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Too many windows open

By bwilson ·
I routinely have several windows and programs open thought out the day and what I have discovered is that after a while I have to many windows open and I can?t open anymore. What happens after I reach this state is that the right click context won?t open, clicking ctrl alt del does nothing and trying to open any program or window like IE or notepad does nothing. To fix the problem I have to close a window or two. Sometimes I might have as few a 6 window/programs open at the time when this happens. These are the programs I usually have open throughout the day Outlook, FrontPage, several Internet Explorer windows and notepad. Sometimes I will open PhotoShop and when I am having the issue the menu windows in PhotoShop won?t load.

I am running XP SP2 with 1 GB of ram. The computer never slows down, the windows just stop opening. What can I do to fix the problem?

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by Toivo Talikka In reply to Too many windows open

You could check the event logs for any messages at or after the time when this problem happens. They may give you clues to what is going wrong. Select Start - Run - Eventvwr or Start - Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Event Viewer.

Look for warnings and errors in the System and Appliction logs.

Even if you have 1GB of RAM, have a look at the Performance tab of the Task Manager and check the entries under Physical Memory and Commit Charge. Is any physical memory available just before you open the last application? Is the figure for Peak under Commit Charge close to the Limit?

Under 'CPU Usage' you can see how busy the CPU is when you open more windows. If the CPU is close to 100 % busy, you need to identify which process is the resource hog.

Go to the Processes tab. You can sort the columns in descending order by clicking the heading, for example CPU and Mem Usage.

Even before all else fails, make sure your anti virus definitions are uptodate and the hard drive fully scanned for viruses. A through check for spyware may be the answer. Download Microsoft's AntiSpyware (Beta) from You can also get spyware advice and useful links to free products from my page at

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by bwilson In reply to

Thanks, but I cam a computer tech a have already tried all of things you listed. The Event Logs don't contain any entries relating to the problems and the cpu usage is 0 to 1% and memory usage is normal. Virus and Spyware are not the problem.
Just this morning it happened again I only had Outlook, Front page and 4 IE Windows open. I don't have all the excess programs running in the try either I just the essentials.

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by limja In reply to Too many windows open

I just trying to help. As far as I concern, IE always clog up alot of memory especially you open it for the whole day, especially you have some content refresh frequently ( you might not aware about that, but homepage do refresh).

Beside the above solution, you might also want to release some memory by using 3rd party software like cachemanXP (

OR, when it hang, try to press "ctrl shift esc"
this menu will bring you the windows task manager immediately

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by bwilson In reply to

Thanks, I was thinking I might try a third party app to release memory, I have tried them in the past. The only reason I haven't yet is becuase when I get the task manager memory is available.

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by hozcanhan In reply to Too many windows open

you might have a "runaway" process . in the task manager click the processes menu and check which process is occupying a lot of memeory and using the most cpu time most of the time . but if you think this is a repetition of the above then check your bios settings and reload the motherboard driver .

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by bwilson In reply to

I have thought of this and checked the task manager every time it happens but nothing unusual shows up - next time I will try and print screen the taskmanager and memory available windows. This does happen to another person in the office and we are both running similar Asus motherboards and we both have raids. I have a raid 0 and she has a raid 0+1. I really doubt that it is a bios setting though.

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by pierrejamme In reply to Too many windows open

I would also run fully updated Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4 and Adaware Personal 1.06. This sounds to me like 80 to 100 Spy Programs running.

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by bwilson In reply to

Sorry guys, I don't have any spyware running. I did load FireFox yesterday and If I combine using it and IE, it seems that I can get more windows open because I haven't had the problem happen since I loaded FireFox.

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by B_Pope In reply to Too many windows open

It sounds like your running out of virtual memory, have you changed the virtual memory settings lately, under system properties + advanced + performance options, this should be set to applications & not background services, check that it hasen't been changed.

From what you've said I wouldn't bother with memory managers they just waste resources & don't really do anything. When you have a memory problem it's usually with virtual memory & only a reboot can solve that, memory managers or any other program for that matter will have no effect on virtual memory while your OS is running, that's why a reboot is needed in those cases & you don't require a program for that.

If you need to free up some physical memory just create a simple visual basic script file with notepad.

FreeMem= (24000000)

save as freemem.vbs or whatever name you want, double click the file & this will release 24MB of RAM each time you run it.

This article may have some bearing, it's at least worth a look;EN-US;Q281679

The only other thing I can think of is to try Process Explorer or Filemon to further monitor what's happening with your PC.

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by bwilson In reply to

Processor Scheduling and Memory Usage are both set to Programs.
My paging file size is set to custom with the initial and maximum size of 1536 MB. I read through the knowledge base article and it makes it sound like the problem it describes happens all of the time and my problem happens only sometimes and when my problem happens I can't open any new windows or right click anything until I close some windows. And then everything works fine again I don't have to reboot.

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