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Last post Author Topic: how to reduce pagefile usage?  (Read 33559 times)

urlwolf

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how to reduce pagefile usage?
« on: June 04, 2007, 01:02:03 PM »
Is there a way to to reduce pagefile usage?
Lately, with only a few apps running (I have 1 gig of ram) I hit the limits and see a general slowdown.

I spend quite a lot of time checking the process manager :(

Right now, I'm not running that many apps, and I'm about 1 Gb of PF usage (third tab in process manager).

Any idea why?

mouser

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 01:07:01 PM »
if you have 1gb of ram, can i suggest that buying yourself another 1-3gb will be an incredibly cheap and easy way to dramatically increase your pc's performance.

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2007, 03:26:54 PM »
urlwolf - I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I'm on an older Centrino notebook, and it's *apparently* only able to accept 1GB of slow RAM (PC2100). I've got it maxed out and would love to be able to reduce pagefile usage without having to risk $400 or so on RAM that may or may not be recognised and utilised by my system!
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steeladept

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2007, 03:42:59 PM »
I honestly don't know if this will help or not, but have you ever tried a pagefile defrag program?  It might order what you have now in a way to increase your speed, and maybe free up a bit of the pagefile space.  Also, if I remember right, the pagefile in windows2000/XP is managed dynamically, but the older systems had to be set manually.  If you are using and older windows OS, perhaps you just need to manually increase the size?  Just my thoughts.

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2007, 03:47:51 PM »
Hi steeladept - thank you for your reply and the tip. I can confirm that XP is handling my pf dynamically as when I wrote my first note here I was having PhotoCollector generate thumbnails and the pf was sitting at 1.22GB. Once I shut PC down, PF dropped to 700MB. I have licences for both Diskeeper and PerfectDisk and will explore defragging the PF.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nosh

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2007, 04:01:36 PM »
Assuming you're running XP:

System Properties --> Advanced --> Performance settings --> Advanced --> Change virtual memory

If I were in your place I would consider monitoring the memory usage with something like Process Explorer. I have a gig of RAM and have 10-20 apps running (with realtime virus scan enabled) at any given time and my RAM usage is generally at around 50%. You should not be facing this problem unless you have a really memory hungry/buggy app going gaga!  :)

mouser

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2007, 05:15:22 PM »
good advice from nosh; keep in mind though that certain apps will eat memory like mad as part of their normal operation (photoshop, audio editors).  firefox and ie can also occasionally end up grabbing very large chunks of memory.

justice

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2007, 05:31:34 PM »
There are many tweaks on pagefile usage, however the people in the know agree that Windows does the best job if you just let the system manage it. It is actually swapping out dlls that it can still load in when needed but making room for your apps. Limiting the pagefile, fixing its size etc will just limit your performance not increase it. Running less apps, minimizing windows (so their memory will be written to pagefile) or buying more RAM / quicker Harddisk are really the only significant ways to improve performance.

A great site about performance myths on XP is Xp Myths. IT deals with  Clearing the Paging File, Disable the Paging File, Moving the Paging File and Paging File RAMdisk.

xpmyths.pnghow to reduce pagefile usage?

kimmchii

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2007, 11:30:24 PM »
i have only 1gb of ram, after i turn the pagefile off i find the computer more responsive.
If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.
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Lashiec

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2007, 06:19:25 AM »
Like f0dder like to mention, any unused memory is wasted memory.

If you're still in Spain, in shops like PC Box they're selling 1 GB DDR2 667 modules for a bit more than 30 €. Of course, if your mainboard doesn't accept it, you're out of luck :)

i have only 1gb of ram, after i turn the pagefile off i find the computer more responsive.

If he's hitting the limit, I bet that if he does this, he'll be seeing a lot of BSODs

tomos

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2007, 09:27:31 AM »
was looking up about defragging & came across this:

The built in defragger won't defrag system files either whereas PerfectDisc and DiskKeeper do. One of the significant ways to slow down your system is to have a fragmented PageFil.SYS - which on default Windows systems is guaranteed as by default windows resizes the file dynamically all the time. Using a fixed sized PageFil.SYS and a defragger like PerfectDisc means your paging file will be in a fixed, permanent location and guaranteed to not get fragmented again.

