Out of Gas on the Information Superhighway

Running out of system resources is enough to make any operating system sing the blues—and stop you from operating properly. Knowing how to rule out (or rule in) a resource problem gets you closer to a solution. Any operating system requires hardware resources; the most common ones that you’ll run out of include

  • CPU cycles

  • Physical RAM

  • Hard drive space

  • Fixed operating system data structures

Ideally, any program that you use will raise a red flag and alert you when resources become low, but two real-world issues that sometimes prevent this.

First, some programmers don’t code well; that is, they don’t make sure that the operating system said, “Yes, you may have some,” before assuming that a resource allocation ...

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