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Windows 7: Pagefile.sys

06 Feb 2010   #51
BunBun

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Any article (including the one you just linked) that suggest leaving it only only does so for the reasons of stability and no performance gain.

1. If you have more then enough RAM then you have no worry of crashing due to running out of RAM, thus pagefile is not needed.

2. If you have no use for memory dumps then pagefile is not needed.

3. If you don't have any applications that explicitly require a pagefile (can't think of any at the top of my head) then you don't need a pagefile.

4. Another argument is pageing will free up ram for superfetch but for various reasons (another thread covers this topic) I disable it as well and anyone with fast HDD's (raid array's & SSD's) or are not a typical user will benefit from disabling it and thus nulling this argument for a pagefile.

5. Pagefiles can become corrupt and make diagnoseing memory issues a pain... another reason I disable it. (can be fixed by having the OS delete the pagefile on shut down)

6. Its not performance gain from disableing pagefile (and superfetch) its preventing performance loss and Microsoft even admitted to this with there superfetch that high IO use can cause other system components to slow down and thus they redesigned superfetch in 7.

Take a read on the following Anandtech articles on how small random reads/writes can cause stuttering and overall decrease in user experience. These are related to poor performaing SSD's but I experience the same thing when a pagefile becomes active or superfetch starts doing its thing (I will admit I havent tried superfetch in Windows 7 yet) and I have a high performance computer so I wouldn't want to know how these things would affect slower HDD's that are not in raid etc.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/sho...spx?i=3531&p=1
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631

Basically there is no simple answer to the original question of this thread. It depends and a lot of different variables in how a person uses there computer and how much ram they have vs how much ram they need and are useing.

If the pagefile usage and superfetch had some poweruser options so that I could tailor them to my specific usage then they would be awesome. however as it stands they only do there thing properly in the set scenario in which they were designed to operate.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Feb 2010   #52
Digerati

Windows 7 Profession 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
1. If you have more then enough RAM then you have no worry of crashing due to running out of RAM, thus pagefile is not needed.
Whoa! Once again, some programs use virtual memory, regardless the amount of RAM - and that includes Windows. "Not needed" does not mean "okay to disable".

Quote:
2. If you have no use for memory dumps then pagefile is not needed.
That's not right either. You are confusing the need to have a page file on the boot drive with not having a page file at all. If you don't have a PF on the boot drive, you don't get the dumps.

Quote:
3. If you don't have any applications that explicitly require a pagefile (can't think of any at the top of my head) then you don't need a pagefile.
What??? Come on dude! If you think about that for a second you will realize that's an asinine statement! The page file belongs to the OS. There better not be any applications that have it in their code to use a page file - virtual memory, yes, but not explicitly a page file.

Quote:
4. Another argument is pageing will free up ram for superfetch but for various reasons (another thread covers this topic) I disable it as well and anyone with fast HDD's (raid array's & SSD's) or are not a typical user will benefit from disabling it and thus nulling this argument for a pagefile.
Huh? Now you are suggesting what? That the CPU can pull data from your RAID and your SSDs faster than directly out of RAM? SuperFetch for the vast majority of people greatly improves load times. You don't disable something that is good for the vast majority just because non-typical users don't need it.

And besides, again, this is Windows 7. See here where it says (about 1/2 way down),
Quote:
Be default, Windows 7 will disable Superfetch, ReadyBoost, as well as boot and application launch prefetching on SSDs with good random read, random write and flush performance.
Quote:
5. Pagefiles can become corrupt and make diagnoseing memory issues a pain... another reason I disable it. (can be fixed by having the OS delete the pagefile on shut down)
Huh? It is EXTREMELY rare for a PF to become corrupt. How often do files on a hard drive become corrupt? Not very often these days. Corrupt page files means something else is failing or failed. And note the PF is rebuilt EVERY time the system reboots. And you are having memory issues all the time has nothing to do with everybody else. The vast majority of users are not having memory problems. And for the record, all the memory diagnostics I use, including the one built into Win 7 work from a bootable disk, or run during a reboot, before Windows is loaded, before a PF is created.

