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Last post Author Topic: how to reduce pagefile usage?  (Read 33554 times)

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2007, 03:38:50 PM »
Thanks steeladept - you've more or less confirmed what I was thinking. I think I'm just "jonesing" for a new computer and see more RAM as a cheap fix until I can afford a new one. However, I don't think it's going to make a huge difference other than the dent in my bank account! Still, I'll try monitoring my resources for bottlenecks and see if there is any justification.
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mouser

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2007, 04:52:52 PM »
you may not experience a major change once inside of a program, but i suspect you will find your computer noticably "snappier" in switching between programs that are running and starting up new programs, etc.

Grorgy

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2007, 05:26:22 PM »
For what its worth Darwin, my laptop only has 1 memory slot, so i get the 256 on the mother board and whatever i can afford in the other, (up to 1 gb) i did have 256k in there for a total of 512 and the system had become remarkably unstable, BSODs regularly, so i upped it to a 512 (an extra 256k) and its stabilised a lot, its a bit faster to boot, (it is noticeable, without using timers or anything) and only very occasional BSODs. The difference in regular usage is less noticeable (the processor is a celeron M 1.5g) Notebook memory is a lot more expensive than its desk counterpart to, well it is here in Australia, but $150 has probably meant it will last another 2 or 3 yrs

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2007, 05:57:13 PM »
I don't know... I WANT the RAM!! (Guess that means I do know!). I'll just have to see what I can turn up on-line. The Gateway price seems competitive - even good compared to the Canadian resellers I've looked at (found 1GB sticks for $132 Cdn. but shipping was going to be $23!) BUT if it's shipping from the States I'm going to get spanked at the border by customs.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cmpm

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2007, 06:16:54 PM »
hmmmm....what if after 'no paging file' reboot into safe mode-defrag-reboot-then set your paging file.

And I know ms defrag is surely not the best defragger.

Wonder if defrag will run in safe mode, should I reckon...

steeladept

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2007, 08:53:48 PM »
So what type of memory does it use anyway?  Did you ever figure that out?

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #31 on: June 05, 2007, 10:31:26 PM »
Yeah - it IS DDR 266/PC2100 memory. I'm not going to bother with the upgrade. Gateway's literature and online upgrade checker both say that it maxes out at 1GB while a Gateway tech that I chatted with says 2GB and various on-line resellers say everything from 1GB to 3GB. I"m not risking it - my computer is running fine and I don't see any reason to risk wasting my money on non-returnable but incompatible RAM.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Grorgy

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #32 on: June 05, 2007, 11:13:59 PM »
my tip is save the cash, then buy some software that really needs heaps of memory, processor and all the goodies, and then treat yourself to a new state of the art laptop  :)  ;D ;D

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2007, 11:46:40 PM »
Good answer, Grorgy, good answer. I like the way you think  :-*
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Armando

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2007, 12:51:25 AM »
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?

if your RAM usage is often near the max and your HD is always busy swapping stuff (when switching or restoring minimized windows...), and you know there are no applications (anti virus, desktop search...) uselessly eating resources (see task manager), then I'd say more RAM would probably improve your computer's performance... Might not be very scientific, but unless you're after maximum performance for very specific reasons, I find that this simple diagnostic should be enough to discover if you "need" more RAM or not.

[edit : sorry : late answer ! My post got delayed for some weird reasons...]
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 12:55:42 AM by Armando »

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2007, 09:58:48 AM »
Quote
[edit : sorry : late answer ! My post got delayed for some weird reasons...]

No worries - thanks for the input! I've managed to get my system streamlined enough that even with some heavier apps (Outlook, Maxthon, Word and Scansoft's PDF Converter 4 Professional) open simultaneously, I've got close to 40% RAM "on reserve" and my hard drive is quite :-[ quiet. So, the seat of the pants test suggests that things are fine as they are!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 01:34:16 PM by Darwin »

f0dder

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2007, 04:46:26 AM »
"PF Usage" in Task Manager is not how much space is used for your paging file on disk. Get sysinternals' Process Explorer, it has better names of the various stats, and it shows more than taskmgr.

Don't take "XP myths" as the holy grail - I think we already had a topic about this a while ago. I don't really want to revisit that, but "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".

