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On 32-bit operating systems Visual Studio can easily run out of memory (especially with memory hungry plugins like R# or NCrunch). But there are ways to reduce this problem.

Why oh why?

All desktop versions of Windows suffer from 3 GB barrier (see more here). It prevents the operating systems from using more than about 3 GB of RAM. But 3 GB is a lot and should be enough for VS et consortes, right? It appears not. I have decent machine with SSD, but running VS+R# with non trivial solutions _is_ constant pain. VS crashes throwing OutOfMemory exceptions or just stops responding for a few seconds (very annoying) all the time. 

If – for whatever reason – you cannot upgrade to 64-bit Windows try following tips:

Make Visual Studio large address aware

Well, 3 GB limit is not enough because it’s not reached. YES, there is another limit of 2 GB address space, but luckily it can be easily lifted:

editbin /LARGEADDRESSAWARE devenv.exe

Use JetBrains patch for Visual Studio to lessen address space fragmentation

Another problem is address space fragmentation. Default Visual Studio memory allocation is very… generous. But you can override its behavior with this patch:


Results after 1 month

No more crashes or mysterious slowdowns! Now I can fully appreciate “alt-enter driven development” with R#. Hurray!