When My comp starts up the commit charge sits around 300 however when i go to use any prgrams it increases alot. Im thinking it may be RAM because i got 256 mbs of it *in the process of upgrading* but when i use firefox it uses about 60,000 mem usage and my comp is very sluggish. Any Advice? Right now all i got running is windows messenger, firefox,windows media player and avg and the commit charge is at 620/964.

also when i go to access my movies if i try to go through pages quickly my explorer will send an 'windows has shut down this program 'windows explorer'" msg and the page closes. any ideas what might be causing this?

Task Manager's Performance tab. Urk. The figure at the foot of the PF Usage chart is in MB, other figures are in KB, and the conversion factor is 1024.
PF Usage is a misnomer in Task Manager : the figure at the foot of the Page File Usage graphical monitor is the Commit Charge, which is actually the sum of RAM in use + Page File in use.
Commit Charge [KB] = curent total memory usage [of both RAM + PF][KB]. It is just the amount of virtual memory the OS has committed to the running programs.
Limit CC = Most of installed RAM + Page File size. Most of RAM? XP always keeps a variable amount of RAM in reserve. If you disable your page file you will see that CC Limit is less than Total Phys MEM [RAM] by about 50KB or so, the reserve. This rises rapidly as you have more processes running, probably because the OS calculates that there is a bigger chance of an emergency memory call occurring.
At bottom of TM you see that PF Usage number repeated as Commit Charge [Total]. The second figure there is Commit Charge Limit, now in MB ...[x 1024 to get KB].
"620/964". You can see that you are using a lot of your Page File. Of course, XP is not going to be using all of your RAM before it switches some allocations over to the page file. How much of your RAM is not being used? This is given by the Available figure. How much page file? Tricky, because of that varying reserve figure, but you have only 340MB of page file in reserve for any other applications you may open.
And what is shown in the actual Page File Usage chart? I have no idea.
The Kernel Paged Pool - this is the amount of memory used by the kernel which could be paged; it does not imply that it is paged. Generally the kernel appears to be all held in RAM, so that Kernel Total should be considered as all in RAM. Unless, of course, you were running XP on 64MB of RAM....
There is a lot of misinformation on the web about this, I've possibly added to it.

=Available: The amount of physical (RAM) memory that XP will allow programs to use before it switches to Page File memory. Reserve is difference between available and total??
=If you take the amount of Available physical memory and subtract that from the Total physical memory, you’ll get the amount of physical memory currently being used.

Commit charge: This is all memory requested by processes and allocated by the OS. Virtual memory.
System cache: amount being used by the System itself [sum of all processes with SYSTEM as User].

"When My comp starts up the commit charge sits around 300 however when i go to use any programs it increases a lot." 300MB. Naturally enough, it must increase.
" Right now ..... the commit charge is at 620/964." This is where the advice to have oh...1.5x the size of your RAM as Page File gets weird. Same when you have a lot of RAM [in that case it gives you way too large a page file.... but if you have a lot of RAM, you probably have a lot of disk space...].
Your page file is too small - may I suggest that you increase it to 1G, or 1.2 GB if you can spare the disk space?
RAM. 256MB is just okay for XP, most would prefer 500MB as a minimum, 1GB is very comfortable.

Thank You for your reply. I set aside more disk space for RAM and it seems to have helped. Although i am gonna get a stick of RAM just to make sure that this doesn't happen to often.

Again, thank You for your advice,it helped greatly.