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  1. #1
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    Optimizing swap file location for Windows 7?

    I'm running XP now and have my swap file on the first partition of another drive which seems to make a big difference does this help on 7? Also if 7 is on an SSD drive but the other drives are traditional I would think that I'm better of leaving the swap on the SSD but maybe in it's own partition.

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Having the main swapfile on the first partition of a second hard drive of equal speed will be an improvement. However, for troubleshooting purposes (on both OS's), I'd set a small (100MB max.) swapfile on the Windows partition for the creation of minidumps.

    I think a default install of W7 on an SSD turns off precaching, ReadyBoost and swapfile creation (limiting file writes is the best way of improving the longevity of SSD's), if not, I'd still use the above method; small swapfile for troubleshooting of potential BSOD's plus 4092GB swapfile on the spinning disk.

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    It also depends on how much RAM you have installed. If you have more than 4 GB, where you place the swap file will make negligible difference to performance.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Minidumps

    Windows 7 will write a minidump to the system drive whether or not there is a swap file on the drive. I have always had my swap file at a fixed 4GB on a separate hard drive (as I do now, even though this new Dell has 6GB RAM).

    On my other machine I had a graphics card going bad, and it would occaissionally BSOD until I finally got around to replacing it. I got a minidump on C: every time the graphics card would crap out on me.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Win 7 does seem to handle memory functions better than previous Wondows versions. I did have my page file on a separate fixed partition, then moved it back to the C Drive partition and set a fixed size and did not notice any appreciable change in function/speed/etc. I use Win 7 64 Bit Ultimate with 4 GB RAM on my PC and Win 7 64 Bit HP with 4 GB RAM on wife's PC. Did not see any difference.
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    I also have my swapfile on a different disk, but I read an article, which I think was by Mark Russinovitch, which recommended a smaller swapfile on the system disk, even in that circumstance. I have since done that, so I will second satrow's opinion, though not for the reason he offered.

    I will try to find the article.

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    The article was by Eric Vaughn: http://tweakhound.com/windows7/tweaking/7.html

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    I also have my swapfile on a different disk, but I read an article, which I think was by Mark Russinovitch, which recommended a smaller swapfile on the system disk, even in that circumstance. I have since done that, so I will second satrow's opinion, though not for the reason he offered.

    I will try to find the article.
    The main problem I have with that article is that Windows 7 in its default state will indeed create a dump file on the system drive with no pagefile on that drive.

    I have deleted a number of them (dump files) over the last several months doing routine cleanup (remember the bad graphics card I mentioned).

    When I see something on my own systems that an "expert" says can't happen, I don't start doubting my system and my eyes, I start doubting the "expert".

    The first thing I do with a new machine or a new installation of Windows is take over the page file and move it to a dedicated partition on a second drive. I make the dedicated partition 4.5GB and the paging file 4GB. It's a set-it-and-forget-it thing. I use drive imaging for backup, and there is no reason to image/backup the page file.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2011-03-01 at 06:25. Reason: clarity
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  9. #9
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    I re-read the article just now, and I couldn't find any statement about Windows needing a pagefile on the system drive to be able to create a memory dump. The main info on the article seems to be a quote from a Technet article.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quoting from the article in blue...

    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    I re-read the article just now, and I couldn't find any statement about Windows needing a pagefile on the system drive to be able to create a memory dump. The main info on the article seems to be a quote from a Technet article.
    "In Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 the default size is equal to the amount of memory installed in the machine. Your gut reaction to this is probably the same as mine was – to get a successful complete memory dump the paging file needs to be a little larger than RAM. How much larger probably goes back to what version of Windows you are running and other factors, but 300 MB is generally considered plenty of padding for the purposes of getting a complete dump.
    Not to worry. A default installation of Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 is configured to generate a kernel memory dump and also with a system-managed paging file size. So a paging file equal to RAM is plenty. If you decide that you want to capture a complete memory dump, simply change the dump option to “Complete memory dump” and restart (be sure to leave the paging file size as system-managed). After the restart the paging file should be RAM + 300 MB. This applies to both client and server SKUs."

    ***Author's note - Based on emails I've received I do not seem to be making myself clear. If you have one hard drive DO NOT MOVE OR MAKE A SECOND PAGE FILE. If you have 2 drives and you make a second page file you should leave at least a small page file on the OS partition. The second page file should be on the FIRST PARTITION of the second drive. (Emphasis mine)

    I haven't used a page file on the system disk since Windows 2K. Windows 7 will indeed create a memory dump on the system drive with no page file present.

    I also recommend a dedicated partition for a fixed page file even on a single drive, for the simple reason that such a configuration will permanently eliminate any fragmentation of the page file.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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    The emphasized text just states that there needs to be a paging file little larger than RAM, doesn't state the location for this paging file. The 300 MB file to be located on the system disk is not larger than RAM (and actually no justification is clearly provided for its existance). I see this 300 MB file as a suggestion (thus the should) and not as a requirement.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    From the Technet page linked by that article:-
    Before we wrap up our post for today, lets go over some changes to Crash Dump Retention and Page Files. One common theme you will see in Windows 7 is an effort to reduce the disk footprint of Windows.

    ...

    If the machine is a server SKU and/or joined to a domain, the memory dump is always retained. For client machines not joined to a domain, the dump will be retained as long as the amount of free space on the system drive is greater than 25 GB. If the following registry value is set to 1 then the dump file will be retained regardless of any other factor: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\CrashControl\AlwaysKeepMemoryDump
    (my bold)

    MSFT seem to have odd ideas on what is "an effort to reduce the disk footprint of Windows". Does it really translate to "we'll only use your drive space until it's within 25GB of full"?

    After recently removing several GB of unsent kernel dumps from one machine, I'll stick to setting minidumps, they're easier to zip and email or post online for remote diagnosis.

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    From the Technet page linked by that article:-(my bold)

    MSFT seem to have odd ideas on what is "an effort to reduce the disk footprint of Windows". Does it really translate to "we'll only use your drive space until it's within 25GB of full"?

    After recently removing several GB of unsent kernel dumps from one machine, I'll stick to setting minidumps, they're easier to zip and email or post online for remote diagnosis.
    The "25GB" limit is also false. The machine that had the graphics card going bad had Windows 7 installed on a 20GB partition, and still got memory dumps every time the graphics card glitched.

    Other than hardware faults, I don't have BSOD's (except for the ones I cause myself while I'm tinkerin'), so I've never really cared about the memory dumps, anyway. I get enough information from the BSOD error code to narrow down what piece of hardware is going bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    The first thing I do with a new machine or a new installation of Windows is take over the page file and move it to a dedicated partition on a second drive. I make the dedicated partition 4.5GB and the paging file 4GB. It's a set-it-and-forget-it thing. I use drive imaging for backup, and there is no reason to image/backup the page file.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

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