Which programs can I disable at start up to free up more RAM?

by on February 2, 2009

Q: Running Compaq Presario SR1010NX 769 MB DDR SDRAM 40 GB hard drive. The last two days, I have gotten a “low virtual memory” message 3 times while using internet explorer. I think I have too much stuff running on my computer (that I don’t use or need). When I type in MSCONFIG, and startup, I see the following checked:
ALCXMNTR.EXE (pretty sure that’s an old dial up modem I have DSL now)
Event Planner Rem

which of these can I uncheck?

On the MSCONFIG services tab, I see a whole boat load of stuff running that I know I don’t use, like cryptographic services, error reporting, remote registry etc. etc. etc. Can anything be done to turn these off?

Any help/advise on the low virtual memory thing would be really appreciated.

9 Responses to “Which programs can I disable at start up to free up more RAM?”

    That 40Gig harddrive is probably really killing you. How much free hard drive space do you have left?

    I’d suggest going through Add/Remove programs in the control panel and uninstalling anything you aren’t using. As well as using the disk cleanup wizard and running a defrag.


    Mark makes some good suggestions. But most programs only use a small portion of your hard drive. So if I were in your situation, I would prefer: moving my largest files out of my computer’s internal hard drive, upgrading to a bigger hard drive, or even purchasing a new computer.

    You can copy your videos, pictures, and other large files to CD-R, DVD-R or DVD+R, USB flash drive, or external hard drive. Obviously, keep the copies but delete the originals. You can delete the original files from your computer’s internal hard drive by moving them to the Recycle Bin and then emptying the Recycle Bin.

    If you decide to upgrade to a larger hard drive, you will need to create backups of your important data. Again, use CD-R, DVD-R or DVD+R, USB flash drive, or external hard drive. Then, you will need to reinstall your operating system and software. Your computer may use discs to reinstall your operating system and programs, or you may need to use a built-in system recovery utility. Consult your owner’s manual for more information.

    According to my research, your computer is about 5 years old. In my experience, the lifespan of most computers is about 5-6 years. Therefore, now might be an ideal time for you to replace your current computer with a new one. Don’t forget to recycle your computer and other electronic devices as you replace them!

    Let us know what you decide to do. Thanks!


    Although your news about my ancient computer is bad news, I guess it is to be expected. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll start moving in the direction of a new computer. My C drive says it has 20GB of used space and 13 GB of unused space. Since we are talking about a new computer, I do not have a clue as to what to shop for. I really like HP since that is what I’ve had for the past 8 years or so, and I really like their online tech help chat service. I do NOT game, I do NOT do video stuff, I do mostly text editing and surfing with my computer, so I don’t need a lot of “extra” stuff that computers seem to be loaded down with. I much prefer speed of travel rather than storage in a computer. Any suggestions for this novice? Thanks so much for being there for us.


    Hi coleen,

    Unless you are interested in an Apple Mac, HP is probably the best option for you. What do you mean by “speed of travel”? Are you interested in purchasing a laptop?

    Your current computer’s hard drive has plenty of free space. As a general rule, you should uncheck everything in msconfig’s Startup tab except security software and scheduling software. To be honest, I’ve never heard of most of the programs you list in your question… so I cannot advise you on which programs to disable.

    You actually might want to experiment with turning virtual memory off in your computer. Go into the Start Menu, then right-click on the My Computer icon and choose Properties. Now go to the Advanced tab, and press the Settings button in Performance. Then go to Advanced and left-click on change. Now choose No Paging File and left-click on the Set button. Left-click on OK, then close all other open windows and restart your computer.

    I look forward to your reply!


    I will probably stick with HP if possible. By “speed of travel” I meant how quickly things happen on my computer…traveling from web site to web site. I also use genealogy web sites that do a LOT of document downloading, so I hope to find speed in that catagory too.

    Tell me more about turning virtual memory off. What will that do and how will that help me? If I have plenty of free space, why did I get the low virtual memory warning? HP online chat tech help walked me through changing the virtual memory numbers on my computer and I haven’t seen the low virtual memory message since. I am very interested in your suggestion to turn it off. Please tell me more.


    Are you interested in an HP desktop, or would you prefer an HP laptop?

    The speeds that you experience on websites and while downloading, what you call speed of travel, is determined more by your internet connection than by the power of your computer. Of course, dial-up internet is ancient technology and painfully slow. To get the best performance from the internet, you’ll need either DSL or cable internet.

    As you’re probably aware, more RAM usually equals better performance in your computer. Because of this, operating systems such as Windows XP transform part of your computer’s hard drive into a sort of pretend RAM, which is more properly called virtual memory.

    Usually, Windows automatically chooses the correct virtual memory settings for your computer. But some factors can cause Windows to choose incorrect virtual memory settings. I’ll quickly discuss some common causes of virtual memory problems…

    One likely cause of virtual memory problems in your computer is old and/or poorly written software. Turning virtual memory off is the correct solution in some cases, while the best fix in other cases is to increase virtual memory.

    Virtual memory can also malfunction if your computer’s hard drive is dying. In my opinion, the best solution for older computers with dying hard drives is to buy a new computer. Solutions for newer computers include replacing the hard drive yourself (maybe hire a geek to help you) or getting the computer serviced under warranty by the manufacturer.

    Although it seems that your computer’s hard drive has plenty of free space, I want you to know that a hard drive which is almost full (less than 5 GB of free space) can easily cause virtual memory problems. Turning virtual memory off might be a good solution if your computer’s hard drive ever becomes almost full. Other solutions include transferring some of your files to recordable CDs and then deleting the originals from your computer’s hard drive, purchasing a larger hard drive, etc.



    Thank you for the information. While I have you here, I have a question about operating systems on a potential new computer. I haven’t done much recent research, but a while back people were really complaining about VISTA. Have those issues been “solved” or is VISTA still problematic? What are the odds of finding a new computer that still has XP?


    It is true that Vista used to be REALLY bad, but Microsoft solved most of those problems when they released Windows Vista Service Pack 1. Although Windows XP is available on some new computers, such as some Dells, I feel that and HP with Windows Vista is the best choice for you.

    Depending on when you choose to purchase a new computer, you may also have the option of getting a computer with Windows 7. Early indications are that Windows 7 will be better than Windows Vista. Although Microsoft will almost certainly release Windows 7 by the end of 2010, the exact release date is unclear.


    Thank you Robert, I have not even heard of Windows 7, so thats a nice heads up. Thanks for all your help.