Installing this update would allow your computer’s performance to improve on certain hardware configurations. It addresses virtual space usage in the development of games in Windows. Potential problems that may occur when applications are run in Windows Vista will be discussed. An update has been developed that will hopefully resolve these potential problems.

Modern operating systems like Windows Vista have applications that run on a virtual address space that typically have a size of about 2GB for 32-bit applications. The available virtual space is neither dependent nor related to the available physical memory on the computer.

Every activity that happens when an application loads like memory allocation, file mapping, or library consumes some space in the virtual address space. When that space has been consumed, additional operations may fail and these applications may take a long time to recover after the failures. Programs may become unstable or may stop responding during such failures.

About the Games and Graphics

There are games and graphics applications that allocate the virtual memory for every video memory that the application uses.  The copy of the video memory used by the application is used if video memory contents are lost. So if a user presses ALT+TAB or if the computer goes on standby, this copy is used. The virtual memory used by this copy is directly dependent on the video memory resources that are allocated by the application.

The usual video memory for a modern GPU, otherwise known as a graphics processing unit is about 512MB. Applications that need a large amount of video memory can use the virtual address space for a copy of the video resources. However, in 32-bit systems, these large memory applications will consume all the virtual address space available.

When DirectX 10 and the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) were introduced, an application no longer needs to maintain a copy of resources in its memory. The video manager is already the one that makes sure that video memory allocation is maintained.

To be able to virtualize this video memory, Windows Vista’s video memory manager gives a virtual address range for the video memory resource. The range is similar to the copy created by an application but the video memory manager gets to successfully manage it more efficiently than the application. This virtual address range is used to handle transitions and over-commitment of video memory. If this virtual address space remains not being used for a longer time, absolutely no physical memory will then be allocated unlike the older model where the system memory copy has a full physical memory.

Solving the Problems

To resolve such problems, Microsoft has developed an update such that the video memory manager would maintain the content of the video memory resources. This change was done so that for each virtualized allocation, a permanent virtual address range does not need to be used.  This new approach would reduce the virtual address space to be used so that bigger video memory configurations can run on applications without the fear of reaching limits and causing application failures.

To install the update that would address this problem, download the required packages from the Microsoft Download Center. After applying this update, a restart is recommended.