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OS X startup disk has no more space available for application memory

127615 Views 129 Replies Latest reply: Apr 6, 2014 5:36 AM by FruitbatFran RSS
  • Kevin Stanchfield Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)

    Be careful, Apps like FreeMemory are usually a scam and do nothing.

  • Kevin Stanchfield Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)

    It's not an OS bug, numinasthmatic. As has been stated over and over, it's just a general "out of memory" error, something any operating system will give you if one of the processes gets into a loop or crashes, etc.

     

    If you are getting this error, all you need to do is load Activity Monitor.  This program will show you all of the processes that are running as well as how much ram each is using.  From there you will easily be able to tell which program is the problem.  If you read this thread, you'll encounter many peopel who have solved their memory problem this way.  Here is a screenshot of Activity Monitor on my computer.  I have all of the processes sorted my the amount of ram they are using...  easy stuff.

     

    Screen Shot 2012-06-03 at 9.30.41 PM.png

  • numinasthmatic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Kevin,

     

    I use ActivityMonitor. When the swap space balloons, activitymonitord starts to chew up cpu. I have seen it at over 40% (that's 40, not 4) of one cpu. What's it doing? It's trying to keep track of a whole lot of fragments of allocated memory. This is how I first encountered the problem. My system (8Gb, btw) ground to a halt. It was too busy tracking memory to do much other work.

     

    That's one reason it's an OS X bug.

     

    Here's another one. Until I migrated to OS X, I ran linux on PC laptops and desktops. I ran the same mix of applications on linux - Firefox, Thunderbird mail, NetBeans IDE, Oxygen XML editor and the like. (Although I run Mail and Safari, my wife still runs Firefox.)  My system would stay up for WEEKS at a time. And that is the single, screamingly obvious reason why this is an OS X bug.

     

    It is one of the critical jobs of an operating system to make sure that rogue applications cannot bring the system to its knees. Apparently OS X can't do that.

     

    Linux can do it; why can't the world's richest company afford to make OS X perform as well as linux?

  • Kevin Stanchfield Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)

    If your system is out of memory, Activity Mon (along with everything else) will use more CPU than normal.  Try using 'top' instead in that case.

     

    Sorry, it's not an OS X issue (I'm a professional Unix admin).  My Mac machines run for months without issue, 10.5, 10,6, 10,7...

     

    Monitor the logs too (console).  You will find the culprate.

  • numinasthmatic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ah, the argument from authority.

     

    Yes, it is an OS X problem, I was a "professional Unix admin" too, in the day. Snap.

     

    So, why does linux not have the problem?

     

    If you don't want to disturb Apple's complacency on this issue, you dont' have to. But please, please, stop telling those of us who have to keep babying our systems, instead of just getting on with using them as we can with other OSs (including XP SP3, the only one I have spent any time with, and that not much), that it's not an OS X problem.

     

    We are going to have enough problems getting the secret garden to admit that something smells, without running interference from the outside.

     

    I've bugged this. Have others? Funny thing is, Apple wanted detailed information about this, which I gave them. Sure, they've ignored me since then, but they didn't have the gall to tell me it was my problem, not theirs.

  • Kevin Stanchfield Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)

    I only stated that I was a professional Unix admin so you would know that I wasn't talking out of my a$$.

     

    I have run many Linux workstations and servers over the years and have run into situations where a process got into a loop becasus of a bug, or filesystem issue, or whatever, and took all available ram.  The last time this happened to me was on a CentOS box and the offending process was Apache.  The server was in such a bad state that I wasn't even able to log in on the colsole and had to hit the reset button.  It's rare, but it happens

     

    If you are having this issue, whay don't you post a screen shot of Activity Mon or top?

  • numinasthmatic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Fair enough.

     

    I don't get into this situation to the ame extent because I am constantly nursemaiding the MacBooks of both my wife and myself.  We both leave activity mon running and check the swap fairly frequently. When is starts to build up, we reboot. That's the simplest and quickest way to fix things, in the majority of cases.  As I said, I've reported this to Apple, with a couple of lots of activity monitor, top and spindumps.

     

    Yes, linux will run into problems too. The issue is the consistency of these problems on OS X. It is just a constant hassle when using a standard set of applications. I was once told by an Apple support guy, on another issue, that I really shouldn't leave my system running all the time - which we do. We'll close the lid every now an then, but why reboot. Well, we have found the answer to that question. I have the feeling that Apple think of Macs as consumer computers for intermittent use.

     

    I would be interested to know whether this problem occurred to the same degree with OS X Server. Apple is phasing out its server hardware. Are they also phasing out the software?

  • I have no alias Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Let's get the pedants off the case and concede that it is not a bug but rather it is an Apple design flaw extant in Snow Leopard and Lion.

