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Windows 7: Win7 on SSD: should I move page file?


03 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Win7 on SSD: should I move page file?

I just did a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit on a SSD (120 GB Intel X-25M), and now I'm juggling with the dilemma of what to do with the page file. There doesn't seem to be a consensus on this issue from my internet research.

Here's the situation as it stands: I have 8GB of RAM, and windows has created a 8GB page file. And here are the options I'm considering
1) Keep everything as is
2) Move the page file to another hdd (a WD caviar black)
3) Keep the page file on the SSD, but shrink it to 1 or 2GB

(Some people simply disabled their page file. I've ruled out this option as overkill)


I'll summarize some of the things I've heard on this topic
a. Page file will will shorten SSD life span
b. counter-argument: maybe, but that is an over-blown concern for modern SSDs
c. If you have enough RAM (8 gigs is certainly that), the page file is useless

Most of my research was from 2009 threads and discussions though. Have things changed? Is there a better understanding of this topic now to render a verdict?

Pending more information, I'm leaning towards shrinking my page file to 2GB (and leave it on the SSD) as a compromise between every concern.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jan 2011   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center 64bit, Windows 7 HP 64bit
 
 

If it was my choice I would move it to the HDD. With 8GB of ram it may not get used very often but if it is ever needed it would be available. On some newer SSD's (OCZ) there is a program called wear leveling. The SSD monitors usage and will move a file if it has not been written in a while to an area that has lots of writes there by trying to level out the write cycles.

Jim
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

What I did when I got my new SSD?
(I also have 8GB RAM)

I moved the page file to an HDD and let Windows manage it.
From what I can see it never gets used; that's based on checking its size manually from time to time- nothing scientific here.
Writes are the biggest problem with SSD longevity as far as I can glean from what I've read on the Internet.

Further: I also moved temp files, browser caches, etc, off the SSD.

Food for thought...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jan 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

How often do you run out of RAM and are forced to the page file?

For the vast majority of people, the answer is never or very rarely--once a week, once a month, once a year, or less.

If you are in the rarely to never category, it wouldn't matter.

If you don't know, you are likely in the rarely to never category.


If you are not in that category, it matters minimally unless you are hitting the page file constantly.

No doubt the "wearing out the SSD" thing is way overblown.

Why would anyone use a piece of hardware that could not sustain thousands of writes and reads to any sector? If you are that fearful, stay with spinning drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

"Fearful" is perhaps an overly-strong word.

The truth is that SSD technology is in its infancy.
Based on everything I've read about SSD's, writes are to be avoided- as it now stands.
I'm sure, in the near future, it will be meaningless.

Based on what I've read on the 'net, the whole point is moot; they are talking about 10's of thousands of writes on a give SSD that will put the lamest SSD's to rest around the year 2020 or something; probably not something to worry about.

However, keeping writes to a minimum is not something to be snubbed, IMHO- at least not for the moment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2011   #6

 
 

I personally don't use a Page File whilst running on my SSD, and haven't done so since switching to 4GB of RAM around 4 years ago. In a day and age where 4GB of RAM and potentially more is considered somewhat "normal" then there really is no great desire to use a Page File in my opinion. Perhaps on older systems with lower amounts of RAM but certainly not anything at 4GB or over.

To answer the question by ignatzatsonic: SSD's are generally fine when it comes to reads, and at the moment is where they perform at best since reads are often carried out more than writes. The SSD read speeds are what the user is experiencing when doing the majority of tasks on the system, anything from OS boot up to application launching is being carried out by a series of read requests, therefore constant reads don't pose much of a problem to the SSD's life. This is one of the main reasons why people use these devices, for boot and overall application performance.

Writes on the SSD are a completely different story altogether when compared to mechanical hard disks. Nobody is saying that SSD's are so delicate that they can't handle a decent amount of large writes, but they have been proven to be subject to degradation with large writes overtime when compared to standard hard disks. The vast majority of SSD's are also available in much smaller capacity's compared to hard disks, so storing Gigabytes worth of data on them isn't exactly ideal for some.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2011   #7

Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

If you're unsure about whether or not you're using the paging file, if you have enough memory for your system and your usage patterns, a fast enough CPU or hard disk, etc - you might want to do this. Microsoft posted this information about SSDs, TRIM, wear and tear, etc. - a good read too. The relevant section from that article specific to this thread:
Quote:
Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs?

Yes. Most pagefile operations are small random reads or larger sequential writes, both of which are types of operations that SSDs handle well.

In looking at telemetry data from thousands of traces and focusing on pagefile reads and writes, we find that
  • Pagefile.sys reads outnumber pagefile.sys writes by about 40 to 1,
  • Pagefile.sys read sizes are typically quite small, with 67% less than or equal to 4 KB, and 88% less than 16 KB.
  • Pagefile.sys writes are relatively large, with 62% greater than or equal to 128 KB and 45% being exactly 1 MB in size.
In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD.
So, in short and to answer the original question of whether or not to move the paging file off of a boot SSD volume, the answer from Microsoft is "no", and they give some pretty good reasons for this answer too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Thanks everyone for your input. Looks like this issue is still somewhat in the "personal preference" category. It won't impact my system too much any option I choose since it looks like my page file will rarely be in active use (due to 8GB of RAM)

Is there a way to determine ~when~ if my page file is being written to / read from though? Any app that collects statistics on page file activity? If there is, I might just collect data over time and adjust my settings according to that data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2011   #9

Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

You could use the paging file counters in perfmon, but it's also just as easy to use process monitor with a filter for file access (read or write) from your paging file (for example, the path C:\pagefile.sys if that is your paging file location).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2011   #10

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by trale View Post
I just did a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit on a SSD (120 GB Intel X-25M), and now I'm juggling with the dilemma of what to do with the page file. There doesn't seem to be a consensus on this issue from my internet research.

Here's the situation as it stands: I have 8GB of RAM, and windows has created a 8GB page file. And here are the options I'm considering
1) Keep everything as is
2) Move the page file to another hdd (a WD caviar black)
3) Keep the page file on the SSD, but shrink it to 1 or 2GB

(Some people simply disabled their page file. I've ruled out this option as overkill)


I'll summarize some of the things I've heard on this topic
a. Page file will will shorten SSD life span
b. counter-argument: maybe, but that is an over-blown concern for modern SSDs
c. If you have enough RAM (8 gigs is certainly that), the page file is useless

Most of my research was from 2009 threads and discussions though. Have things changed? Is there a better understanding of this topic now to render a verdict?

Pending more information, I'm leaning towards shrinking my page file to 2GB (and leave it on the SSD) as a compromise between every concern.
Hi Trale - since there is no consensus on the best way to handle the Page File - heres what did (for whatever it's worth) - I went with the supposition that the Page File should be equal to the amount of installed ram (I have 12 GB) and -

So what I did, since I have my OS on a fast OCZ SSD, was to keep 1 GB of the Page File on the C: SSD (the faster one) and then put the other 11 GB of Page File on the D: SSD (which dosent get used very often and has extra space)

Then I relocated all my OS Temp files to a third HDD in the system. The C: SSD houses the Win 7 64 bit OS and all the installed programs but very little "data".

No way to tell if this is optimal but it's worked very well so far
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Win7 on SSD: should I move page file?




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