SOLIDWORKS Resource Monitor – System Memory is Low

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Have you recently upgraded your machine with the top of the line hardware? You put 2 processors in there, the biggest graphics card you could find, raided multi-terabyte hard drives, 128 GB of ram, and 3 of the best 30 inch 4k monitors. This is a machine most people will drool over, and we will probably have to finance this right along with your car payments. This machine sound great except once we install the latest version of SOLIDWORKS and we see the dreaded message that we are low on RAM.

How can that be!

The area that we need to take a look at is a resource share with other applications call Commit Charge. If we see the message below, we need to investigate the amount of memory that the windows operating system has promised SOLIDWORKS and any other application running on the computer.

The OS establishes a Commit Charge limit, which is the amount of physical Random Access Memory (RAM) plus the size of your paging file. If your computer has 32 GB of RAM and your paging file size is 8 GB, your Commit Charge limit is 40 GB.

The OS does not commit memory space to running processes that it cannot fulfill. Once the OS nears the commit limit, any process can become unstable.

SOLIDWORKS detects this condition and displays a series of warnings starting at 78% of your OS Commit Charge limit. This is to allow the user time to save or do something else to alleviate the situation.

SOLIDWORKS displays a danger message at 85% of your OS Commit Charge limit.

The message you will see inside of SOLIDWORKS is

When you see these warnings, one of the first things we need to do is validate your virtual memory settings.

SOLIDWORKS recommends to use ‘System Managed Size’.

The size of the page file is determined by the amount of RAM in your system. By default, the minimum size on a 32-bit (x86) system is 1.5 times the amount of physical RAM if physical RAM is less than 1 GB, and equal to the amount of physical RAM plus 300 MB if 1 GB or more is installed. The default maximum size is three times the amount of RAM, regardless of how much physical RAM is installed. On a PC with a processor that supports Physical Address Extension (PAE)—which is to say, on any PC that is capable of running Windows 7—the maximum size of the page file is 16 TB. You can see the page file in a Windows Explorer window if you configure Windows to show hidden and system files; look for Pagefile.sys in the root of your system drive.

To validate your paging file size, follow these steps:

1. Go to ‘Control Panel’ > ‘System’.

2. Click ‘Advanced system settings’.

3. In the ‘Performance’ group, click ‘Settings’.

4. Click on the ‘Advanced’ tab.

5. In the ‘Virtual memory’ group, click ‘Change’.

6. Make sure that the ‘System managed size’ option is active for at least one drive.

Using a paging file ensures that there is more usable memory available to the OS and other processes. For example, if you do not have a paging file, the OS will have to commit physical RAM to the running processes. You may have a process on your computer that requests 2 GB of memory and only uses 500 MB. This means the OS is forced to promise 2 GB of physical RAM that no other process may use, and 1.5 GB of physical RAM is not in active use.

The next step is to determine which processes consume the most committed memory. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and start the Windows® ‘Task Manager’.

2. Click the ‘Performance’ tab and then click ‘Open Resource Monitor’.

3. Click the ‘Memory’ tab.

4. Click the ‘Commit (KB)’ column heading to sort in descending order. Processes consuming the most committed memory will appear at the top.

Use this information to understand and investigate the steps necessary to manage processes that consume the most committed memory. You may try to end the processes if you do not need them.

If the processes are essential, investigate why the processes are using so much committed memory. If the processes are not SOLIDWORKS processes and you need further assistance, consult the support team for the company that developed the process.

If you need all of the processes running on your computer and you determine that all of the processes are running as expected, you may need to install more physical RAM on your computer.

Bryan Pawlak
Sr. Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, LLC