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If you get the error message ‘Virtual memory exceeded’, save
your modified buffers with C-x s (
This method of saving them has the smallest need for additional
memory. Emacs keeps a reserve of memory which it makes available when
this error happens; that should be enough to enable C-x s to
complete its work. When the reserve has been used, ‘!MEM FULL!’
appears at the beginning of the mode line, indicating there is no more
Once you have saved your modified buffers, you can exit this Emacs session and start another, or you can use M-x kill-some-buffers to free space in the current Emacs job. If this frees up sufficient space, Emacs will refill its memory reserve, and ‘!MEM FULL!’ will disappear from the mode line. That means you can safely go on editing in the same Emacs session.
Do not use M-x buffer-menu to save or kill buffers when you run out of memory, because the Buffer Menu needs a fair amount of memory itself, and the reserve supply may not be enough.