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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Well, it's a new day and here I am with another question! I asked this of Mark in the recent thread on NTFS but I don't want to commandeer that thread in case this turns out to be a bunch of posts. My personally built machine is a PIII 600 with recently upgraded RAM to 640 meg and three hard drives (C=16.8; D=8.4; E=16.8). The two 16.8s are IBM DTTA something or other. I want to make a dedicated partition for my swap file, so I used Partition Magic to create a 1 gig partition on the E drive. I used Drive Management to change my CD's letter to K to get it up out of the way and made the 1 gig partition drive F. I also changed the properties of the Recycle Bin from global to make it 5% on C, D, and E but 0% on F.

    I don't know where to change the LOW DISK SPACE notification inside Windows, but the help system makes it look like I'll have to hack the registry to turn it off completely:
    HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPolicies Explorer NoLowDiskSpaceChecks REG_DWORD 1

    Hopefully, I'll attach a screen shot of this, but I went in to the Virtual Memory settings and set the radio button to No Paging File and clicked the SET button on the C, D, and E drives. On the F drive, I inserted a custom setting of 950 min, 950 max and clicked the SET button. Here's the deal. Everything seems OK after I REBOOT (do I need to power off?) and there's no Pagefile.Sys on the C drive. It does show up on the F drive but the system is acting kinda flaky. I can't get Control Panel to open up AT ALL where I was going to go to look about that low disk space thing which was in my tray now. I fired up a couple of apps, like Mozilla and things seemed to be working, except for Control Panel. I admit that I got a little nervous, so before I went to bed, I put everything back until I could chat a little with youse guys here in The Lounge. Anyone think there's a specific ORDER that things need to be done, or something like that?
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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    OK if I reply to my own post? Just in case this might be helpful to some other Lounge tinkerer, I solved my own problem. While waiting, I first made the registry change to turn off the low disk space monitoring. Evidently that WAS the problem, because when I reinstated my settings to make the swap file reside on Drive F, everything seems to be tickin' right along. I guess XP was struggling with the fact that I had a 1 gig partition that was almost full, so it was running, albeit a tad flaky, with the low space notice in the tray.

    I also learned two other things while I was at it. For some reason I thought that Windows would erase the swap file when you shut down or restart. Evidently it doesn't because the "old" swap file was still sitting there on Drive C until I deleted it.

    When I saw that, it caused me to check a couple of my Drive Image backup images, and lo and behold I found that Drive Image INCLUDES the swap file when it makes an image. I'd never checked that before since I run Drive Image from "DOS" and so I figured the swap file was gone. All the more reason to have the swap file on a separate partition, so you aren't going to the trouble and wasted space of backing it up. (I also saw this fact mentioned in a short thread on this subject back in December)

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Big Al, you can answer your own questions any time you want. Just becareful if you start doing it all the time, people will think you're <img src=/S/nuts.gif border=0 alt=nuts width=15 height=15> if you do it topo much in public. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    Seriously, that's great that you solved the problem. I just wanted to add that not only does NT not delete the PAGEFILE.SYS when you move it, it also does not clear the contents of the page file from boot to boot. In other words - it could potentially contain data you don't want prying eyes to see. If it's at home, no big deal, but if the system is in an open environment, you can tweak the registry so that it will flush the pagefile when shutting down.
    -Mark

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    Star Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Windows XP Novice here. Would it help the performance of my computer if I partitioned off 1gig of my 40gig hard drive as the swap file? I have a 750mgz AMD Duron with 244 of RAM (give or take). I'm thinking about upgrading my RAM to 520, but can't do that at the moment. Please advise. Thanks!

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Actually Dave, it's not worth the effort unless you want to keep the page file from becoming fragmented - which can be a real performance hit.

    You'd benefit from this approach if you had:
    <UL><LI>A separate physical drive, because NT/2000/XP can access them both at the SAME time
    <LI>A nearly-full single drive that also contains the swap file[/list]If your drive has around 25% free space, then I wouldn't go to the trouble. Every time the system has to move the drive's read/write heads from the system partition to the swap partition, it's a tiny little slice of time that gets added on for the physical movement of the drive heads.

    Bottom line: there's no performance gain that you will notice by doing it. But it's still not a bad thing, if you consider the statements above.
    -Mark

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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Mark -- thanks for you're reply, although I only understood about 50% of it...LOL <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>
    All I know is that I've seen a real reduction of performance in the last few weeks. I don't know if there is just a lot of clutter in the registry that isn't removed with the usual tools/programs (i.e. Norton WinDoc), or if I've just installed too many extraneous programs, although this should really be a problem (should it?). Anyway, the bottom line is, The performance of my computer has decreased, and continues to. I really don't want to have to wipe the drive and reinstall the program if I can avoid it. Thanks in advance for any advice. <img src=/S/igiveup.gif border=0 alt=igiveup width=31 height=23>

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Oh yeah! ALL the gurus say that getting the swap file on a separate partition , where it won't be impacted by fragmentation or other data, is a performance enhancement. I've done it for both Win95 and Win98 and it really has proven beneficial. Of course, Windows likes to "complain" when you do it, but it's well worth the effort. As I (and others) have mentioned, it also makes for smaller backups when you don't have to fool around with the swap file. If ya don't have Partition Magic, you'd be pleased with how it helps you.

