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Chapter 5. Maintaining Your System and T... > Monitoring System Resources

Monitoring System Resources

Hardware and software conflicts aside, the most common reason for a Windows system to crash or hang is when it runs out of system resources. The most obvious cause of this problem, of course, is a system that doesn't have enough RAM. If you try to run Windows Me on a PC with 32MB of RAM, for instance, you'll run into performance and stability problems after opening just a few windows. Eventually, when you no longer have enough memory to handle the programs you're running, Windows will toss up error messages and eventually crash.

But you can run low on system resources even on a system that's loaded to the gills with RAM and isn't close to exhausting it all. In this case, the resources in question are two small stacks of memory, each 64KB in size. Yes, that's 64KB, as in kilobytes, a very small amount indeed. The User and GDI heaps contain system objects that Windows uses to draw windows, build menus, place other elements onscreen, and generally work with programs. Each new program you open lays claim to a block of these resources, and as you open more and more windows, you consume more and more resources.


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