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Windows 7: Can Windows boot up and recover if Pagefile.sys is missing ?

12 Oct 2011   #1
alan10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64
 
 
Can Windows boot up and recover if Pagefile.sys is missing ?

I understand that Windows is better if Pagefile.sys is held on a separate Drive.
I intend to implement this on my desktop which has C:\ on a Primary MBR HDD,
and an available internal Secondary GPT BASIC HDD.

What happens if the Secondary HDD is damaged or missing when Windows attempts to Boot Up ?
Does it happily run and create a new Pagefile.sys on Drive C:\ when all RAM is used,
or does it BSOD repeatedly ?

This is extremely relevant if the secondary data HDD should go missing

I have an immediate interest because I use Macrium to make image backups,
and it is a waste of time backing up Pagefile.sys because yesterday's data is useless.
However if Macrium gives me a VHD conversion from its backup,
I can plug that into VirtualBox as a Virtual HDD and then compare operation with last month's virtual system with today's Live system.
I now need to know if the Pagefile.sys partition needs to be included in the image backup as part of the VHD for Virtual use.

Regards
Alan


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
12 Oct 2011   #2
logicearth

Windows 10 Pro (x64)
 
 

The pagefile is recreated if its missing. If the drive is not present then it is ignored entirely.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #3
alan10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64
 
 

Thank you.
Implementing system change now

Regards
Alan
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Oct 2011   #4
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Where are you getting the idea Windows is "better" with the pagefile on another hard drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #5
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
Where are you getting the idea Windows is "better" with the pagefile on another hard drive?
That was an old performance "tweak" that applied way back in XP and pre-XP days. You'd put your pagefile on a separate physical disk as your OS. It hasn't been relevant in years, though, since it doesn't yield any difference anymore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #6
alan10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
Where are you getting the idea Windows is "better" with the pagefile on another hard drive?
1.
Second hand theory from the Internet.
If software residing in primary HDD chooses to use the pagefile residing in Secondary HDD,
the Primary HDD does not have to seek the track for the Pagefile,
and then have to seek the track for the next bit of code it should execute,
instead the Secondary HDD will seek for the pagefile once and possible stay in situ ready for the next Pagefile transfer.
Sometimes I click and nothing happens for a few seconds.
I am guessing that 4 GB is barely sufficient for Windows 7 Ultimate x64 plus all the applications,
and improving Pagefile access may sweeten life till Christmas when I hope for more RAM.

2.
First hand Practical Experience.
An unannounced lying Windows Security Patch put a time bomb on my new system before I mastered the navigation to put updates under my control (I was then only familiar with XP)
Windows survived the planting of a time bomb and I thought all was well.
I edited some user documents and added and re-positioned many useful shortcuts to a partition with many valuable portable applications.
At the end of the day I shut down.
Next morning I powered up and the time bomb detonated.
The system was useless and every reboot was a repeated disaster.

I put in the Macrium Rescue Boot CD and BEFORE restoring my system I used that to create a backup image of the disaster,
after which I successfully restored the image made immediately before that unannounced lying Windows Security Patch.
After achieving pre-disaster normality I used Macrium to mount the post-disaster image,
and using BestSync to compare real normality with mounted disaster I instantly restored all my edited documents and desktop shortcuts.
Then I made another backup.

After a cooling off time-out I reviewed what happened.
Amongst my findings were that the Rescue Boot CD created a significantly larger image backup the the backups made under Live Windows.
I mounted the backups and found no significant difference between the contents,
until I took a hex editor to Pagefile.sys and Hiberfil.sys.
Under Live Windows Macrium uses the default VSS when available,
and that refrains from snapshots of those two *.sys so the backup holds null content place-holders of the correct size.
When VSS is broken (not uncommon)
or under the Boot WinPE environment of the Macrium Rescue,
a different system is applied that captures every sector that is in use,
including these two *.sys files.

These two files are an inefficient waste of user time and image archive space when VSS is not available,
and I suspect Macrium is not the only product that uses VSS when available and is adversely impacted when not available.

On top of which I decided that 25 GB should be enough for C:\,
and I found I was using 16 GB with 9 GB of free space.
9 GB in use and 16 GB free space feels much better with those two *.sys out of the way.

Incidentally one day I was about to shutdown but noticed Explorer had a great big RED bar showing a corrupt unusable partition.
I found it was my C:\ that was down to 200 MB of free space.
I feared that might be inadequate for a reboot the following day,
so I used TreeSize to locate the intruder and found and deleted jumbo files in %TEMP%
It turned out that when I did a copy/paste from a VMWare virtual partition to one of my secondary drive partitions, VMWare choose to make the transfer via my %TEMP% folder.
I am now using Oracle VirtualBox.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #7
alan10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FliGi7 View Post
Where are you getting the idea Windows is "better" with the pagefile on another hard drive?
That was an old performance "tweak" that applied way back in XP and pre-XP days. You'd put your pagefile on a separate physical disk as your OS. It hasn't been relevant in years, though, since it doesn't yield any difference anymore.
Is there no difference now because windows hold the Pagefile in a RAM cache

What has changed since XP (which I was using until a few months ago).

Regards
Alan
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #8
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

That all sounds theoretical and measurable only by benchmark utilities. Unless you have a rather old machine with very little memory or are using an SSD as the OS drive, I wouldn't go through all of this hassle to move the pagefile for a theoretical gain.

4GB is more than plenty for Win 7. Your issue with clicking and nothing happening more than likely has nothing to do with the pagefile and more to do with waiting on a busy or rogue process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #9
DeaconFrost

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alan10 View Post
What has changed since XP (which I was using until a few months ago).
XP hasn't been the primary OS in 5-6 years, and is well over a decade old. Computer hardware is what has changed drastically. The pagefile is still store on a disk, but HDDs are worlds faster than they were when this tweak was applicable. It wasn't necessary, even before SDDs become so common. In addition to all of this, Windows 7 does a much better job of using the memory in a system, continuing on with the trend that Vista started.

Besides, the best way to tweak Windows 7 has always been...leave it alone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2011   #10
Corazon

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

Might I add that Macrium Reflect, and for that matter any modern backup/imaging software out there, does not back up the pagefile or the hibernation file (if one is present). It's smart enough to ignore these files during backup.

When such a backup is restored, I suspect that either an empty pagefile.sys is recreated on the restored partition or it's simply not there, in which case Windows would recreate it on its own on the next restart anyway.

The only exception of course applies if you're making a full clone image including all sectors.

Point being: moving your pagefile.sys to another drive just to avoid having it backed up with the system is completely unnecessary.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can Windows boot up and recover if Pagefile.sys is missing ?




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