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Memory Validator Help

The Virtual tab shows a graphical or tabulated view of all the memory in the target program, and how it's being used.


If the Virtual tab isn't visible, use the Data Views menu to set which views are shown.


interactiveClick a part of the image below to jump straight to the help for that area.





The virtual tabs


At the top of the display are three tabbed data views: one graphical, and two tabulated:




Graphic instructionStep a graphical visualisation of virtual memory pages, similar to that used on the main Pages tab


Pages instructionStep a tabulated view of each 4K virtual memory page used by the target application


Paragraphs instructionStep a tabulated view of each virtual memory paragraph


Each of the three views includes data from Win32 Heaps, CRT heaps, DLLs, Memory mapped files and thread stacks.


note Note that the view supports an address range of 2Gb, or 3Gb on suitable operating systems if the target application has been built with the /3GBexternalLink and /LARGEADDRESAWAREexternalLink parameters.




Memory usage types


The virtual tab views show the memory type as being one of the following. Default colours are shown here, but can be changed.


vm-colours-green Commit instructionStep Commited memory, allocated with VirtualAlloc()

vm-colours-olive Reserve instructionStep Reserved memory, allocated with VirtualAlloc()

vm-colours-purple Free instructionStep Free memory, whether unused or deallocated

vm-colours-pink DLL instructionStep used by EXEs, DLLs and assemblies in the program

vm-colours-red Stack instructionStep stack space used by threads

vm-colours-pale-blue Mapped instructionStep memory mapped files

vm-colours-mauve Heap instructionStep allocated by HeapAlloc() etc

vm-colours-yellow CRT instructionStep allocated by the C runtime: malloc, calloc, new etc

vm-colours-orange Stub instructionStep workspace memory used by Memory Validator

vm-colours-black  out of address range


note Normally, the virtual memory manager treats memory only as free, committed, or reserved, since it doesn't care that a given region of memory is stack space, DLL storage space, a memory heap etc. Memory Validator adds the additional memory types to make the results more useful.



Graphic view


The graphic view uses a single pixel, coloured as above, to visualise the state of each 4K page of memory, wrapping from left to right and top to bottom.


If there is no target program being monitored, or the program has closed, the display will appear black.




Hovering the mouse over the display shows information at the top of the view about the region and page under the pointer.


Region Address: instructionStep shows the start and end address of the contiguous coloured region of memory, and its size (hex and decimal)


Page Address: instructionStep shows the page address


<Memory usage information> instructionStep shows the memory type (as above) at the end of the line and optional extra information


 For a heap, its handle value is also displayed.

If the region is a process module (DLL, EXE, etc), then its filename is shown.


note If you're testing this display using the supplied example program, you might want to allocate quite a large block of memory, eg 10Mb or more, to make it significant in the display.



Pages view


The Pages view lists similar data as the graphic view, showing the allocation state of each page and region of memory in the program.


For each area, the address, size, type, protected state and description of the area are given.


Unlike the graphical view, if the target program has exited, this view keeps the last known state




A few options are available above the list:


Sort instructionStep chooses which column to sort by, the default being to sort by ascending address

 This is exactly equivalent to clicking in the header row of columns in the table itself.


Descending instructionStep swaps the ascending or descending ordering of the hotspots  


Ignore Colours for Virtual Memory instructionStep toggles whether to highlight the areas of memory in the list that are marked as commited, reserved or free


Export instructionStep enables the export of virtual memory data in HTML, XML or CSV file formats

seeAlsoRead more about exporting virtual memory data and the format of the exported data.



Paragraphs view


The Paragraph view displays very similar data to the previous Pages view, but using larger chunks of memory.


A paragraph is defined by dwAllocationGranularity in the SYSTEM_INFO data structure returned from GetSystemInfo, but is typically 64K.



Virtual tab options


At the far left of the window are the usual options for updating the refresh interval and setting display colours.





Updating the display


Update Interval (s) instructionStep automatically updates the display at your choice of interval between 0.1 and 60 seconds, or the default of Never!


Choose an interval suitable for the size of your application, as lots of data may take longer to draw than the interval itself !


Refresh instructionStep updates the display - as does the refresh button on the Tools menu and toolbar


With an update interval set to Never, you'll need to use this Refresh button to update the display.



Display settings - colours


Colours instructionStep shows the Virtual Memory Colours dialog to change the colours used in the views for each type of memory usage above


Each colour can be changed via the colour-dotdotdot-button button, or all colours can be reset to their defaults.


 Apply instructionStep updates the colours in the virtual view without closing the dialog.



Memory usage totals


Below the options are the total accumulated amounts for each type of memory usage above.


Units instructionStep sets the units for displaying the total values in MB, KB or the number of pages



Virtual view popup menuright_mouse_button


Each virtual view has a popup menu giving access to allocations, reallocations and deallocations in a page or region:


All views give region information, but only the graphical view also gives page information for the point under the cursor.




Page information... instructionStep allocations in the selected page (pixel)

Region information... instructionStep  allocations in the same selected contiguous region of memory with the same type.


note No dialog? Not all pages and regions contain allocations, in which case, no allocation dialog appears, and you'll hear a beep (if you have speakers on!). If your allocations are generally on the CRT heap for example, look for the corresponding coloured areas - the CRT memory usage is yellow by default.


An example of the page information dialog is below. The region information shows the first and last page address accordingly.




The allocations in the dialog can be expanded, to show the local source code, and double clicking launches your preferred editor with the source file.