Many in the Flight Simulation community are well aware of the dreaded CTD’s (Crash to Desktop) that seems to plague FSX over the recent years, recently I’ve had fallen victim myself to the these errors along with the vague OOM (Out of Memory) errors. Due to these errors I started on the long trial and error based quest to get to the bottom of the problem, problem if there is so much information to search through for such mis-informed problem…. Problem is it mentions memory so imagine the annoyance when I had just built my system with new DDR4 8GB of RAM, do I need yet more RAM? NO!!!
So what the heck does it mean? Let’s take the plunge….
FSX was released back in 2006, back then most applications and computers with 32bit (sometimes referred to as x86), most people and I was included until I was confident with the latest Operating System from Microsoft will of suggested to run with Windows 7 64bit, however with FSX being a 32bit application the maximum amount of VAS (virtual address space) available is ‘hard limited’ to 4GB, this is the memory that the above message refers too, so no matter if you have 6, 8, 12, 16GB etc of RAM you will always have a maximum of 4GB VAS, if the application strays above this then you will be greeted with an OOM and likely hours if not days of trying to balance the equation again.
Why use 64bit operating systems? You may think that using a 32bit version is better suited, at the time of release that may have been thecase, however we have since found out that the VAS limit was only 2GB (3GB with tweaking). Which in today’s situations would be practically unusable. To my knowledge there is no way to circumvent or release anymore VAS than 4GB in a 64bit OS setup.
Over the years the Flight Simulation community has grown and always been a massive knowledge base published by many enthusiasts and companies regarding OOM errors and how to prevent them or find what is causing the program to use more than it is allowed to. A well-known website is Kosta’s Flight Simulation World blogging site, the specific link to OOM and VAS usage is here. This site has helped me when I needed it.
I have already mentioned that I have been ‘flight simming’ for a number of years and a FSX user since it’s release after many years with FS-2002 and FS-2004, and running with 8GBfor over 3years now and it has only been recently when I started to get OOM problems. So what broke or unbalanced the setup? Well as a PC builder it all started after a system upgrade (as so many of these things do). Yup new mainboard, CPU and RAM (didn’t do GPU). I moved from AMD back to intel with an i7 quad core. That seemed to go ok with a few teething issues, the problems really started when I combined my treasured PMDG or Aerosoft airliners with various sceneries, being a VA pilot and ‘freelance’ pilot I like to have realistic sceneries wherever possible and with Heathrow being a major hub for my VA I wanted that to be as accurate as possible.
Eventually the build was complete and many hours spent reinstalling the add-ons (and looking for serial numbers). The time came for the important test flight, a shakedown if you like for the new CPU. So I booked a flight from Rome to London Heathrow, a flight that at the time my VA operated with a 777 (new in fleet). Pre-flight and flight plan ok and filed. And the flight went well with excellent framerates and I had a great and confident feeling, I had tweaked the FSX.cfg file so help it with multi-core and high memory systems. Then is started….. DING…… DING…… DING….. 10miles out with clearance to land and lined up of the runway centre-line waiting to intercept the glideslope….. DING…… DING…… DING….. I’m thinking this doesn’t sound right but no minimise or dialog box so ok I will land and then investigate the problem. Then it happens, the screen flashes to the desktop and the box appears… I’d run out of memory… What the hell is going on… I had to fix this…
I’m a huge fan of realistic add-ons for scenery ass the default airports/cities is lacking in a lot of areas. The result I look for is to have a stable and realistic simulator no matter if I’m VFR or IFR flying.
I started to crawl through the various community forums looking for different solutions, reading in many places that I had to deactivate various sceneries that I wasn’t using, Why? This made no sense to me as I wasn’t using the scenery, as Heathrow from Aerosoft was the last major product I downloaded I deactivated it and reverted back to UK2000 and default, the former product worked fine before I rebuilt the system, I downloaded and installed the Process Explorer software which I had read about in various places and found that I was still smashing the 4GB limit on the VAS. It was time to get a bit more drastic. I turned down the AI traffic and nearly all of the add on except Heathrow (UK2000 version), and restarted the same ‘doomed’ flight, also I did exactly the same as the first attempt with the weather set to real world (no problems), and added a VAS monitor to WideFS so I can view the usage without compromising the simulator. The flight went flawlessly until I got handed off to UK centres I saw the VAS steadily increasing as I touched down I heard the infamous DING… I did make to the gate and was able to shut down and noted I had 100mb or so on the VAS. But I was able to shut down the simulator without an OOM. Although initially happy I was left feeling a little ‘miffed’. The price for the simulator to work without an OOM was to deactivate nearly everything, be the only aircraft and I couldn’t see a way of completing any long-haul route I wasn’t happy the setup..
Now let me say that I do not blame any add-on developer for the OOMs, remember that FSX is a 32bit application and will ALWAYS have the above limitations.
To coin an old English phrase – I want my cake and I going to eat it, basically I paid my hard earned money for my add-ons in the pursuit of realism so I’m going to find a way to use them and still stay under my VAS limit.
DISCLAMIER: Please note that although this post refers to how I fixed my OO, the steps may not fix yours but I hope it helps.
Being like a bulldog I don’t let go at the first struggle I keep trying until I get a result I’d be happy about. I had spent a considerable amount of time and coffee in research and one thing I kept seeing what may just be a help for me. There is a little piece of software called “SteveFX – DX10 Scenery Fixer”. Well it was going to cost me £24-25 to find out. There are promising results that I can hopefully get, read the instructions and performed the changes and enabled DX10 in FSX. (Something the Microsoft never finished).
OK take 4, Reset the simulator to the settings that triggered the OOM, again my VAS monitor on WideFS was watching the VAS. I watched the monitor creep to around 3GB as a neared London, I landed and parked the aircraft with a VAS of 3.4GB…. YAY fixed. Further flights will hopefully prove the fix.
Download SteveFX – DX10 Scenery Fixer – Hopefully this will fix your OOMs. Leave a comment below if you have had similar success