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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    I'm in the process of upgrading RAM in our stock of Dell desktop PCs. The ones I looked at today were Optiplex Gx280s and came with a default 512Mb from the factory. Notwithstanding that they're rather old now, given the current financial climate the powers that be have decided to eke out a few more months of work from them and replacing them when they "break"rather than following a wholesale upgrade process. So I've been upgrading the boxes from 512Mb to 2Gb of RAM in an effort to put something of a spring back into their step.

    As part of the upgrade process, I'm taking the opportunity to perform some housekeeping - removing old Windows patch uninstall files, clearing out temp folders etc. etc. - as well as performing defrags. For reasons beyond me, the defrag process is one of the myriad aspects of Windows locked away from the average User, so I'm taking the opportunity to run it with my elevated privileges. As you can imaging, this hasn't been done since the machines came out of the build room, up to four years ago for some, and it can take some time to complete.

    The process I'm following is to do all of the housekeeping first then turn the machine off, add the RAM, fire up the PC, increase the size of the swapfile and move it from C:\ to D:\ (both logical partitions of the same physical disk), restart the machine, defrag C:, (sometimes more than once), move the swapfile back to C:\, restart the machine again and finally, defrag D:\, (again, perhaps more than once).

    The swapfile, which was set to 756/1512 Mb on the C:\ drive with 512Mb RAM, is increased to 3057\3057 with 2Gb RAM. This is the recommended size in the Virtual Memory dialog box. Setting both the Initial and Maximum size to be equal helps to eliminate fragmentation - or so I thought.

    On a couple of machines I've followed this procedure on, the swapfile gets created in a single contiguous chunk when moved to the D:\ drive, which generally has less data on it than C:\. No matter how much I defrag C:\, however, and how much the block of live files is pushed to the left of the display, when transferred to the C:\ drive, the swapfile appears in three or more fragments in a sea of white, seemingly unused disk space. The machines I've noticed this on have had more than 10Gb free on C:\ and, as I said, appear to have vast tracts of unused drive space, if the defrag graphic is an accurate representation of the layout of data on the disk.

    It's more of a curiosity than an actual problem. I could leave the swapfile of the D:\ drive, but slavish conformity and build standards dictate it should be on C:\, (for uniformity of support, I guess). I'm trying to understand why Windows would split the swapfile in these circumstances when there would appear to be more than enough contiguous free space to accommodate it in one piece.

    Any suggestions?
    Regards,

    Steve

    "A good friend will help you move; a really good friend will help you move a body"

  2. #2
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    Is this D drive just a partition or is it a hard drive it self?
    If it is a partition, then the heads must travel between the two and will need more time for the travel. You will not gain much and may even lose some performance.

    I think you are going to find the with XP and on, the management of the swap space is best left to the system. Just select the setting "Let Windows chose what is best form my computer"

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveA' post='777997 View Post
    (both logical partitions of the same physical disk)
    I wouldn't worry about the swapfile having two or three extents. Windows will rarely, if ever, need to read the whole swapfile in one operation, so this fragmentation will have zero performance impact.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    [quote name='SteveTetch' post='777990' date='02-Jun-2009 16:05'][/quote]
    If you want to end up with single 'fragments' for the system files, including the Page File, run Mark Russinovich's PageDefrag program, set the option" Defragment at next boot", and (surprise, surprise!) reboot. At boot time it sorts out these things in Mark's usual competent way.
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  5. #5
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    Batcher,

    I tried the PageDefrag program and, even after several passes with the feedback saying everything is in as few fragments as possible, the swapfile was still spread across several sections of the disk.

    I'm going to accept StuartR's dictum and not worry about it. The sections are large and are unlikely to be spanned frequently because of that.

    Bottom line: it's working and life's too short to do any more digging.

    Thanks for your responses, chaps.
    Regards,

    Steve

    "A good friend will help you move; a really good friend will help you move a body"

  6. #6
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    [quote name='SteveTetch' post='778462' date='05-Jun-2009 12:34']Batcher,

    I tried the PageDefrag program and, even after several passes with the feedback saying everything is in as few fragments as possible, the swapfile was still spread across several sections of the disk.[/quote]
    That's the first time I have ever heard of PageDefrag not working...
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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