Pagefile on a separate partition on the same physical disk doesn't really do anything for performance, neither in a positive or negative direction. There's two reasons it could be advantagous, though. Number one is fragmentation, but that's solved by choosing a sensible minimum-size for the pf, as well as defragmenting. Number two is reducing the risk of filesystem corruption if your computer crashes while there's pagefile activity, but that's not very likely to happen, and NTFS reduces the risk of corruption dramatically.

On my own box, I run without a paging file - Windows utilizes it a bit too much even when not necessary, and with 2 gigs of ram I'd rather not have that additional disk access, even if I do sometimes have to enable it temporarily for some special-case pograms. On other systems, even multi-disk systems, I keep the pagefile on the system partition... if the pagefile becomes a bottleneck, you need additional memory, and moving the pf to a separate physical disk just isn't a solution.

Minimal pf size really depends on what you're doing, and all the magical formulas for calculating it are just that - magic. If you're only ever occasionally running a bit short of memory, you don't need a two-gig pagefile just because you have one gig of memory - it's not like windows flushes your entire memory to disk to make room for new apps, it pages out individual ranges of memory that haven't been used for a while. That said, with the large disk drives of today, I tend to set pagefiles to 1gig min with no fixed upper size - that way, you won't have fragmentation for typical use, and if things go apeshit, windows can extend the pagefile.

Darwin: I'd remove the pagefile on your "documents" partition. While NTFS is pretty safe etc., and even if you're doing daily backups etc., a "documents" partition really should have as little activity as possible, just to be para^H^H^H^Hsafe.

By the way, a thing that makes a difference on "lower-memory" machines: the DisablePagingExecutive system setting. This prevent windows from paging out the kernel and drivers. Back when I had 512meg, I had noticably faster "system recovery" after exiting memory-hungry things like games.
- carpe noctem
« Last Edit: June 07, 2007, 05:34:52 AM by f0dder »

tomos

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2007, 05:32:55 AM »
By the way, a thing that makes a difference on "lower-memory" machines: the DisablePagingExecutive system setting. This prevent windows from paging out the kernel and drivers. Back when I had 512meg, I had noticably faster "system recovery" after exiting memory-hungry things like games.

hey f0dder there's no address in that there link  :)
Tom

f0dder

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2007, 05:35:15 AM »
Heh, forgot I made it an URL - fixed now. Yeah, it's just a google link, read and make up your own mind - I just know it worked (minor) wonders for me.
- carpe noctem

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2007, 07:25:13 AM »
Thanks fodder - that's exactly what I've done (removed PF from Documents partition on both my wife's and my own notebooks) and set a 1.5x RAM fixed PF on the root directory. I did that a couple of days ago and all is well.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cmpm

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2007, 08:10:42 AM »
I watched a conversation in ms groups for a while on paging file usage and best results. It's really in what you run and need as far as programs.

Some say set the min and max to the same so that ms doesn't have to search for it and resize it when needed, others say 1.5 of memory with min and max, others say make it big but fixed if you are running big mem hogs.

It's a matter of personal pref I guess.

Here's another google on it in ms groups mostly....

http://groups.google...t_s=1&q=pagefile

Armando

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2007, 01:23:07 PM »
if your RAM usage is often near the max...

Of course, I was not talking about PF Usage here.

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2007, 01:28:13 PM »
if your RAM usage is often near the max...

Of course, I was not talking about PF Usage here.

Yup - understood!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

skywalka

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2007, 10:12:06 AM »
Windows defaults a pagefiles size to 1.5 times that of the memory because the pagefile is used as the memory dump if something crashes.  Personally this waste of disk space & activity serves no purpose.

If you have large amounts of RAM you don't want Windows to be swapping memory to disk.

So unless you are using a program that is dependent by design to use the swapfile won't your PC run smoother without?  I can find no reason to have one?  Or have I missed something?

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2007, 10:46:51 AM »
Well... as I understand it, there are some apps, such as Adobe Photoshop, that insist of swapping data to file, so if you're running anything that requires it, not running a PagingFile will be a liability. Having said that, there are enough people claiming that not running a PagingFile speeds up their systems and doesn't have any ill effect that maybe this is not an issue. For myself, having a single physical drive to play with on a notebook, I have setup a fixed size PF at 1.5 times my RAM and all is well (so upper and lower limits are set to the same value). This is the best set up I've tried yet - in the past, I've tried setting a harddrive partition aside and putting the PF there, but PF usage and disk activity were elevated.

