I know that many of you, like me, have been struggling with "Low System Memory" warnings in Premiere Elements (and probably in other applications as well). I finally got tired and decided to do something about it. I started reading everything I could in the Adobe forums, Microsoft Windows forums, and anything else I could get my hands on. I had to learn all about the Windows memory model and do some testing but I finally figured it out and solved the problem. Hopefully, some of you can also use this solution.
Low System Memory warnings in PE (I'm using PE 8.0 but I used to get these warnings in PE 7 as well) have little or nothing to do with how much physical memory you have in your computer (although the more the better and I would encourage you to max out your computers RAM). These warnings have everything to do with Virtual Memory which is memory that is allocated to each Windows Application, even if it isn't actually resident in physical memory. Windows uses the Pagefile on your hard drive to hold images of memory that are not "mapped" into physical memory. It then swaps memory images in and out of physical memory as needed. Windows, by default, allocates 2GB of Virtual Memory to each application. The amount of physical memory given to each application is non-deterministic.
Although it appears that Premiere Elements is very memory hungry, its actually us that are memory hungry. We want to download hours of high definition video along with high res photos and combine all that with special effects and all the tricks that PE can muster up (and it can muster up a LOT). PE 8.0 is so feature rich it's mind boggling, however you can't access all those featuers when PE is starving for memory. So give it more!
If you are running Windows Vista or Window 7 as I am, the solution is fairly simple. Windows provides a boot-time switch that will give applications an extra GB of memory, albeit at the expense of the OS. It's called LARGE_ADDRES_AWARE.
In order to enable LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE applications, perform the following steps (you can also visit usa.autodesk.com and search for the /3GB switch - they have essentially the same instructions as I have presented here). Click the Start Orb and find the Accessories Program Group. Click to expand and right click on Command Prompt. Select Run as Administrator. At the command prompt, enter:
BCDEDIT /SET INCREASEUSERVA ####. Where #### refers to the amount of memory to give to each application.
I started with 3072 and it seemed to work well. That gives 3 GB to each application and only 1GB to the OS. Since I enabled additional memory, PE performs faster, doesn't crash or hang up and never gives me the dreaded Low System Memory messages. I'm sure that as I continue to overload PE's VM, I will eventually reach a point where I start having problems again, but I now realize that under the 32 bit environment, only so much is possible. Let's hope Adobe brings out a 64 bit PE soon!
Enabling more memory to applications could lead to problems if you have software that utilize many drivers. You are essentially starving the OS of memory in order to give it to PE. If the performance of other applications suffers after you enable more application memory you can easily turn it off.
BCDEDIT /DELETEVALUE INCREASEUSERVA
I believe Windows XP also supports LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE, but I'm not sure how to enable it. I believe it's different than Vista or W7.
Hope this helps some of you, I know I am much more productive at this point.
Nice tip, Bob!
This tweak has actually been in our FAQs (to the right of this forum) since last July, when someone discovered it as a way to make Vista perform more stably.
It's nice to know it works for W7 too though!
You have to be carefull about how much memory you give the application under the 32bit model because it comes at the expense of the OS. Starving Windows of memory will also have a detrimental impact. I suggest you try 3GB and use Task Manager to map the applications priority to HIGH. Beware when you do this that other app's might suffer. Typically when I use PE, I shutdown almost everything else. 3GB and HIGH priority seems to work best for me, of course if they came out with a 64bit edition of PE these problems would largely go away.
I have been getting low system memory messages, and when I saw this solution, I was ecstatic. I was sure this would solve my problem. But it did not work. I am running Adobe PRE 7 on an HP Pavilion dv6 with Vista Home Premium sp2 (32 bit). I have 31 GB of free disk space. (Maybe this is not enough?) I have 3 GB of physical RAM (1.83 GB available when I last checked), and 6.19 GB of virtual memory (5 GB available at last check). Page file space is 3.28 GB on C disk.
I have turned off MacAfee real time scanning, exited from the spyware program (I only see one to turn off), turned off almost all programs at startup. I have the latest versions of Quicktime and Adobe PRE. Disk was cleaned up and defragmented yesterday. I have read all the threads/articles I could find on this subject, and I think I have followed most of the advice. (See below for one thing I have not yet tried.)
I tried executing the above mentioned command in separate attempts with 3072 and with 4096, and got the same results. I simultaneously set the application priority to high in the task manager each time (and I left the priority for the other processes as normal).
Yet each time I still get the low system memory message. I am trying to burn my project to a DVD, and it keeps getting a transcoding error. (I used the preset NTSC_Dolby DVD.) I thought possibly the project was too large (it's about 27 minutes including 9 scenes and 3 separate features that appear on the main menu screens). So I separated it into 2 smaller projects -- one for the movie portion with scenes, and one for the features. I got the same results on each one. However, I am able to create a .wmv file on my hard drive. I still got the low system memory message, but it completed burning the file. It's only when I try to burn the DVD that I get the transcoding error. When I had the big file, the transcoding error occurred after about 3-5% was encoded. With the smaller file, it got through about 30% before failing.
