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Running out of memory while playing

I don't have enough memory on my computer to run games, what can I do?

If you are able to run Half-Life Games on your computer but after a while things start getting very slow and you notice that your hard-disk light is flashing all the time, you might be running out of physical memory.

One of the first things to check is to make sure Steam or Microsoft aren't downloading updates to your computer (which can have the same symptoms). If they are, you might have to wait for the download to finish before playing.

Also, make sure that you have any Peer-2-Peer programs and File Sharing disabled since they can cause these symptoms as well.

It's also a good idea to check how much memory you have free on your system before you start playing a game. You can see this by looking in your Task Manager, accessable from the tool bar (right-click) or by entering <ctrl><alt><del> once.

Then look in the Performance Window for specific information, specifically the Physical Memory and "PF" or Page File usage.

You will need at least 200MB Free Memory before you play Half-Life or you could have problems.

If you only have 256MB of memory to start, you need to be sure you exit from everything like Internet Explore, AIM, MSN and anything else that will use memory and cause problems.

One thing you can to to help is to disable any unnecessary services that are running on your computer. Windows XP comes with quite a few services that are unnecessary and just take up memory space.


Disable Unnecessary Services in WinXP

  1. Go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services
  2. Click on "Standard"
  3. Sort by name (click on the name title bar so Alerter is at the top)
  4. Then one by one, take the items I told you to disable, and if they are running then stop them, then right-click > properties (for each one in turn) and set them to "disabled".
  5. One of the services doesn't like to be stopped, the "media serial number" so after stopping it, wait a bit and then hit cancel, it will stop, then go and disable it.
  6. When you are all done, exit from the administrative tools and reboot your system.


Stop and Disable these Windows Services

The services listed below may safely be disabled on your Windows XP system if you are not using them.

  • Messenger
  • SSDP Discovery Service
  • Universal Plug and Play Device Host
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service
  • Indexing Service
  • Fast User Switching Compatibility
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
  • NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
  • Removable Storage
  • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
  • Remote Registry
  • QoS RSVP
  • Smart Card Helper (leave on if this is a notebook)
  • Smart Card (leave on if this is a notebook)
  • Task Scheduler
  • Secondary Logon
  • MS Software Shadow Copy Provider
  • Terminal Services
  • Telnet
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply
  • Volume Shadow Copy
  • Portable Media Serial Number Service
  • Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions


Other Services that may be Disabled
  • Themes (makes XP prettier but uses memory and slows it down)
  • Computer Browser (if you are not sharing files)
  • Server lanmanserver (if you are not sharing files)
  • NVIDIA Display Driver Service
  • ScriptBlocking Service (can cause Steam update problems)
  • Speed Disk service (isn't needed under XP)

Note: Sharing files on a local network can cause lag when you play.


Set These Services to Manual
  • Help and Support
  • System Restore Service (optional)


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