So... I can report that two months on from setting things up this way, my system is very stable, RAM usage is low and PF and CPU utilization under control!  :D :Thmbsup:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tomos

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #45 on: August 12, 2007, 12:18:10 PM »
- in the past, I've tried setting a harddrive partition aside and putting the PF there, but PF usage and disk activity were elevated.

was that partition on the same drive? (I'm wondering whether to try putting paging file on a different drive)


Quote
Well... as I understand it, there are some apps, such as Adobe Photoshop, that insist of swapping data to file, so if you're running anything that requires it, not running a PagingFile will be a liability.
re photoshop,
I think it uses it's own "paging file" -
from the Photoshop 5.5 help:-
When your system does not have enough RAM to perform an operation, Adobe Photoshop uses a proprietary virtual memory technology, also called the scratch disks. Virtual memory is disk space used for storing data during a work session when the amount of RAM is insufficient. (This scratch disk space is not a Windows swap file [swap file = paging file?] or Mac OS virtual memory, but is used only when working in Photoshop.)
...
The amount of free space on the scratch disk must be greater than or equal to the amount of RAM you have allocated to Photoshop. To ensure good performance, Photoshop writes the entire RAM contents to the scratch disks during idle times. If the scratch disks run out of free space, Photoshop quits taking additional RAM—regardless of what you have allocated to the program. This means that if you’ve allocated 60 MB to Photoshop [1999 standards :) ] but you have only 10 MB of free space on your scratch disk, Photoshop will use only 10 MB of RAM.
which you can allocate yourself -
I'm given an option of allocating 4 different scratch disks, not sure why four...
as far as I know if you dont allocate it, it's taken automatically from C drive (mind you mine says "startup"  :-\ )
Tom

tomos

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #46 on: August 12, 2007, 12:44:01 PM »
following cmpm's google link above
I got a few recommendations -
One was if you have say 2GB memory & two drives, to have a paging file of that size on each drive.

Then from: http://aumha.org/win5/a/xpvm.htm
Should the file be left on Drive C:?

The slowest aspect of getting at a file on a hard disk is in head movement (‘seeking’). If you have only one physical drive then the file is best left where the heads are most likely to be, so where most activity is going on — on drive C:. If you have a second physical drive, it is in principle better to put the file there, because it is then less likely that the heads will have moved away from it. If, though, you have a modern large size of RAM, actual traffic on the file is likely to be low, even if programs are rolled out to it, inactive, so the point becomes an academic one. If you do put the file elsewhere, you should leave a small amount on C: — an initial size of 2MB with a Maximum of 50 is suitable — so it can be used in emergency. Without this, the system is inclined to ignore the settings and either have no page file at all (and complain) or make a very large one indeed on C:

In relocating the page file, it must be on a ‘basic’ drive. Windows XP appears not to be willing to accept page files on ‘dynamic’ drives.

NOTE: If you are debugging crashes and wish the error reporting to make a kernel or full dump, then you will need an initial size set on C: of either 200 MB (for a kernel dump) or the size of RAM (for a full memory dump). If you are not doing so, it is best to make the setting to no more than a ‘Small Dump’, at Control Panel | System | Advanced, click Settings in the ‘Startup and Recovery’ section, and select in the ‘Write Debug information to’ panel
and for Skywalka
Can the Virtual Memory be turned off on a really large machine?

Strictly speaking Virtual Memory is always in operation and cannot be “turned off.” What is meant by such wording is “set the system to use no page file space at all.”

Doing this would waste a lot of the RAM. The reason is that when programs ask for an allocation of Virtual memory space, they may ask for a great deal more than they ever actually bring into use — the total may easily run to hundreds of megabytes. These addresses have to be assigned to somewhere by the system. If there is a page file available, the system can assign them to it — if there is not, they have to be assigned to RAM, locking it out from any actual use.
and
How big should the page file be?

