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Registry size limit in XP SP2

By kanenas_0 ·
Would anybody know why I randomly get a popup with this registry-related error:

"System has reached the maximum size allowed for the system part of the registry. Additional storage requests will be ignored".

The error sometimes pops up even during boot, nevertheless, the system seems to behave properly.

The System file in C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\ is at 12MB and as far as I know, XP SP2 doesn't let you adjust its size.

Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.

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by TheChas In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

I took a quick look at my config folder.
It has nearly 50 MB of files in it.

Software is over 18 MB
System is over 5 MB

The size of the registry files is dependent on how much information is stored in the file.

How much RAM do you have?

And, are you running with a fixed size page file?

If the total of RAM and page file is less than 1GB, you may just need more RAM, or a larger page file.

I NEVER use a fixed size page file to avoid out of resource issues.

After checking system resources, the next thing to do is clean out your registry.

I like Fix-It from V-Com

Other options include Norton System Works;
System Mechanic;
and Registry First Aid from Rose City Software.


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by kanenas_0 In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

Thanks for the response.
I have run quite a few registry cleaners. I'll try one more shortly but I'm not optimistic with these automated tools.
The problem is not memory related. It started about a month ago and I've had the same memory configuration for more than a year.
I have 2 gigs of RAM and 3 gigs of fixed swap file in this machine. I hardly ever get to the halfway point when I run some resource-hungry application and the registry problem happens even during boot sometimes.
I've read a comment on Google from somebody who managed to link the problem to his version of NVidia detonator drivers of all things!
I use NVidia too but I'm a dozen versions later than what he mentioned. Unfortunately I cannot test this since the error in my case is random and doesn't happen too often.
And the search goes on...

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by Myron_s In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

Try this:

NT Registry Optimizer
Registry Optimization for Windows NT/2000/2003/XP

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by jterry In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

I would try JV16 to clean up your registry. Also set your paging file maximum and ninimum to the same value. The highest of the two recommended.

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by tngamecockfan In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

I always make the min and max the same figure. On my 256 system I have the pagefile set to 1024. I have also found that adding some PF on another drive (Physical or logical) can help. Sometimes I have 1024 on C: and 512 on .

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by willcomp In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

This isn't an answer per se, but rather some information you may find useful.


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by In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...


The size of the Registry is not limited by RAM, virtual memory, or hard disk (unless the HDD is completely full of course).

On Windows 2000, the maximum size of the system portion of the Registry was 12 MB.

On Windows XP, the maximum size of the system portion of the Registry increased to 200 MB.

You would see the message you're getting whenever a program tried to add a key or value to the system portion of the Registry.

It's very curious that your SYSTEM file is 12 MB, the old limit, and are getting messages indicating the system portion of the Registry is full. For comparison, my Windows XP SP1 SYSTEM file is only about 3.5 MB.

If you are so-inclined: The system portion of the Registry is that which is below "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System" key. You can browse this by running "regedit.exe".


1. Do you have any idea why your SYSTEM file is so large (12 MB whereas mine is just 3.5 MB)?

2. Be sure your system is not infected with any malware (virus, etc).

3. I don't know how to adjust the maximum Registry size on Windows XP. The place where it was set is no longer there. It used to be in:

My Computer->R-Click->Properties->Advanced Tab->Performance Section->Settings button->Advanced Tab->Maximum Registry Size section

-----Steve Jackson

Software Corporation (Softcorp)
Advanced pro bono tools and utilities free for personal use

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by kanenas_0 In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

First off, could somebody tell me how to post an answer to my own question? There's supposed to be an Answer box under some Options section but there's no Options section anywhere on my screen.

On to the problem.
I already use the same low/high values for the swap file. They are set at 3GB and located on different physical disk than the one Windows is installed at. An extra 128MB is defined on the root partition.
My disks are already defragmented. In addition, I have O&O Defrag running in stealth mode to keep things always in order.
Registry cleanups I have done with many tools, including jv16, Search & Destroy as well as a few others.
I tend to think that this will never be resolved. It happens too rarely to track down.
Thank you all for the assistance.

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by kanenas_0 In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

Thanks for the responses.
XP doesn't use a hardcoded registry limit anymore. The link posted, also refers to that.
The link reminded me of a registry patch I had done a long time ago.
I had the RegistrySizeLimit set to 0xffffffff (the maximum). Since it's useless now I removed it.
It shouldn't affect anything anyway since it's already ignored.
Now I'm suspecting duplicate entries but have no idea how to locate them.
e.g. What if, while using Regedit, I click and drag by mistake a branch into another area?
Wouldn't that make a copy of the branch that just takes space?
Is there anything that can detect this?
The registry cleaners don't seem to be able to.

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by robin In reply to Registry size limit in XP ...

Edit your boot.ini file in the root of C

If it contains /3G in a line in the [operating systems] section, remove it!

I had this problem & I had made three changes at virtually the same time:

1. Added the /3G switch because I upgraded to 4Gb of RAM

2. Installed SP3 (build 3264)

3. Installed the latest hotfix (not included in SP3)

Because I didn't suspect change 1, I tried virtually every registry repair & compression tool available, & after many hours of searching on the internet, & looking at posts relating to RegistrySizeLimit and related registry entries, I found an obscure post which told me that the /3G switch moves memory from the system to the user area; removing the switch from boot.ini & rebooting solved the problem immediately.

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