     

    The design flaw creates a situation that chews up all available memory by recursing instructions in a specific program, the source code of which may vary from one machine to the next. In my case it is address book attempting to syn with iCloud.

     

    In order to address said design flaw I have needed to have Activity Monitor running so that when the situation arises I can  terminate the affected program.  The consequence of this and the fact that the Apple engineers could not find a way to port my mobileme address book to iCloud is that I no longer have an online address book.

     

    Does that make you Apple apologists happy?

  • Gator TPK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    samchr wrote:

     

    ...and a little more detail about my swap space:
    Size: 59GB
    Page Ins: 1,148,437
    Page Outs: 652,364

     

    I've just had that exact same problem.  I've looked at my /private/var/vm/ folder (where the swap files are) and it adds up to exactly 59 GiB (GibiBytes) or 63.35 GB (GigaBytes.  I have a feeling that 64 GB is the max, and forming another "swapfile63" (at 1.07 GB or exactly 1 GiB) would exceed the 64 GB Max, even though it would only be only 60 GiB.

     

    I've read somewhere else that exactly 8 swap files was the max in the past (they were referring to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger) I believe.  I am running the kernel in 32-bit mode Mac OS X 10.7.4, I know that usually doesn't have anything to do with virtual memory since it's been 42-bit (or 48, or 64 bit) for a while anyway. 

     

    It appears now that 63 swap files are the maximum now, again I was running Mac OS X 10.7.4 Lion.  I'm running something newer now with the 64-bit kernel booted up by default, but I'm not sure I'll replicate the maximum VM size again to see if the 64-bit kernel makes any difference.

     

    The first two swap files were 64 MiB, then 128 MiB, 256 MiB, 512 MiB, then "swapfile5" and up were 1 GiB till it stopped at "swapfile62" for a total of 63 swapfiles.  The first swapfile is "swapfile0" at 64 MiB.  Again this ads up to exactly 59 GiB or 63.35 GB; suggesting a arbitrary limit of 64GB (not 64 GiB).  (And yes, I had plenty of space left on the startup volume)

     

    Here's an image of my Swap Folder ("vm" folder) and a smaller sample of it:

    VM ScreenShot (59 GiB Swap!).png

    VM Folder.png

    That's the last swapfile62 it will create, then the offending app will "pause", instead of "not responding".

    (Total of 59 GiB; 63 swap files)

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,390 points)

    I have no alias wrote:

     

    Let's get the pedants off the case and concede that it is not a bug but rather it is an Apple design flaw extant in Snow Leopard and Lion.

     

    The design flaw creates a situation that chews up all available memory by recursing instructions in a specific program, the source code of which may vary from one machine to the next. In my case it is address book attempting to syn with iCloud.

     

    In order to address said design flaw I have needed to have Activity Monitor running so that when the situation arises I can  terminate the affected program.  The consequence of this and the fact that the Apple engineers could not find a way to port my mobileme address book to iCloud is that I no longer have an online address book.

     

    Does that make you Apple apologists happy?

    Porting the Mobile Me address book to iCloud has been succesfully done by millions, why can't you? did you migrate correctly using www.me.com/move? if not, how did you migrate.

  • BrianVPI Calculating status...

    I just experienced this on my iMac and was scratching my head a bit...wondering why this annoying window kept popping up every few seconds.  I was skimming through this thread - and the answer hit me when I read about that guy with the i-glasses app.  I realized I don't have anything like that - and....you're not going to get a message when you're out of physical memory (RAM) - thats what swap files/page outs are for - so I was thinking what else could be paging to the disk and not registering as tying up space.  The answer I came up with - Time Machine.  If you haven't backed up to an external drive recently - do so.  Until then - Lion runs Time Machine and keeps the files on your local hard drive - unless you've disabled this behavior.  I just hooked my external drive up - ran Time Machine backup and then restarted the iMac - so far the problem seems solved.  I'll post back if that changes - but previous to this - even after a restart - I got that window within minutes and it's been hours now of use with no message.

  • Kevin Stanchfield Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)

    That's not true at all BrianVPI.  TimeMachine is off be default, and will ONLY work with an external drive.  Swapping to the the disk (Using virtual memory in Mac speak) only occures when your physical RAM us use up.

     

    The error you're getting is a standard "Out of memory" error.  All you have to do is use Activity Monitor to locate which processes is the culprit.

  • BrianVPI Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm afraid you're wrong on that Kevin.  Do a little research.  There are ways to turn off the local TM backup - but it is not off by default - not in Lion.  You're way off on both accounts.  I'm well aware of what a swap file is - reread my response.

  • BrianVPI Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    And the bottom line is - the problem is gone - and nothing I did previous fixed it (including Onyx utilities, Disk Utility, secure emptying Trash...)  and I have 1.5GB of free space on my drive - and 16G of RAM.  No - I'm pretty sure that it was Time Machine.

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