SOLVED: The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the pool was empty – Event 2020 or 2019

I have seen this error before but not had the time to troubleshoot it.  The error basically means that your out of Windows resource memory (not to be confused with your servers physical RAM).  Below is a good explaination from an MSDN Blog:

What is Pool?

First, Pool is not the amount of RAM on the system, it is however a segment of the virtual memory or address space that Windows reserves on boot. These pools are finite considering address space itself is finite…

This is our friend the Server Service reporting that when it was trying to satisfy a request, it was not able to find enough free memory of the respective type of pool. 2020 indicates Paged Pool and 2019, NonPaged Pool. This doesn’t mean that the Server Service (srv.sys) is broken or the root cause of the problem, more often rather it is the first component to see the resource problem and report it to the Event Log. Thus, there could be (and usually are) a few more symptoms of pool exhaustion on the system such as hangs, or out of resource errors reported by drivers or applications, or all of the above! …

 Rebooting the server will resolve it, but only for a while so you really need to find and fix the root problem, not the symptom, so how do you do that?

The easiest way is to use our friend, TASK MANAGER to figure out what has too many “handles” open, restart or kill that program and then deal with the root problem.  You can do this by:

  1. Start Task Manager
  3. add HANDLES
  4. then click HANDLES to sort by the largest to smallest number
  5. BINGO, your culpret is likely at the top of the list.

Microsoft says anything over 5000 handles is large.  In my case the problem was OWSTIMER.EXE which is the SharePoint Timer Service but I found many other articles and blogs pointing to Symantec Norton (and other) AntiVirus and many small utilities that admins often set to start automatically.

If you want more information you will find these links useful:–2020-or-2019.aspx


Questions or Comments?