If you don't want to defrag you can acheive the same result by making a separate empty partition (preferably on a different physical drive) just for your page file and moving it there.

dunno would that help any ?
Tom

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2007, 09:40:33 AM »
Yes - thanks tomos! I defragged my pagefile.sys file and all is well. Using PerfectDisk, this is done on reboot, before windows loads. In the past I've had the pagefile set to a fixed size on a different partition on my notebook harddrive but didn't notice any difference and went back to default (and deleted the partition). WinXP myths, as linked to above by justice seems to suggest that setting the pagefile to its own partition on the same physical drive is a no-no anyway (as Carol implied when she stated "preferably on a differnet physical drive"). 

Anyway, all is well now - except I'd still like more stinking RAM (but see my earlier post)!
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justice

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2007, 09:49:08 AM »
Windows XP myths, as linked to above by justice seems to suggest that setting the pagefile to its own partition on the same physical drive is a no-no anyway
Well in a way but it doesn't really say that. It says that the preferred situation is to set the pagefile to a different physical drive. If you have multiple partitions on the same drive, moving the page file off the first partition will just move it further away from the fastest part of your harddrive (the beginning).

BTW, in vista the dialog has changed a little, it seems the OS is aware of multiple physical disks and can manage this effectively on its own (or not, whether or not grayed out options reflect the managed status or the disabled user options):
virtualmem.png

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2007, 10:17:49 AM »
Quote
Well in a way but it doesn't really say that. It says that the preferred situation is to set the pagefile to a different physical drive. If you have multiple partitions on the same drive, moving the page file off the first partition will just move it further away from the fastest part of your harddrive (the beginning).

Yes, you're right. It doesn't really even caution against doing this but does imply that you're going to be thrashing your harddrive a lot more and slowing access times down to boot:

Quote
Simply using a different partition on the same drive will result in lots more head-seeking activity, as the drive jumps between the Windows and paging file partitions. Even though moving the paging file in this case can have the positive effect of defragmenting it, the loss in I/O performance out weighs any gains.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Carol Haynes

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2007, 10:47:13 AM »
Yes - thanks tomos! I defragged my pagefile.sys file and all is well. Using PerfectDisk, this is done on reboot, before windows loads. In the past I've had the pagefile set to a fixed size on a different partition on my notebook harddrive but didn't notice any difference and went back to default (and deleted the partition). WinXP myths, as linked to above by justice seems to suggest that setting the pagefile to its own partition on the same physical drive is a no-no anyway (as Carol implied when she stated "preferably on a differnet physical drive").

That's correct - if you put PAGEFILE on a partition on the same physical hard disc it will actually make your system slower. The best solution is to place PAGEFILE on a separate hard disc altogether - preferably in the first (and therefore fastest) partition - preferably a primary partition (as opposed to a logical partition which can take longer to access).

Set the minumum and maximum pagefile sizes to be 1.5 x memory (upto about 2Gb of memory - after that set it to memory size) and you will avoid the file becoming fragmented with use.

Use a pagefile defragger (I seem to recall SysInternals have a free one) to defragment it - but you should only need to do this once if you are not changing its size.

If you haven't got two physical hard discs then place PageFile.sys on you Windows system partition following the same size and defrag. notes above.

cmpm

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2007, 11:13:26 AM »
If you really want to defrag your pagefile, set it to no paging file, reboot then set your paging file to system manged or whatever your preferences are. Reboot. You then have a fresh paging file system.

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2007, 12:16:00 PM »
ha ha - thanks cmpm! Nice idea and just as easy as using a professional level defragger as in either case you're looking at a reboot anyway.

Carol, it's been a long time since I messed around with my paging file and I note that at the moment I have a fixed 50 MB (not a typo) custom sized paging file on my Windows and programs partition and a set 2048 MB (this is double my RAM - not sure why I did that) paging file on my documents partition, which is on the same physical drive. I'm off to create a 1536MB paging file on my Windows partition and to remove the paging file on the Documents partition.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

urlwolf

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2007, 12:28:05 PM »
Thanks to all who contributed.
I ended up buying 1gb ddr 333 ram for an outrageous 76 euro (!).
This is probably more than what I paid for my installed 1gb when I bought it in the US 1.5 years ago.