There is a great deal of myth surrounding this question. Two big fallacies are:

    * The file should be a fixed size so that it does not get fragmented, with minimum and maximum set the same
    * The file should be 2.5 times the size of RAM (or some other multiple)

Windows will expand a file that starts out too small and may shrink it again if it is larger than necessary, so it pays to set the initial size as large enough to handle the normal needs of your system to avoid constant changes of size. This will give all the benefits claimed for a ‘fixed’ page file. But no restriction should be placed on its further growth. As well as providing for contingencies, like unexpectedly opening a very large file, in XP this potential file space can be used as a place to assign those virtual memory pages that programs have asked for, but never brought into use. Until they get used — probably never — the file need not come into being. There is no downside in having potential space available.

For any given workload, the total need for virtual addresses will not depend on the size of RAM alone. It will be met by the sum of RAM and the page file. Therefore in a machine with small RAM, the extra amount represented by page file will need to be larger — not smaller — than that needed in a machine with big RAM. Unfortunately the default settings for system management of the file have not caught up with this: it will assign an initial amount that may be quite excessive for a large machine, while at the same leaving too little for contingencies on a small one.

How big a file will turn out to be needed depends very much on your work-load. Simple word processing and e-mail may need very little — large graphics and movie making may need a great deal. For a general workload, with only small dumps provided for (see note to ‘Should the file be left on Drive C:?’ above), it is suggested that a sensible start point for the initial size would be the greater of (a) 100 MB or (b) enough to bring RAM plus file to about 500 MB. EXAMPLE: Set the Initial page file size to 400 MB on a computer with 128 MB RAM; 250 on a 256 MB computer; or 100 MB for larger sizes.

But have a high Maximum size — 700 or 800 MB or even more if there is plenty of disk space. Having this high will do no harm. Then if you find the actual pagefile.sys gets larger (as seen in Explorer), adjust the initial size up accordingly. Such a need for more than a minimal initial page file is the best indicator of benefit from adding RAM: if an initial size set, for a trial, at 50MB never grows, then more RAM will do nothing for the machine's performance.
maybe I'm quoting too much ... worth going there for a read at any rate..
Tom

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #47 on: August 12, 2007, 01:00:37 PM »
Hi Tom -

I have one physical drive that I had partitioned in three about two and a half years ago. Initially I had a big partition for My Documents and user settings (like Outlook and IE), a small (@2GB) partition for my Paging File, and a medium sized partition for Windows and Programs.

I've since gotten rid of the small paging file partition altogether and have placed my paging file on the windows/programs partition. It's set to 1.5 times my RAM (so 1536MB) and is fixed in size. I don't have a paging file at all on the My Documents partition. The setup works well and is more stable than the previous one.

Caveat here: IF you try the small partition for paging file setup (assuming you've a single physical drive) MAKE SURE that it's assigned to a letter higher up the chain than any other partition as it will royally screw up programmes and settings if you decide to get rid of it later! This is because, say, you've put your My Documents folder onto partition F and your PF on E (this a lone example, from many, of what happened to me). Great! However, when you remove the PF from E and absorb partition E back into C or F, F is automatically re-labelled E and all of your links are broken. I used Partition Manager to do this and it offered, and I accepted, to fix all of the links. However, it didn't find all of them and this is where the problem came in. Hope that's clear - it took me months to fix everything  >:(
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

tomos

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2007, 04:17:24 PM »
Hi Tom -

I have one physical drive that I had partitioned in three about two and a half years ago. Initially I had a big partition for My Documents and user settings (like Outlook and IE), a small (@2GB) partition for my Paging File, and a medium sized partition for Windows and Programs.

I've since gotten rid of the small paging file partition altogether and have placed my paging file on the windows/programs partition. It's set to 1.5 times my RAM (so 1536MB) and is fixed in size. I don't have a paging file at all on the My Documents partition. The setup works well and is more stable than the previous one.

Thanks Mike!
no, I was thinking of trying it on new computer with two drives.. I'll see,
it almost sounds like if you have enough memory it's not that important so I might be as well to follow your (current) example seeing as it's working well for you
Tom

Darwin

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Re: how to reduce pagefile usage?
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2007, 05:54:01 PM »
Quote
I was thinking of trying it on new computer with two drives..

The received wisdom is that if you've two physical drives, set your PF on a partition on the non-OS containing drive... Apparently, that's the way forward!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin