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Windows 7: Should I disable my Page File?

01 Mar 2012   #1

Windows 2000 5.0 Build 2195
 
 
Should I disable my Page File?

Hello everyone!

Currently I have 16 GB of memory. I've heard on some posts that I should disable my Page File for optimum performance. However, on some Microsoft articles, they stated that due to how Windows manages memory, it is advisable to just leave it there since Windows knows best when to use it.

So I decided to enable it and leave it at 600MB. Thing is, during heavy gaming, I see that my page file is 95% used even though I'm only using 8-9 GB of my RAM. So what gives?

Performance-wise, should I leave my page file as-is or disable it?

ALL opinions greatly appreciated!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

01 Mar 2012   #2

Main - Windows 7 Pro SP1 64-Bit; 2nd - Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Some programs will insist on using the Page File, it wouldn't matter if you have 160GB of RAM.

I have 16GB myself and keep a 1GB Page File on the C Drive. I am also not a big gamer. From what you describe I would experiment with a 2GB Page File and see how full it gets while playing that same game. If it still maxes out I might try something even a little bigger. Whether I left it there or not would depend on how well the game ran and whether you saw any improvement.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2012   #3

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional
 
 

Leave it as system managed, plain and simple.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


01 Mar 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

I think 600MB would be a good minimum size with 3GB as max. (Next guy will have other ideas) Yes Win 7 needs a page file to work smoothly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2012   #5

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Your specs indicate your operating system is 2000 not Windows 7 is that correct.
OS Windows 2000 5.0 Build 2195
Installing Windows 7 is all the memory tweaks you will need.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2012   #6

Windows 7 64 bit SP1
 
 

I have it set to 640MB fixed on my system SSD and an additional 8GB on a spinner. I understand you need to have some amount of pagefile in order to take a system dump. I believe it is a lot less than 640MB though. you have lots of memory, so you really prob don't need much pagefile.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Your specs indicate your operating system is 2000 not Windows 7 is that correct.
OS Windows 2000 5.0 Build 2195
Installing Windows 7 is all the memory tweaks you will need.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #8

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 
Depends on what you're running

It seems that not everyone understands what a paging file is and does.

The OS decides when and how much of an application's working set -- the memory it needs to run -- to keep in memory and how much to put out in a page (swap) file. When an app wants something that's not in memory, that's called a page fault, and the OS brings that chunk of memory back into RAM (probably swapping some other memory out).

If you want to see this in action, open up the task manager, select View|Select Columns, and check the boxes next to
  • Memory Usage
  • Memory Usage Delta
  • Peak Memory Usage
  • Page Faults
  • Page Faults Delta
  • Virtual Memory Size
Look at the Page Faults column (click the heading to sort descending); if your machine has been running for a while (I never turn mine off, and only reboot when absolutely necessary) you will be blown away by the number of page faults. At the moment, Explorer is up around 3.8 million page faults -- and it's not the biggest memory hog, either.

An interesting thing to do is sort by the PF Delta column and watch what happens; this is the change in the number of page faults between updates. It appears that my update rate is 1 second, and Firefox (in which I'm typing this) is running between 200 and 250 PF/sec, periodically jumping to 4-600, a couple of times to around 1700, and once as high as 5000; watch what happens when you have three windows open, two minimized, and you restore and re-minimize the two that are minimized -- on my system, the PF Delta jumps to 1000-1500 for that second.

What happens when you don't have enough swap? A phenomenon called thrashing, where one part of the app references a block of memory that's swapped out, which then references the first block, which then references the second block, which... It doesn't need to be this direct, but if the same blocks of memory are being cycled in and out over and over and over again, you can guess what happens to your performance.

Running on my XP box, with only 3.5GB of accessible RAM, I typically allocate 3-4x the swap as I have physical memory, and I still occasionally get a popup notification that my VMEM is running low. On my new Windows 7 box, I have 8GB of RAM, and I believe I gave it 32GB of swap -- on my SSD. I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but typically have at least 40 windows open at any given time. I do a lot of different things, each of which requires one to several applications, some of them major memory hogs (Photoshop and Lightroom, for two examples).

Lest anyone think to tell me to just run fewer apps -- that's both none of your business and totally beside the point. I've been working very successfully in the same manner for over 25 years, and am not inclined to fix something that's not broke when I can just add RAM, swap, and an SSD; and it has nothing to do with whether to use swap or whether to put it on a SSD. The only thing that matters is performance, and...

...according to MS (blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/archive/2009/05/05/support-and-q-a-for-solid-state-drives-and.aspx), swap files are one thing that you should keep on your SSD:
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.
YMMV, but the first thing I put on my SSD was my swap. I still have Windows on my HDD -- I just didn't feel that it was worth the space to have Windows start up faster (particularly since in normal use I don't restart very often). I did, however, put some apps that are notably sluggish on startup on the SSD; they seem to start up much faster, but that could be because of the SSD, the 8GB of RAM, or the quad-core 3.33 GHz processor. :-)


The bottom line is that if you are a relatively light user, in terms of what you have running and what you do with it, you may not need swap, and it doesn't necessarily need to be on the SSD if you do. However, if you're running a lot of memory-hogging apps and editing 750K image files and don't have enough swap allocated -- be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #9

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Ditto Japastor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

I would certainly leave the PF as it is, and on the SSD unless sopace isd a major issue. in that case, leave at least 500MB on the SSd, and a System manged Elsewhere.
But still, better off leaving it one place.

You could lower its size. Say, 2-4GB, but I wouldn't disable it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Should I disable my Page File?





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