Quote:
6. Its not performance gain from disableing pagefile (and superfetch) its preventing performance loss and Microsoft even admitted to this with there superfetch that high IO use can cause other system components to slow down and thus they redesigned superfetch in 7.
Where did Microsoft admit that? "Can cause" is a whole lot different from "will cause". I think you will find that Microsoft said, "in some cases, it can cause...". So again, you the few don't speak for the many. For MOST users, better performance is achieved if you just leave Windows alone and run with the defaults.

But mark your own words, Microsoft "redesigned SuperFetch in 7". And it works, so use it, don't disable it.

The AnandTech links and SSDs have nothing to do with the OP's question.

Quote:
If the pagefile usage and superfetch had some poweruser options so that I could tailor them to my specific usage then they would be awesome. however as it stands they only do there thing properly in the set scenario in which they were designed to operate.
Poweruser options? Umm, you can disable, enable, and tweak the page file settings to your heart's content. What other options could you want??? As for SuperFetch, you just let it run and it adapts and constantly evolves to your specific usage. If you change your computing habits, it changes with you. That's its purpose and it does it well.

When you flush (or disable) the SuperFetch, Windows forgets (or never learns) how to most quickly load the programs you most frequently use. I fail to see why anyone would ever want to do that!

This thread has sidetracked a lot and I note the OP has not returned and we are on page 6. The original question was,
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by medeion
I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit with 8GB of RAM. Is it necessary to set a specific number for the pagefile.sys? Right now I have it set to "No paging file".

Please advise.

Thanks all.
Now there are all kinds of "exceptions" and "non-typical" reasons out there for running without a page file, but exceptions don't make the rule. The rule is, for the vast majority of Windows users out there, even those of us with 4, 6, 8 or more Gb of RAM, running with the page file enabled and Windows managed is the best way to go.

The question about setting a specific number for the PF. The answer is no, it is best just to let Windows do it. In XP, I used to recommend a fixed PF size, but again, with Win7's improvements in memory management, let Win7 do it. If you have just a few Gb of disk space left, then as a temporary measure, lower your minimum size to 1Gb. Then start deleting files or upgrade your hard storage.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2010   #53
BunBun

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

1. Disabling the pagefile does not disable virtual memory. That has already been covered in this thread. Virtual memory and pagefile are not the same thing. The page file is a part of the virtual memory subsystem that is used when the computer is running out of physical memory.

2. Exactly... if you dont need the dumps for anything then you dont need a pagefile for that purpose...

3. Meh.

4. Again I am not discussing superfetch in this thread and for the very reason Microsoft disables it on fast drives is exactly why I have it disabled. Greatly improving load times means nothing if it hinders performance elsewhere (like it does for me).

5. It has happened enough times to me while troubleshooting BSOD's then I ever care to remember.

6. Ok my wording was incorrect but it does cause excessive IO usage that interfere's with the users experience. However apparently it has been corrected in Windows 7 tho I have not tested it as I really dont have a need for it. But they do state explicity they the redesigned it to be more aware of the user and avoid interfering with the foreground activity and as a result system responsiveness has improved. Note it makes me happy to hear that they are concerned about this as it was a huge issue for me and I was glad I could shut it off. After reading the following I am tempted to re-enable it but I am buying a SSD soon which is just another reason to turn off the pagefile and superfetch.

Quote:
"(1) Be quieter: Even though Superfetch always utilizes low-priority I/O for its memory population in order to avoid interfering with foreground activity, we found that many users get annoyed at hearing the disk activity and seeing the disk light blink. In Windows7, Superfetch is a lot more respectful of user presence.
(2) Be more selective: In Windows7, Superfetch still populates the OS cache with frequently-accessed data from the disk and prioritizes RAM contents, but the underlying algorithms have been improved over Vista. As a result, Superfetch now typically prefetches a smaller, but more relevant volume of data from the disk and prioritizes memory more effectively.
Overall, our results (from a number of users over weeks) indicate that disk activity due to Superfetch is significantly lower in Windows7 compared to Vista while system responsiveness is much improved due to fewer hard page faults from the pagefile and other files." Mehmet Iyigun - Principal Development Lead at Microsoft
7. Power options I mean what and what not to page/cache. When and when not to page/cache. Limits to the above. Rules/exceptions. Like if I could tell superfetch to shut off while certain applications are running (and only use a % of my RAM for cacheing) and if I could tell windows to not put certain things into the pagefile and keep certain things there and to only page past 95% memory usage (and not a byte before). That kind of stuff.


Am I reccomending that everyone go and turn off pagefile and superfetch? NO! I am saying that it is not for every situation and the answer to the original question is more complex then the answer people are looking for.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Feb 2010   #54
medeiom

Windows 7
 
 
Pagefile.sys

Some very interesting comments to this posting and I took it upon myself to test every single option relating to this thread.

My conclusion, by disabling the Paging file I find that programs run a lot quicker based on the amount of RAM installed on my laptop ESPECIALLY Windows XP mode which is a huge hog resource.

I do agree with some of the postings here in regards to less RAM= setting a specific number within the pagefile. Not to mention my HD has a speed of only 54000 RPM which I find it slower as oppose to RAM itself.

Thank you all for your comments and your opinions!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #55
Submarine

Windows Seven Ultimate 64bit + Vista Ultimate 32bit SP2 Dual Boot
 
 

This was one of the most interesting discussions I have ever seen. Yet no final conclusion was made (and how often does this happen?), I learnt a lot, for sure. A big THANK YOU to the participants (but please go on).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #56
seekermeister

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Submarine View Post
This was one of the most interesting discussions I have ever seen. Yet no final conclusion was made (and how often does this happen?), I learnt a lot, for sure. A big THANK YOU to the participants (but please go on).
I really doubt that there will ever be a concensus to the answer of this question. Sometimes people will just have to agree to disagree.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #57
Submarine

Windows Seven Ultimate 64bit + Vista Ultimate 32bit SP2 Dual Boot
 
 

Indeed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #58
monkeys breath

windows
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by monkeys breath
i suggest under 4gigs of ram a page file, over 4gigs no page file.
That's not right. There is NO valid reason to go without a page file. I think there is a misconception about when a PF is used. Just because the OS stuffs something in there does not mean it ran out of RAM, or that the OS made a bad memory management decision.
i will play wait and see with 7. i know that with xp and vista windows rarely moved items to the paging file. more times than not you would end up with a low memory warning if you were running too many things. when you would explore the paging file there would be nothing in it, meaning windows was keeping everything in the hard memory and not releasing anything to the virtual memory. so i got in the habit of simply removing the paging file if i had 4 or more gigs of memory.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Feb 2010   #59
BunBun

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Exactly. Basically if your running out of physical RAM in the first place... the solution is buy more RAM, not use a pagefile. The only exception to this is if you are at the physical limitations of your of your motherboard and architecture.
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07 Feb 2010   #60
Tepid

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Oh god,, are we really still talking about the Page File?

Seriously,,, get it through your heads...... A PAGE FILE IS NECESSARY TO THE STABLE AND PROPER WORKINGS OF WINDOWS..... PERIOD.

This has been discussed and tried and worked through since the dawning of XP.
That and Static vs Dynamic Page File sizes as well as min/max sizes.

MS recommends... as do I...

Amount of Ram x 1.5 = Min
Amount of Ram x 3 = Max

If you have more than 4G of memory,,
then I do recommend setting Min and Max size to 4096
This really is about all that you need and on 32Bit is the max size file you can have anyway.

Quote:
1. Disabling the pagefile does not disable virtual memory.
Yes, It Does. I would avoid whoever told you that as a teacher.

Virtual memory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Quote:
And note the PF is rebuilt EVERY time the system reboots.
I will have to look into this further,,, but I think the only time this happens is when you have the registry key set to delete the pagefile on shutdown enabled. Then it will delete and rebuild the pagefile on every reboot. This can slow things down a bit for shutdown and restart. Good security practice does say to set this bit as the pagefile does hold data that can be accessed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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