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Windows 7: Should I disable my Page File?

10 Mar 2012   #11

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

japastor; in reading your post several time. A lot of information there. I think what your are suggesting is let Windows 7 handle the memory and if needed just add more ram. Is that correct?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Mar 2012   #12

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 
Follow-up in response to a couple of other posts

Layback Bear said:
Quote:
japastor; in reading your post several time. A lot of information there. I think what your are suggesting is let Windows 7 handle the memory and if needed just add more ram. Is that correct?
Um, no, sort of the opposite. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Most of the stuff I've read about not putting page files on SSD dates from the time when they were much more expensive and, people had the idea -- at the time not unreasonable --that they had to do everything to minimize the amount of space used by "unnecessary" things like page files.

SSD prices have come down significantly, so should be able to get a big enough one to hold ample page file(s) and any apps that are very slow to start up at a reasonable price. I just bought a Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT128M4SSD2 from Amazon for $165.78 with free shipping. I've gotten 2TB HDDs for less, and RAM is cheap -- but
  1. performance for a HDD isn't in the same league as a SSD
  2. most people have an upper limit on RAM, be it 4, 8, 12, 16, 32GB, or more -- but typically 4-12
So at some point, you max out RAM -- but can always add swap (page file).

Truth in advertising disclosure: my system will support 32GB of RAM, so technically I could have upgraded from the 2x4 I have to 4x8 -- but that would actually have cost more, even with off-brand memory. And with the SSD, I have enough room for all of my hardcore graphics apps and enough swap to support 32GB of RAM when I decide it's necessary.

I don't let Windows manage my swap, because it never allocates as much as I want: I typically set the minimum at the amount of actual RAM I have, and the max at 3-4x that -- so for my current 8GB I believe I have max of 32GB of swap allocated.

Recall from my first post that I had 4GB of physical RAM and 16 of swap on my Win32 XP box, and was constantly getting "Virtual Memory is low" messages -- so it was using swap, and lots of it.

Again, if you're a light user, this is all irrelevant -- but if you push the limits of what your machine can handle, it makes a big difference.

Finally, I haven't tried this yet, but I believe that major memory hogs like Photoshop will let you allocate temp space for them in a location of your choosing; SSD may or may not be perfect for this (I don't know whether it uses memory in a SSD-friendly way), but it's got to work pretty well, and if my SSD wears out in a couple of years, I'll be happy to replace it -- by then, I can probably get 512GB for what I paid for 128 last month.

Again, if you edit image files that max out at 6-12MB, this is irrelevant. I often edit 48-bit, 3200 dpi scans, and some of them have hit over 800MB. No, I'm not making that up: the average size of the files in my Scans folder at this moment is 106.5MB, and the largest is just under 885MB. I can use all the help I can get when editing these puppies.

So -- in summary:
  1. page/swap files are -- according to MS, with what appears to be solid evidence -- the first things you should think of putting on your SSD
  2. more memory is great, but there are good reasons to specify a lot of swap (including limits on how much RAM you can cram into your system)
  3. I don't let Windows manage my VMEM (Virtual Memory)/swap/page files, because it's too conservative for me
YMMV, but that's how I do it.
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10 Mar 2012   #13

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Japastor I think another misconception about have the PF on the SSD is that it will write often and cause premature wear to the MLC nand cells. It should be noted the PF does little hard writng and is mostly reads which does not hard the SSD.
Plus I thing have the PF or part of it on a separate HDD defeats the purpose of have a SSD and will cut performance.
I may be completely wrong too.
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10 Mar 2012   #14

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Hmmmmm. Well, for certain it can't read what hasn't been written so there's got to be some writing sometime.
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10 Mar 2012   #15

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

If your page file is not used or is seldom used, it won't cut your performance and it will leave more space on your SSD so that it can better wear level and perform better, not because it will prematurely wear your SSD.

If you have enough memory for what you are doing you won't swap. Even Microsoft says a paging file may not be required:

How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows
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10 Mar 2012   #16
4wd

W8+8.1, W7 ult+hp, XP
 
 

With 4g of ram (3g available), this has worked for me over the years, xp & Windows 7: 200mb min (as recommended by Windows 7), 2g max. It will stay at min until it may be needed (I've yet to spot it going over the min mark) and will revert back to min after eventual use. IMO, with a 200mb min, the toll on hd space (or wear) is totally negligible, and regarding performance no gain whatsoever in running without it.


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10 Mar 2012   #17
whs

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I set mine to 2GBs on all my SSDs and never had a problem. You also have the hiberfile of the size of RAM. That you can delete with the powercfg - h off command.
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10 Mar 2012   #18

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
Hmmmmm. Well, for certain it can't read what hasn't been written so there's got to be some writing sometime.
Good point. Where the wear comes in is when a write is attempted to the same nand cell. If any part of the cell is occupied the garbage collection function needs to clear it before any new data is written. So if the PF does mostly reads the wear doesn't come into play.
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12 Mar 2012   #19

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GeneO View Post
If your page file is not used or is seldom used, it won't cut your performance and it will leave more space on your SSD so that it can better wear level and perform better, not because it will prematurely wear your SSD.

If you have enough memory for what you are doing you won't swap. Even Microsoft says a paging file may not be required:

How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows
Yes, but they also say "Yes. Most pagefile operations are small random reads or larger sequential writes, both of which are types of operations that SSDs handle well...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."

Obviously, if you have enough RAM to support what you're doing without swapping, you don't need swap space. I have said this several times, but also pointed out that (a) some people don't have the option of adding RAM (for one reason or another) and (b) swap can never hurt, even if you don't think you need it. I also suggested monitoring your VMEM use to see whether you are, in fact, using it: Task Manager will show you as much as you need to know about VMEM use.
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12 Mar 2012   #20

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by carwiz View Post
Hmmmmm. Well, for certain it can't read what hasn't been written so there's got to be some writing sometime. :geek:
Good point. Where the wear comes in is when a write is attempted to the same nand cell. If any part of the cell is occupied the garbage collection function needs to clear it before any new data is written. So if the PF does mostly reads the wear doesn't come into play.
See what MS has to say about read/write patterns and wear on SSDs.

This article provides copious detail to support its conclusions, but the punchline is "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." [emphasis added]

The question for most of you is: "Why did you buy SSD in the first place?" There are only 2 main reasons I can think of:
  1. for shock resistance in portable devices
  2. to improve performance
For (2), unless you really, truly, are not using any swap, putting it on your SSD is a win for two reasons:
  1. it's faster, period
  2. you're not contending with normal disk I/O for paging operations, which speeds up all disk access (and coincidentally reduces wear on your HDD).
Good enough for me to put a SSD in my desktop machine.

As far as premature wear is concerned, everything I've read is talking about possibly reducing the life of the SSD to a couple of years. At that point, you'll be able to replace it for 1/4 what you paid yesterday. I'm OK with that if it gives me blazing speed in the next 2 years.
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 Should I disable my Page File?





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