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    Star Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    OK...Al, I have a 4 gig hard drive that I'm not using. Would you advise that I install this HD as the "swap file", and if so, what do I need to do to set up the swap file on the second HD? Also, what if I wanted to partition my 40gig HD with partition magic? Can I create the partition without having to reform that drive?

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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Mark...

    I'm the only one who uses/has access to my computer. I usually have a lot of processes running in the background. Maybe I'm just expecting too much from Windows XP. Also, do you have suggestions about the registry clutter I mentioned in my last post?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Mark -- thanks for all the help and advice. It sounds like I am on my way to correcting the problems I'm having with XP (I hope... <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>) I think, though, i'm also going to go out and buy some more memory. Wish me luck!

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Luck has been wished!

    Yes, more memory is always good. XP eats it like five year old with candy. Try Crucial for memory; they have an excellent memory selector guide that makes it painless. And, their customer support is second to none.
    -Mark

  12. #12
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Whew! Mark's been a busy cat on the keyboard! Obviously, he's answered the questions, but I would just throw in that on this PIII 600 I had one RAM stick of 128 meg. When I bought two more 256s and popped 'em in, this computer really started to rock-n-roll for me! That's what got ME to thinking about stuff like swap file fragmentation and so on.

    Let me throw in one other thing, kinda off subject a little. If you want an excellent report about your computer, pay a visit to Belarc's web page. You'll see that they claim NOT to be harvesting information about you, so I think it safe. I only mention it because you may be reading stuff about your system from Windows screens that don't always report true-hardware specs, like RAM, video specs, etc. And good luck with all the "homework" you've now gotten!

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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    Hi, Big Al!

    Yes, sir, Belarc is safe and small and fast. It will gather ALL the info on your hardware/software in detail and provide an easy-to-read HTML report. It will let you know about all of the programs you forgot you installed and the versions, etc.

  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>Edited by WyllyWylly on 18-Jul-02 13:21.</P>I'm going to combine the answers to your last two posts. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    <hr>Maybe I'm just expecting too much from Windows XP.<hr>
    Maybe, maybe not. I expect a lot for the price of Windows XP, and they better deliver or I will not buy their products (they being the Dark Side, Redmond). You may benefit from additional RAM in the system. How much memory do you have now? And is your video card at least 32MB, AGP? Bottlenecks in XP are often because of the hardware it runs on.
    <hr>I have a 4 gig hard drive that I'm not using. Would you advise that I install this HD as the "swap file"<hr>
    If the drive is slower than the one you have (5400 RPM opposed to 7200 RP) then general practice recommends "no." I, on the other hand, say "yes" because it would be accessed simultaneously with your main drive, and that's always faster than having everything on the same drive. Period! Split your paging file across both drives. The size of the page file depends largely upon what you do with the PC and how much RAM you have installed - there is no magic formula or one-size-fits-all solution. You can also move your TEMP directories there, and Temporary Internet Files. I keep them separate for performance and so I can easily clean out the crud. To see how you set the TEMP directory, look at the next question/answer.
    <hr>if so, what do I need to do to set up the swap file on the second HD?<hr>
    You need to go into your system properties. There are three ways to get there. Right click on My Computer, or go into the Control Panel and find System. The third way is to press the Windows key + Pause/Break. When the System Properties dialog appears click on the Advanced tab. <UL><LI>Environment Variables are at the bottom of this dialog box. Click on the entry reading TEMP (or TMP). To make all of your temporary files move to the new location, you need to edit the entries for Global and User. Click the Edit button, and edit the TEMP entry in both sections (the top is for the current user, the bottom is global or system-wide regardless of who logs on). If you have a separate drive or partition set aside, enter the drive letter (in my case, it is drive letter "E:").<LI>In the section that reads Performance click on the button marked Settings. The first thing you will see is "Visual Settings" - click on the Advanced tab again. (seeing a trend here?) The swap file settings are at the bottom of this final dialog, under Virtual Memory. Click Change. For each partition on your system, you can set a Custom Size, system managed size, or no paging file. Highlight the partition, set the sizes in Custom, and then click Set.<LI>You will need to reboot to make these changes effective. Windows will also not delete any unused swap files left over after you change their location(s).[/list]
    <hr>what if I wanted to partition my 40gig HD with partition magic? Can I create the partition without having to reform that drive?<hr>
    With Partition Magic, yes. There are wizards to walk you through just about everything. Back up your important stuff first!!!!
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    -Mark

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Swap File (Paging) (Win XP Pro)

    <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>Which 50% was clear as mud?

    Dave, in all seriousness, I highly doubt that you have a page file problem. More likely, you have either a) too many background programs running or [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] the drive is fragmented so badly that it is slowing down access (unlikely).

    If you press CTRL+ALT+DEL do you see a lot of programs running? Look on the Processes tab to see how many things are going. There should be a fair number of cryptic looking entries, some of them normal - if you can jot down what you see. Also, make sure that the Show processes from all users checkbox is ticked.

    Other things that you can check into - Fast User Switching, if enabled, will allow more than one person to have programs eating resources. Look at how many little icons you have down by the clock - you should be able to kill some of those if there is a plethora of them.

    And, prepare yourself for a system rebuild, just in case your PC makes you feel homicidal. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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