I read Hunt's article about changing the size of the page file and/or moving it to the D disk. That's the only thing I haven't tried. I'm not sure how to go about doing that. On Vista you have to specifiy an initial value and a maximum value. Someone else replied asking the same question, but there was no answer about how to do that. Can anyone provide details on that?
I feel like maybe I am missing something basic. Like this solution should have worked, or at least made some difference. I think I did it correctly -- the command said it executed successfully. So what am I missing? Could it be a problem with the menus I am using? Maybe I should try a different menu.
Or could it be that I do not have enough disk space? Will changing the size of the page file help with that?
I recently bought an HP 500 GB hard drive to replace my current hard drive. But I have not yet installed it. It seems like a big job and I was hoping to complete this project first. I also have a 1 TB external hard drive. I don't know if that could help with running the project in any way. I suppose I could move some things off my C drive onto the external drive, if I could be sure that would help (and if I knew how much space was really needed).
I also have a desktop with Windows XP and thought about trying to run it there, but it has even less free disk space.
The movie that I'm trying to create is to be played at a big party on April 2. While it probably can be played from the wmv files on my laptop, that's not ideal. And I really want to give copies of the DVD to people. So any insights that you can give would be greatly appreciated!!!
UPDATE: I changed the disk menus and this time it got through 86% encoding media before it got the transcoding error! So I really thought I had solved the problem, but then got the error when it was almost done. I did it without increasing the virtual memory (trying one thing at a time), so I'll try it again with the increase. Even though I got the transcoding error, I did not see the low system memory message that usually precedes it.
I had been using the fireworks menu under holidays and events, because it matched my title slides. Switching to the balloon menu seems to have made a difference, even though it still didn't finish. Because it didn't spend the first few minutes encoding menus. It went straight into encoding media, and went a lot faster. (The fireworks menu has motion -- don't know if that's part of the problem.) Anyway I will try again, but would still appreciate any insights on the above, especially about page file size. Also is there supposed to be a space in between BCDEDIT and the slash? I've tried it both ways and it seems to work either way.
UPDATE #2: I ran it again with the balloons disk menu and increased memory (3072) and priority set to high, and it failed again with a transcoding error after encoding 87% of the media. This time a low system memory message preceded the transcoding error. (Both of these recent attempts were with the smaller 23 minute project.)
Please help. Thanks in advance.
I have 31 GB of free disk space. (Maybe this is not enough?
That's very borderline. Try to free up as much disk space as you can. If your system is stable use Disk Cleanup to remove all but last system restore copy. Check out CCleaner as a good cleanup tool and SpaceSniffer to find out what is taking up most of the space. Be brutal - consider moving as much as possible to an external drive (but leave all your PRE material on your main drive.).
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Thanks for the quick response. Before I go hacking up my hard drive, let me ask these questions. Does it make sense that the space issue would interfere with burning the DVD and not with burning a wmv file on my hard drive? Does it take more space to burn a DVD? (I would have thought the opposite.) And does it make sense that it would create a transcoding error, if the problem is disk space? And will changing the size of the page file help address the space issue?
I might just go ahead and replace the hard drive, since I already bought the new one. But I think I need some help from HP tech support for that. Do you know if I have to replace the OS when I do that? I assume so but I'm not clear about the function of my D drive.
Also, I forgot to mention that I followed Steve's tips in his article about optimizing Vista for video editing. Although I already wasn't doing some of them (like the Window Sidebar). I did reset my display to WIndows Vista Basic, but I still get a low graphics score for Windows Aero, and I can't figure out why, since I'm no longer using it. Unless I have to turn it off in more than one place?
And I think I've turned off indexing, but I'm not 100% sure of the settings.
Thanks in advance to any who have answers to any of these questions.
Update #3: I decided to try it one more time with the new disk menus, this time increasing memory by 4096. And it worked! It worked for each of the smaller videos (the video on one disk and features on the other). I haven't tried the combined DVD yet. But this is workable if the larger DVD fails. So that gives me some breathing room to install my new hard drive. But I would still love some answers to the questions I posed above about the page file, and why the other disk menus (Celebration - fireworks) would cause a problem. And also if you have any idea why it still thinks I'm using Windows Aero even after I switched to Vista Basic.
I would seriously consider bumping your physical memory up to 4GB. When you allocate more memory to the application, it takes it away from the operating system. When you starve the OS, things get dicey. I think if you add an additional 1GB of RAM you might get better results.
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