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My god-daughter has inherited her mother's old HTC-Desire, it's currently running Froyo, but despite having a huge memory card it still suffers constant out of memory errors.

I can move things on to the memory card, but being 12 the god-daughter in question just gets confused and deletes stuff.

Is there any kid-friendly permanent solution to the problem or an upgrade route to gingerbread.

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To avoid confusion, maybe you explain the "out of memory" errors a bit closer: Do they happen when trying to install new apps (which would point to storage) -- or is it rather apps crashing due to low memory (which would point to RAM)? The HTC Desire does not have plenty of RAM, and in that case even a huge SD card would not be of much help. –  Izzy Dec 2 '12 at 12:28
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4 Answers 4

From the commentary, it appears that you are having install problems, that is, out of internal storage, NOT RAM problems.

Assuming that's so, then NO, there isn't any real fix - you can't increase the internal storage of the device, you can only add a bigger SD card (external storage) and move apps to it.

The best you can do is to borrow the device regularly and push apps off to the SD card before things start to go wrong.

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Sounds like you're very confused about RAM and Storage differences.

This article should help you out, this is a reference to PC's but applies to Android devices also. http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-difference-between-ram-and-memory.htm

In layman's terms RAM is a kind of temporary storage that apps are running their data from as it's fast, however Storage is the permanent storage of your apps.

Why does your memory/RAM run low? Likely because you have multiple apps open in the background, consuming RAM, which causes the foreground app to run out. Or it could even be that the app needs more RAM than your device can provide, it is a little dated after all, if you were wanting to play all the latest games on it.

Why does your storage run low? Simply because there's too much stuff installed, or their could be a specific culprit with a large amount of cache/app data. Check this through the Applications manager in your settings.

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Out of memory errors occur when the device runs out of RAM - is this what you're talking about?

If so, then the easiest way, if rooted, is to install Auto Memory Manager from Google Play, and lower the values, so it doesn't kill apps as much.

If you mean the storage keeps on running out, then the only way to solve this is to either:

  1. Uninstall the most memory consuming apps.
  2. Move some apps to the SD Card.

Please be aware that the Internal SD card and the /data partition (where apps are installed) are different, and only ~1-2GB will be mounted to the /data partition. You can solve this by upgrading to ICS however - which may be the better option, if your device supports it.

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It doesn't appear to be a RAM issue as the phone has an 8Gb memory card. So, from what I can tell from a distance the issue is hard storage. Are there any memory mangers that will fix that issue? –  toomanyairmiles Dec 2 '12 at 10:49
    
RAM and storage are different - I think you are getting confused between the two. Storage, or internal memory is the storage, or internal SD card. It is a RAM issue if apps are closing on their own constantly. –  Liam W Dec 2 '12 at 10:51
    
Trust me, I'm not confused about the difference. The phone is running out of internal storage, as it won't automatically ship new data and installs to the card. –  toomanyairmiles Dec 2 '12 at 11:01
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You said 'It doesn't appear to be a RAM issues as the phone has an 8Gb memory card' that makes me think that you think the memory card has something to do with the RAM. Anyhow, 'automatically ship new data' is confusing, but 'installs to the SD card makes sense'. How much storage is left? Be aware that even though you have an 8GB internal storage, that WONT be going to /data, where the apps are installed. –  Liam W Dec 2 '12 at 11:04
    
6Gb remaining on the card –  toomanyairmiles Dec 2 '12 at 11:26
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This sounds an awful lot like my HTC Incredible's /data/data issue, an issue common to at least that phone if not other HTCs; that is, that the phone reports being out of memory/storage space (not RAM, as you know) even when everything you can see says there's plenty left. They key is in the partitions.

When you look at the storage space left on your device in System > Storage you're being shown the space left internally (the /data/apps partition where the .apk files are) and on your SD card (the /mnt/sdcard or /mnt/emmc partition where your music and photos are). This neglects to show you the /data/data partition, however. That partition is where your apps' data, settings, and user information is stored. I'm guessing this is partition that's full and is the reason you're getting notifications about low storage space. Unfortunately you won't be able to confirm this without root because access to this partition requires it. Why Android/HTC/whoever would make it so confusing and difficult is totally beyond me.

When I rooted and investigated, I found the /data/data partition on my Incredible to be laughably small and completely full, explaining why I constantly ran into errors. Moving apps to SD helped, as did ritually clearing data from some of the big ones (Facebook was the biggest if I remember correctly) but that was a huge chore. In the end I just had to severely limit the number of apps I had on the phone at any one time.

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