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Windows 7: What size should my paging file be if I've got 4GB of RAM?

3 Weeks Ago   #1
bd74

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 
What size should my paging file be if I've got 4GB of RAM?

I once read somewhere that the initial size and the maximum size should be set to the same size, but I can't remember the reason for that. Anyway, what sizes should I set it to? Or should I just choose the option for "automatically manage paging file size"?
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3 Weeks Ago   #2
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

The main reason is to avoid resizing it all the time.
If you have a lot of RAM, page file (virtual memory) won't even be necessary.
I have 8G and use a page size of 16G.

With 4 G of memory, anything between 10 and 16G will be fine.
Or, as many people would say, set it to "automatically manage paging file size".
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3 Weeks Ago   #3
wither 2

Windows 7 Pro SP1 64 bit
 
 

I think the general rule of thumb for Win 7, 64 bit is to use 3 times the RAM size which in your case would be 12 GB. You would set both the minimum and maximum to 12000 MB.
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3 Weeks Ago   #4
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit sp 1
 
 

I have initial set for 1 gb and max set for 2 but I have 8 gb. In today's world with only 4 gb I would set it for 4 minimum. I believe that windows sets it by default for 1.5 times actual memory. I always decrease it without any issues.
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3 Weeks Ago   #5
F22 Simpilot

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

There really is no absolute on what the page file should be set at as far as I have read throughout the years. Ideally it would be something like the amount of RAM you have installed x 2.5 if I can remember. But as mentioned, if you have a lot of RAM just leave the OS to manage the page file size so that you don't end up with issues.

The reason for setting the minimum and maximum of the page file to the same value was to elevate disk fragmentation on hard drive platters. By setting the min and max to one size you create one giant slice on the hard drive to use exclusively for the page file without it constantly growing and shrinking and as a consequence creating fragmentation. The idea here is that if you can elevate fragmentation your page file will be much more faster since there's no data fragmentation causing the hard drive needle to work a few milliseconds harder to retrieve and write page file data.

If your main OS hard drive, the hard drive you currently have Windows installed to is flash-based like a SSD or NVMe, then just keep the page file set to automatic. There's no such thing as fragmentation on a flash-based hard drive that I know of versus that of a platter. So it's not necessary to mess around with the page file parameters.

If you are in fact using a platter for the OS then I guess it may be prudent to set the min and max values to the same thing based on how much RAM you have. Then again, I don't think it really has much of any benefit to do that if you do in fact have lots of RAM.

The one thing you don't want to do however is think just because you have a ton of RAM like 32 GB or 64 GB is completely disable the page file altogether. Contrary to popular belief the page file may actually still be used. And I say this because some programs will gripe if the page file is disabled and/or churn out all kinds of errors.

Now on a netbook I have running that's using XP and its hard drive is flash-based with a finite amount of data that can be written to it, I chose to disable the page file since I have more than enough RAM for the programs I'm running and the OS and in an effort to help reduce write cycles to this precious hard drive. I can do this without ill consequence because this netbook that's on 24/7 is relatively static in that I don't install programs on it all the time or even write data to it. Its sole job is to intercept callerID from the phone and act as a small FTP server who's storage is on a small 14 GB SD card. In the 6 some years this netbook has been running constantly I've had to replace the hard drive twice. Thankfully I always clone it to a USB stick and when I get the new hard drive I just clone back and it's as if nothing ever happened. I want to migrate to something better like a nettop, but I keep putting it on the back burner.

Anyway, you're better off just leaving the OS handle the page file. Some may tell you you want to disable the page file altogether if you use an SSD. But as I already said that's really not a good idea, and with the SSDs today, wear leveling is a lot different than it was when SSDs first hit the market.
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3 Weeks Ago   #6
F22 Simpilot

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Come to think of it. If you have an SSD like a Crucial, it's software for Crucial which is called Crucial Storage Executive has a feature called momentum cache. If you have enough RAM you can enable momentum cache and what will happen is that the hard drive will write and read commonly used data directly from RAM like a page file but only faster. The only issue with this is that it should only be used if A) it's a laptop with a battery or B) it's a desktop with a UPS battery backup. If you use momentum cache and there's just so much as a brief power loss and the computer powers down, you could suffer from data corruption or loss since RAM is only temporary storage and for the most part (not always in some cases) zeros out on power down.

I do have a Crucial SSD and have used momentum cache and when I ran a hard drive speed test the speed was through the proverbial roof! LOL But it wasn't really accurate since I was cheating in the way of using RAM as a momentum cache. I do rock a Cyberpower UPS so I was good on any possible power outages.

I have to note here that a UPS is a must with a desktop if your'e in the middle of doing something or gaming and the power goes out. The UPS will allow you to safely power off the PC without any issues being incurred from a sudden loss of power. And it in fact gives peace of mind if you flash your BIOS and all of sudden the power goes out. God forbid that should happen and you have no UPS. Thankful a lot of your motherboards nowadays come with two BIOS chips so you can just use the backup. But if you can prevent from using the backup BIOS chip from the begin with then that would be a lot better.

Also, with UPSs you should get one that's pure sine wave and is meant for an active PSU if that's what you have. Pure sine wave probably is meant for active PSUs anyway. But if it isn't and you have a surge protector plugged into it you could end up with a fire. I don't think many people know this.
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2 Weeks Ago   #7
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit sp 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by F22 Simpilot View Post
There really is no absolute on what the page file should be set at as far as I have read throughout the years. Ideally it would be something like the amount of RAM you have installed x 2.5 if I can remember. But as mentioned, if you have a lot of RAM just leave the OS to manage the page file size so that you don't end up with issues.

2.5x might have been a good idea, and necessary, back when computers had maybe up to 2 gb of ram but now with computers that usually have 8 gb min that eats up a lot of hard drive space since you would be looking at a 20+ gb pagefile. Although I agree that likely the pagefile is used and shouldn't be disabled I don't believe that it needs to be so large in systems with so much ram. That's why I keep mine so low now. My primary computer and server both have 8 gb of ram which is very sufficient for my needs and the most I've ever had. If all I had was 4gb then I would have it a lot higher but even then probably only 4.
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2 Weeks Ago   #8
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I have on occasion had reasons to turn off the page file. Sometimes I forget to turn it back on. I ran a machine with 4GB RAM like that for weeks before I noticed, didn't seem to mind not having a page file
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2 Weeks Ago   #9
TechnoMage2016

Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x86
 
 

Engineers that have more pay grade than I do, designed Windows, years ago, to manage its own Page File.
I feel like it would be counter productive for me to try to out-think them. So I just let Windows do what it does best, and I take care of the rest.

And, my Windows 7, Pro, x86, with 8 GB of installed ram, runs like a scalded cat!!!


On boot up, I run a script that installs the registry into RAM, where the OS can access it FASTER!


Works for me!


TM
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1 Week Ago   #10
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TechnoMage2016 View Post
Engineers that have more pay grade than I do, designed Windows, years ago, to manage its own Page File.
I feel like it would be counter productive for me to try to out-think them. So I just let Windows do what it does best, and I take care of the rest.
Windows is very good in using the pagefile, like chosing what to page out of RAM and when to bring in back, but the default "manage it for me" is a terrible solution, because it really means "use 3 times the RAM as page file", which is a poor choice of pagefile sizing.

Optimal pagefile size depends on RAM and the maximum commit limit, which in turn depends on your workload. There is no way Windows can estimate it, and is likely a leftover over the years of Windows evolution. A more appropriate "autosizing" algorithm would give more page file when there is less RAM, not the other way around.
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