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  1. #1
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    Question about pagefile.sys

    Hello all,

    Need your expert opinion as I am getting conflicting information;

    1- Is there really an advantage to have pagefile.sys on a different partition (on the same HDD, say D:\) than the partition where OS resides (C:\)

    2- Is it better to assign a size to pagefile.sys or better to let Windows manage the size?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Back in my Windows 95-98SE days, I let Norton Utilities' Drive[Something] set the pagefile.sys size and its defragger put that file up front.
    Presently, I've let Windows manage the size. You know, I'm going to watch this thread, maybe it's time to set a certain size, ie, close to my memory size.

    Having this file on another partition may or may not be beneficial. I'm thinking about the long run partition image backups and restores. I can't remember what happened when I tried that idea a long long long time ago [Windows For Workgroups 3.11 I think].
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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  4. #3
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    1. Not any more. Modern hard disks are really fast, SSD even better.

    2. Let Windows manage it.

    Management of the page file went out when XP turned up, unless you are really keen. With 7 and above it's pointless.

    cheers, Paul

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  6. #4
    WS Lounge VIP Calimanco's Avatar
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    If you have two separate hard drives in your computer, assuming one is the system drive with your programs installed on it and one is a less-used data drive, moving the page file to the data drive can potentially offer some increased performance when your page file is in use. Assuming that Windows will already be using the system drive, using the page file spreads out the hard drive activity instead of concentrating it on one drive. If you have large amounts of RAM, however, any improvement is unlikely to be noticeable.
    This does not apply to separate partitions on one hard drive as it gives no advantage at all.
    Since XP, Windows has had very good algorithms for managing the page file. I don't, therefore, think its really worthwhile.

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  8. #5
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    For your question 1: I've always had noticeable improvement by having the paging file/Virtual Memory on a second physical drive. Having it on a second partition of the only drive still has the OS reading the same drive.

    For your question 2: I've always set the max and min to the same size, tends to help avoiding fragmentation of it.
    Last edited by Berton; 2015-03-07 at 13:32.

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  10. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc1 View Post
    2- Is it better to assign a size to pagefile.sys or better to let Windows manage the size?
    I've reversed the order of your questions for the sake of clarity. I fail to see any need for the size of the pagefile to be managed. I see no purpose in reducing the size of the pagefile. Having Windows manage the pagefile requires CPU cycles that are wasted. A Windows managed pagefile is a fragmented pagefile. I've been using a fixed pagefile size of 4GB on every desktop and laptop for over a dozen years. I've never had an issue with the size or the fact that it is fixed. The fixed size issue holds true whether you have a traditional spinner or a SSD.

    1- Is there really an advantage to have pagefile.sys on a different partition (on the same HDD, say D:\) than the partition where OS resides (C:\)
    Here, there is a difference between a traditional spinner and a SSD. The only need for partitioning a SSD is if you intend to dual boot, to separate the two OS's. On the other hand, for a spinner, a dedicated small partition for a fixed pagefile means a pagefile that cannot fragment and won't waste any CPU cycles.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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  12. #7
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    @calimanco, Just out of curiosity, you noted: "...a dedicated small partition for a fixed pagefile means a pagefile that cannot fragment and won't waste any CPU cycles."
    What is your definition of a "small partition"? 4 gig as mentioned in first portion of your post? and how is it different between this case(dedicated small partition) and a fixed pagefile size if neither one are going to be fragmented but both need to be accessed any way?

  13. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc1 View Post
    @calimanco, Just out of curiosity, you noted: "...a dedicated small partition for a fixed pagefile means a pagefile that cannot fragment and won't waste any CPU cycles."
    What is your definition of a "small partition"? 4 gig as mentioned in first portion of your post? and how is it different between this case(dedicated small partition) and a fixed pagefile size if neither one are going to be fragmented but both need to be accessed any way?
    That was me, not Calimanco. My pagefile is a fixed 4GB on a 4.5GB partition on a separate hard drive. If I make the partition much smaller, Windows complains that the partition is almost full. I also use defrag techniques that can move system files (and so I assume that there are others that might do the same), and the dedicated partition eliminates that possibility.

