I have a Dell Notebook Pentium II 300 Mhz 128 Mb RAM 4.3 GB Hard Disk and
windows 95 installed . I dont know whats wrong windows gives me low
resources message many times a day I am using MS Outlook 98 or words 97 on
Please help me how can I fix Low resources problem in windows 95
>I have a Dell Notebook Pentium II 300 Mhz 128 Mb RAM 4.3 GB Hard Disk and
>windows 95 installed . I dont know whats wrong windows gives me low
>resources message many times a day I am using MS Outlook 98 or words 97 on
>Please help me how can I fix Low resources problem in windows 95
The following is MVP James Eshelman's FAQ sheet regarding low
resources. The references to Windows 98 are equally applicable to
Windows 95 with respect to resource issues.
"RESOURCES" VS. "MEMORY" FAQ (Version 2.0)
"System resources" are among the most misunderstood elements of Win95
and Win98 (and most otherwise good references don't touch on the
subject -- the first two Windows textbooks I picked up don't even have
"resources," in this sense, in the index). This FAQ file is intended
to address some of the common questions about this topic.
Q: Could someone give me a breakdown of what constitutes:
a) Windows 98 "resources" and
System Resources are of two kinds: User Resources, and GDI (Graphic
Device Interface) Resources. In the Win98 Resource Kit, check the
article titled "Core System Components." Much of what follows comes
from that article. The Win98 Core consists of User Resources, GDI
Resources, and the Kernel.
"The User component manages input from the keyboard, mouse, and other
input devices and output to the user interface (windows, icons, menus,
and so on). It also manages interaction with the sound driver, timer,
and communications ports. Windows 98 uses an asynchronous input model
for all input to the system and applications. As the various input
devices generate interrupts, the interrupt handler converts these
interrupts to messages and sends the messages to a raw input thread
area, which in turn passes each message to the appropriate message
queue. Although each Win32-based thread can have its own message
queue, all Win16-based applications share a common one." User
Resources are limited to a fixed 64 kb. You cannot increase this.
"The Graphics Device Interface (GDI) is the graphical system that
manages what appears on the screen. It also provides graphics support
for printers and other output devices. It draws graphic primitives,
manipulates bitmaps, and interacts with device-independent graphics
drivers, including those for display and printer output device
drivers." GDI Resources are limited to a fixed 64 kb. You cannot
The RK article "Understanding System Performance" gives more details
of this that you might want to examine.
In contrast to this, "Memory" is generally used to mean RAM (although,
technically, there are several kinds of 'memory').
Q: I've always kind of lumped "Resources" and "Memory" together.
This is a very common misunderstanding.
Q: My Resources drop as low as 50-60% a lot of the time. What's wrong?
Should I worry?
Having only 50-60% Resources available is not a problem at all. You
can easily have resources drop to 10-15% without a problem. I've run
the computer with less than that. When Resources get in the 15% range,
it is maybe time to think about shutting down some programs for a
Q: Where does one see the quantity of resources being consumed, as
opposed to "memory"? Does Norton System Doctor show you, for example?
Yes, you can set Norton System Doctor monitors for "User Resources"
and "GDI Resources." These show as "USER Free" and "GDI Free." I
recommend setting them. Also, the Windows Resource Meter (RSRCMTR.EXE)
will monitor these nicely with very little overhead; and there are
several freeware utilities that do the same thing. (Note that any
utilities to monitor resources will, themselves, consume system
resources - at least a little.)
Q: Why do system resources not return to their full value after I have
exited all of my programs?
There are two kinds of reasons for this: good reasons and bad reasons.
These are discussed in Knowledge Base article Q146418. In brief, the
reasoning is this:
The "good reasons" involve particulars of how Windows handles system
initialization. Windows defers much of system initialization until the
first time a program asks for a particular service. For example, each
font is initialized when a program first asks for it, rather than
initializing all fonts at system startup. Then, if a program requests
a service that uses deferred initialization, the service remains
initialized after the program has exited -- the system resources
associated with that service are not freed. The system keeps the
service initialized so that the next program that requests the service
does not have to wait for the service to be initialized. (This
behavior is by design.)
In addition, for compatibility reasons, Windows does not free system
resources abandoned by Win3.1-based programs until all Win3.1-based
programs have been closed. Only when there are no Win3.1-based
programs running can Windows safely release abandoned system
The "bad reasons" are that a particular program sometimes will not
free resources upon exit, as it is supposed to do, perhaps because it
was badly written. This is, surprisingly, relatively rare.
Q: How is one supposed to handle applications that consume large
Be careful about loading several of them at once. These resources are
finite. Programs with heavy graphics demands are among the biggest
hogs (GDI resources usually go down faster than User resources). Heavy
multimedia use puts demands on both. (See the functions of each near
the top of this post for some clarification.)
According to Knowledge Base article Q185832, additional decrease in
resources (without their release) can occur if you start to load a
program and then quit it before it has completely started.
Q: Can't I just "throw" more memory at them? As it is, how can I be
sure that Windows actually uses my 128 Mbytes of RAM?
You cannot effectively throw RAM at resources, because the size of the
two categories of resources is limited to a specific amount. Whether
you have 16 mb, 128 mb, or 1,024 mb of RAM will not affect this.
Q: Are there any third party apps that allow one to successfully
"handle" such resource-guzzling applications?
There are programs that claim to do this, but probably Win98's
resource allocation cannot be improved while maintaining full backward
and lateral compatibility. Memory managers and resource managers are,
first of all, programs that demand memory and resources! Secondly,
they don't tend to work that well (if at all). And one thing that is
sure is that they cannot increase resources per se. Note that Win98
releases resources back to the system far more efficiently than Win95
did, though there are still limits to this and you ultimately will
need to reboot. (I have to do this about every 5-6 days of normal
Q: It seems that "resources being drained" and "memory disappearing"
into the murky waters of Windows 98 are two entirely separate
Absolutely! You've got it!
James A. Eshelman [MS MVP / DTS]
See: Windows 95/98 Support page at
Hope this explains what is going on.
Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
On-Line Help Computer Service
Please note my new email address and URL
I don't read attachments to posts as they may give me a
virus If I expect an attachment from you I will open it..
You may have a brilliant thought but if you put it into an
attachment I won't read it and thus both you and I lose.
I don't like to say it but unfortunatly, there are those who
insist upon being nasty to the rest of us. Bob May