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To Page or Not to Page...Swap File

By Aaron A Baker ·
It may seem silly to some, but it leaves me questioning.
No chuckling allowed please.

System is as follows;
Motherboard, ASUS A7V880 Dual Channel
CPU: AMD Sempron 2.800 Gb
RAM 2Gb or { 512 X 4 } DDR PC133 , 400Mgz Matching Ram "Infineon"
Running Windows XPPro. System runs very well.

The C Drive is a 20Gb Western Digital and is alone formatted at fat 32
All main programs are installed here and all saves are sent to various folders on the other drives.
The (Office) & E: (Games) Are on One Drive. Maxtor 40Gb Partitioned into two, formatted at NTSF
The F: (Programming and Storage) is also only one Drive Maxtor 20Gb formatted at NTSF.
My problem is as follows.
I refer to my Page or Swap File . As usual it was on the C and set at system Controlled.
I took it from there set it to Custom and put it on my last Drive (F)"apart from the rest and set it at 3500 / 3500 or 1.5
I then would do the usual shut down and restart and would only come back to find that it had set itself to " Use NO page swap File"
No matter what I do or how I configure this, I can't seem to get it to work with a page file.
I've tried working with 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and have even tried setting it at a straight 2Gb, still the same problem.
No matter what I do, I can't seem to activate the Page File system."Unless I let the system do it and then it's back on the C.
I want to set it apart on another Drive but for some reason it won't let me.
Am I doing anything wrong here, or is it that once you reach a certain amount of Ram, the page file goes off?.
I've never had this problem before and am not sure if I should just leave well enough alone, "Not like me at all" or perhaps try and track down the problem, if indeed one exists.
Any help or thoughts would be most appreciated on this.
Thank you in advance

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by cmiller5400 In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

You should have a page file on your system. Actually improves performance I found. Make sure you are current on all windows updates etc. After you choose the drive and size, are you clicking set? It should prompt you to reboot because it can not remove the pagefile on the boot drive until startup.

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by B_Pope In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

cm5400 is correct if your not selecting the "set" button.

I would leave the pagefile on C anyway & set it to 700MB or in that area, both min/max values set the same.
But realize XP will create additional pagefiles if required & there's nothing you can do to stop this,
it's by design with XP. So be sure what size pagefile you really need by monitoring your pagefile size during usage & set it a couple 100MB larger.

You have 2GB of RAM so your need for a pagefile has decreased & unless you place it on it's own partition,
on the F HD & it's the 1st partition your achieving no performance gains anyway.

Also make sure your memory dump is set to small 64kb dump, the only reason MS recommends a pagefile 1.5X RAM is so a complete memory dump can happen.

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by jdclyde In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

there is still an advantage of putting the swap on another partition. Fragmentation.

Everytime the swap has to grow or shrink when it is on your C:, it has to work around the rest of the data that is there.

Keeping it all together on the f: drive will fix that.

I personally also move the temp internet folder to the same area as the swap.

If swap is static, this should work out fine.

Was the "set" your issue?

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by B_Pope In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

The pagefile (swapfile) only becomes fragmented if it grows larger then the current set size. If you have a 700MB min/max pagefile on C & the pagefile never excedes that size it'll never become fragmented, the 700MB (or whatever size you choose) is permanently alocated space on the hardrive that never moves. As I mentioned XP will create additional pagefiles if needed, at which point you will have a fragmented pagefile (2 fragments or more), depending on how many times XP needed to create additional pagefiles during your current session.

Within admin tools + Local Security Policy + Security Options, is a clear virtual memory pagefile when shutdown feature that's enabled by default. This means each time your system restarts the pagefile starts clean & empty, the only time fragmentation is an issue is when additional pagefiles have been created because additional pagefiles wont be contiguous. At which point you'll need 3rd party software like Diskeeper to put the two of more pagefiles back together into a contiguous state.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

With every case that I've ever run into with Physically setting the Page File I have always found that the person in question forgets to click on the Set option before rebooting the computer or closing down the current Window.

MS claims that the Page File should be a minimum of 1.5 times the physical memory yo 2 or more times the available Physical Memory the more that you have the smaller it can be. The only reason that I can think of that the Page File is being disabled in this case is that it is being allocated to a partition without enough free space in which case it should spit up an error message telling you there is insufficient space.

I currently run any computer with a set Page File from 1.5 to 2.5 times the available RAM set to one Partition of a HDD or a HDD and so far have never run into Fragmentation problems but by the same token if it is left to its own devices and the unit is controlling the Page File Size you will have severe Fragmentation problems on the HDD that the Page File is on as it will cause data to be spread out around the current Page File as it alters in both size and disk allocation placing so from that prospective you could be taking a Performance Hit.

But I've so far never had any problems moving the Page File off the C Drive/Partition and setting its size other than on the rare occasion when I've seen someone attempt to move it to a place without sufficient space for it to run.

So I would check that you are not overlooking the size issue and mistaking GIG for MEG and making the size bigger than the available space.


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just to add a few notes to what is already here.

The pagefile should always always always be on the same physical drive that the OS is installed on. If you have C, and F is just another partition on the same physical drive, either one should be fine. If F is a seperate physical drive, keep the pagefile on C. if fragmentation is an issue, sysinternals make a great tool(pagedefrag) that will defrag your pagefile and registry hives during the bootup process.

Also, depending on how much strain you're putting on the system, you may not have a need for a pagefile. But that is all up to your requirements.

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by cmiller5400 In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

A Question for allthegoodnamesweregone; Why are you so against having the page file on a seperate disk? Is there a performance issue that I do not know about, or is it just personal preference? I would think it would make a small difference if you were accessing data on the c: drive and it was swapping out to page file on the say f: drive another physical disk that there would be a performance gain because the c: drive would not be flooded with reads and writes. Just wondering what your reasons are. Thanks!

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while it does depend on the specific setup on each system, the way i've seen most people configure a system with multiple physical disks is:

Disk 1: System drive
Disk 2: User data/programs

In a case like this, the data drive will be written/read more often, giving it more of a chance to be the bottleneck if it has the pagefile also.

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by jdclyde In reply to To Page or Not to Page... ...

allthegoodnamesweregone, you wrote :
"In a case like this, the data drive will be written/read more often, giving it more of a chance to be the bottleneck if it has the pagefile also."
That would be the case if there were only two drives. In this case he has a third drive just for the swap. No fragmentation of data because there isn't data there. Faster access because you can read two drives faster than you can one.

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by jdclyde In reply to

Or better yet sgt, SCSI RAID!

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