    However, the main reason for a dedicated partition is to be able to fix the position of the pagefile where one wishes it to be on the platter. Toward the front of the disk (outside edge) is the fastest position. It's easy to peg a partition, takes a lot more planning to peg a file.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  15. #9
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    The point of a page file is you only need one if you do NOT have enough RAM to run your programs. Fire up Task Manager and if your memory use is less than 50% your will never need a page file - almost never. If you are often using 90% of RAM you will be using your page file and should have it on the fastest or least used disk you have. If you have an SSD just let Windows work it out as there is no real performance penalty in using the page file.

    cheers, Paul

  16. #10
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    The point of a page file is you only need one if you do NOT have enough RAM to run your programs. Fire up Task Manager and if your memory use is less than 50% your will never need a page file - almost never. If you are often using 90% of RAM you will be using your page file and should have it on the fastest or least used disk you have. If you have an SSD just let Windows work it out as there is no real performance penalty in using the page file.

    cheers, Paul
    Windows will always page out parts of the kernel (the 'bootstrap' parts and such that are no longer needed in RAM once Windows is live) regardless of how much RAM one has.

    And if you want to see your RAM usage climb, run chkdsk /r. With 16GB RAM on my Windows 7 Pro desktop (and no pagefile), chkdsk /r got over 15GB of it before it finished a 1TB drive.

    My main reason for a fixed pagefile is to eliminate fragmentation of both the pagefile and the OS partition.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  17. #11
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    I found out many years ago, that life is a whole lot simpler if I just let Windows manage things like the Pagefile. Some software was actually written to use the Pagefile and if it's not there, the software won't run.

    However it's pretty large, so I delete it right before I do a Ghost backup, to save space in the Backup Image file. I also do a massive cleanup on the HD before I do a backup, for the same reason. Then after the backup I do a restore which re-writes the entire C: drive, with no spaces between files and of course, NO Fragmentation. Once I reboot the system after the Ghost restore, Windows will re-make the Pagefile putting it at the very end of the data, in free space.
    The result is:



    Yes, this is my Windows XP disk and Yes, it's in FAT-32 Mode. Don't let any of those self proclaimed EXperts tell you that XP won't run just fine on a FAT-32 partition. Eh? AS you can plainly see here, it does!

    Cheers Mates!
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  18. #12
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    To answer the OP's question; Does it ever make sense to put the page file on another partition on the same drive? No. Head has to move no matter where the pagefile is on the same drive.

    On a different drive? yes. Head movement may be reduced if the page file was the last thing accessed on that second drive.

    On an SSD? No. No head movement.

    As for fragged pagefile issues, XP seems to handle that pretty well after some update quite some time ago. Vista onward fragmented paefile is not an issue. On XP you can download MS' PageDefrag and do a one time run on next boot. It will show you if the pagefile, etc. is fragmented. On old installations it is not uncommon to find it is. Once defragged I do not think I have ever seen it fragmented again.

    As to fixed size or letting the OS do pagefile size. I have done both over many years and towards the end of XP's life I decided I thought the OS was doing a pretty fair job of managing page size, especially if I had 3-4GB of RAM present.

  19. #13
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    The only small benefit in having your page file in a separate partition on the same physical disk is if you use a disk activity monitor (such as DriveGLEAM). If you set up a separate partition (call it Drive P for Pagefile) and have nothing on it except the page file, then with the activity monitor you can see at a glance whenever there is page file activity, either reading or writing.

  20. #14
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    Mark Russinovich from Sysinternals wrote an excellent article a few years ago...

    See the section titled "How Big Should I Make the Paging File?"

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussi...7/3155406.aspx

  21. #15
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    For what its worth, if its a new desktop with 1 HDD or if you lucky 2 I would not over worry unless you are tight for a bit space in the 1st drive. i do not think you notice much, thats said the second drive I would assign something half big as use the rest for the drive for archives, old stuff or what ever so not to waste the possible space, maybe go MyDoc over there to save being on the main boot drive / same goes for downloads etc .. depends what you want to do really

    if its on fileserver I would deffo have page separate and you will notice, even if RAID 5 with Raid 0 on the pace and split for page and back up partitions etc

    Again depends what you looking to do

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