number to an even higher one. I suggest you use multiples of 1024 only as possible values for this setting.

Note that this is only an issue in Windows Vista and not in newer versions of Windows.


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  1. Roman ShaRP said on August 16, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Oh, no… Resource problem again… I think, we left it behind with Win98 – but I now it appears that I was wrong…

    Again I say – NEVER Vista. Better I will learn Ubuntu… Till 2014, when XP suport now scheduled to end, is plenty of time to become advanced Linux user

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