Q: My Windows 8.1 laptop has begun freezing when I read a newspaper article on MSN.com. I get the error message "Out of memory at line: 1." The only solution is to shut down and restart the PC. What's wrong?
Frank Quick, Tucson, Ariz.
A: That usually means your browser is using too much of the PC's RAM memory and not leaving enough for other operations.
That is typically caused by browser add-on programs that, combined with the browser itself, use up a lot of RAM. The fix for that is to eliminate some add-ons in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser (see "Turning off and removing add-ons" at tinyurl.com/yy63pzbh) or in the Apple Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers (see tinyurl.com/y54ebhty).
If eliminating browser add-ons doesn't stop the PC from freezing, the problem may be that other new software on your PC is hogging the RAM. That sometimes happens to older PCs that don't have as much RAM as current software requires.
If that is the case, you may need to add RAM memory to your PC. (To find out if that is possible, do a Google search for your PC model. Then look for how much RAM it came with, and the maximum amount it can use.) If expanding your PC's RAM isn't feasible, you will need to buy a new PC that comes with more RAM.
If the cost of more RAM or a new PC isn't in your budget, there is a temporary fix you can try: Increase the storage capacity of a Windows feature called the "paging file" or "virtual memory" (see tinyurl.com/y3umh5co). The paging file acts as an overflow valve for RAM memory; it stores any extra data on the PC's hard disk to prevent the PC from freezing up. Increase both the paging file's "initial size" and "maximum size" by 2,000 megabytes (about 2 gigabytes).
But while the paging file solution sounds good, it is not a cure. Why? RAM memory retrieves data for the PC very quickly, but the hard disk's response time is much slower. Used together, the two types of memory may slow down your PC.
Q: I use the Google Chrome browser to create desktop shortcuts for favorite websites, such as Best Buy or Home Depot. Normally these shortcuts are displayed with the icon for that business, such as a yellow price tag for Best Buy. But lately these shortcuts have all been given the Google Chrome icon, which makes it confusing to find the shortcut that I want. How can I fix this?
Ray Parent, Lakeland, Fla.
A: For the benefit of other readers, the Chrome browser allows you to create shortcuts that appear on a PC's desktop instead of inside the browser. Clicking on one of these desktop shortcuts causes Chrome to display that website.
Normally, a desktop shortcut for a well-known retailer should include that company's icon and its web address. But Google altered the way the Chrome browser works, which caused your desktop shortcuts to be given generic Google Chrome icons.
However, you can get your icons back by using Google's most recent directions for creating desktop shortcuts (see tinyurl.com/y5jdnavc). (It is also worth checking to make sure that you have the latest version of the Chrome browser; see tinyurl.com/hpspbvu).
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