Vista "Out of Memory" errors

You just can't seem to throw enough memory at Vista.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

You just can't seem to throw enough memory at Vista.

There have been a number of issues that Vista users have reported relating to copying and moving data, especially large numbers of files. Often there can be multiple errors at play making it difficult for Vista users to track down the problem, in fact very often there is little indication that file copy operations haven’t completed correctly.  It’s only when the user checks the number of files in source and destination that they realize they have a problem. 

The "Out of Memory" error (which is affectionately known at the PC Doc HQ as the "Out of Cheese" error ... don't ask why ...) is one of the biggest and most baffling of Vista’s file handling problems has been occurs when a Vista user (running Kaspersky Anti Virus 6 or 7) tries to copy a large number of files (~16,400).  I know, copying that many files is crazy and not something that people do every day, I'd expect a modern OS to be able to cope with this (am I asking too much???).

These don't have to be large files and the problem can also occur when copying smaller groups of files that in total exceed 16,400 files between reboots.  Following the "Out of Memory" message a range of other errors can occur such as menus and tabs disappearing within the Windows environment and even reboots and BSODs are reported. 

Although the problem occurs where users are running Kaspersky security products, it's a kernel leak that lies at the root of problem (the problem's not confined to systems running Kaspersky software, that just that this application seems to exacerbate the issue).  This issue which has been known about for some months by both Kaspersky and Microsoft was reportedly due to be fixed in SP1, however the current beta of Vista SP1 does not contain a patch.  Microsoft have now released a hotfix for the issue (you have to ask for it) which we tried out and can report that it works well to cure the out of memory problem on Vista installations, at least the ones that we could replicate (although the fix cannot be installed on the Vista SP1 Beta).

While there are still other file handling problems in Vista, such as selecting large numbers of files (~1,500) cause serious spiking in memory usage (that is not released until reboot), hopefully one by one these issues will be addressed (SP1 maybe ... the current beta doesn't fix these issues).  Maybe then Vista users can feel as confident handling their data as when they were XP users.

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