You gotta love EU prices.

Lashiec: I cannot install DDR2 on my dell 600m. It's not that cheap, though, I asked and it's 50 euro.

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2007, 12:36:16 PM »
urlwolf - ddr 333 RAM is what I have to run in my notebook - is your Dell a notebook, too? Did you pay 76 euros for a gig stick or two 512's? Enquring minds want to know...

 :-[ ddr 266... RAM.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 12:52:34 PM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2007, 01:04:47 PM »
I'm chatting with Gateway now - apparently I CAN install 2GB RAM. Biting nails, drumming fingers on desk, sweating profusely, I'd be chain smoking if I smoked. Should I, or shouldn't I? OK, moot point - everyone knows that I will!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2007, 01:22:34 PM »
OK... I won't, at least not now. Gateway wants $195.99 USD + $5.50 S+H while Canadian sites are asking upwards of $133 a stick plus $23 S+H... I *think* that the Gateway quote is for 2GB of RAM as other US retailers on-line are quoting about $95 for a 1GB stick. As I'm going to be leaving for Belgium in two weeks, I don't want to be worrying about shipments from the States not arriving (also not too interested in courting Canada's bizarre, random, and draconian customs and revenue agency...). Thus, I'll do a little more research and continue to ask myself if I am likely to notice a difference or not and if I should be considering spending that kind of money on a four year old machine...  :feedback:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

steeladept

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2007, 01:33:31 PM »
Feedback?  Don't buy Gateway.  They markup a lot. Find the type of memory you need (PC-3200 for example) and do a search from memory manufacturers.  Alternatively, look at sites like newegg where you can search by type and get a cheaper alternative.  I find most memory can be found relatively easily if you know the type you need, and unless you need some proprietary form factor or specific latency settings, it is pretty much a commodity item.

Carol Haynes

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2007, 01:39:53 PM »
Check out Crucial for memory - reasonable prices, 100% compatibility guarantee if you use their system selector system and lifetime no quibble warranty.

If you really want to defrag your pagefile, set it to no paging file, reboot then set your paging file to system manged or whatever your preferences are. Reboot. You then have a fresh paging file system.

Doesn't work I'm afraid - if your system files and MFT are fragmented on the disk you will almost certainly get a fragmented page file. You need to do a boot time defrag to tidy those up, in which case you may as well let it defrag your page file.

Carol, it's been a long time since I messed around with my paging file and I note that at the moment I have a fixed 50 MB (not a typo) custom sized paging file on my Windows and programs partition and a set 2048 MB (this is double my RAM - not sure why I did that) paging file on my documents partition, which is on the same physical drive. I'm off to create a 1536MB paging file on my Windows partition and to remove the paging file on the Documents partition.

1.5 x memory is the MS recommended setting - but they point out that it is less efficient (and less necessary) when you go above 2Gb of physical memory.

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2007, 02:27:08 PM »
Thanks. I didn't jump at the Gateway offer because I am convinced that I can do better elsewhere (and have never bought from the notebook supplier before for the same reason). However, their price *appears* to be competitive at the moment. Still, I am more inclined to try to find a Canadian supplier as I don't want to deal with currency exchanges and duties at the border. Now, what I really wanted feedback on is whether or not this is a sensible upgrade on a four year old machine? Am I likely to see a huge difference?

I am running XP Pro Sp-2, Office 2003 (including Access) and also run things like ESRI Arc-GIS 9.1. Is a bump from 1GB of RAM to 2GB REALLY going to energise my computer in a noticeable way?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

steeladept

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2007, 03:24:44 PM »
Hmmm...For the Office apps, probably not unless they are running truly massive applications for the products (e.g. Full encyclopedias in Word, a very large database, or Excel running tons of macros and/or calculations).  The GIS systems I have no experience with, so I don't know how valuable they would find the extra memory.

Your best bet would likely be to download some sort of performance monitor and see where the system bottlenecks are.  I have used Perfmon from Systernals in the past.  It is not the most user friendly, but it does get the job done.  There is another I used, but I can't remember the name.  It was more pictorial, so it was more meaningful to me.  If you search the net a bit, you get hundreds of hits, but I still can't find it...