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When logging in to my file server with Remote Desktop, I occasionally get a message saying, "Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service" and it fails to load my profile. I started getting this message a few months ago, at the same time that other weird and intermittent problems started occurring, like the occasional inability to open or download larger files from the server. Sometimes Remote Desktop can't connect at all, and I have to locally log into the server's console.

I've seen this message intermittently on several desktops; last year half a dozen desktops in different departments with little in common (besides the hardware and the antivirus software) all started getting this message along with general instability and graphical glitches; it went away on its own after a couple of months. Every computer that had this problem, including the file server when it first started, seemed to have lots of handles open according to Task Manager (>100k instead of the usual 20-30k). Most, though not all, were running some ancient software with lots of bugs. But now it's happening on a server that is using almost no resources: Both hard drives are less than half full; the commit charge is less than 1.5 GB on a system with 4GB RAM; the processors are <5%; the number of open handles is <20k.

What other resources are there that might be depleted? How might I find out, since the system doesn't seem inclined to tell me? Or is this a generic catch-all message meaning "I don't know what the $%^& is wrong"?

I do get an occasional event log message, a couple of times a week, saying, "The server was unable to allocate from the system paged pool because the pool was empty." It doesn't seem to correlate at all with the other symptoms, though. I have no idea what causes it, or what the system is trying to do at the moments this message appears. When I google this message, I only find vague suggestions to make sure all my software and service packs are up to date. It is. This may be related or may be a red herring, but I'm not sure how to investigate it further since windows gives no details.

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2 Answers 2

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We've been having similar problems with our 2003 terminal server.

We receive lots of applications complaining with error message "Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service". And also receive events complaining about the paged pool memory.

It's been difficult however because many times the event log itself gets corrupted.

We've followed the steps at:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312362

The suggestions there have given us mixed results. The problem is less frequent, but not eliminated.

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From that document: "This will potentially bring the Free System PTE entry down and can cause continuous reboot of the computer. For this configuration, carefully choose a value based on the requirements and available resources." That phrase makes me very uncomfortable. This computer does not match the specific specs listed, but I'm still being asked to change a registry setting which I don't understand, which microsoft doesn't explain in their own kb article about it, and which can break things very badly and immediately if it's set wrong, bringing down a critical production machine. –  Josh Oct 20 '09 at 18:54
    
I've been running performance monitor on the server, and the system "Pool Paged Bytes" consistently hovers between 110 MB and 130 MB. I don't know what the maximum is, which is set by windows at boot but not published anywhere unless you install the debugging tools: blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2009/03/26/… However, I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that the limit is 128 MB, because that would mean we're running close to the limit, which supposedly we are. To be continued, after I try the above suggestion to raise the limit and add a safety margin. –  Josh Oct 20 '09 at 19:18
    
Well, I really don't like messing with settings I don't understand, and Microsoft's documentation of these settings is so vague that I didn't want to touch them... but it looks like this solved the problem. It appears that increasing the paged pool also increases the filesystem cache, but decreases the space available to other apps... fortunately, the issue was on a file server, so that's a pretty good trade. –  Josh Dec 21 '09 at 23:04

Presuming you're using 32 bit 2003 Server, you've depleted the paged pool in kernel address space.

If you're using the /3GB switch, removing it will help, or if you need more than 2GB of address space for an app, then use the /userva= switch to increase the amount of kernel address space as much as possible.

I understand that turning off PAE helps, but I've not tested this.

The long term solution is to migrate to a 64 bit OS. Even with the same amount of installed RAM, the problem disappears.

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