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    Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    I have a ThinkPad laptop model 600E (397 MHz), 288 megs RAM (maxed out) and a 10 gig hard drive. When I installed XP, I installed the OS in a separate partition from the rest as described by CaptainCode in this <!post=post,132502>post<!/post>. I tend to keep a lot of windows open when I work 'cause I dislike waiting for the startup time. Some of these windows are pretty heavy applications, like Outlook, Word and Excel, and I try to remember to reboot once a day to clear things out. Sometimes I have to reboot more often when I observe that minimizing a window results in a slow down-wipe instead of the window just disappearing. Anyway, with all this going on, I was noticing what seemed an incredible amount of swapping going on when I clicked from, say, Outlook to Excel or Word to IE. For example, right now I have 4 IE, Outlook (editor=Word), Word, and two WIndow explorer windows open - one active, this one. At the time I had only 192 MB of RAM so I added another 64 megs, which helped a little.

    So, I thought I'd be smart and repartition the hard drive into three partitions and give the paging file its own partition. I carved out 800 MB and set up a paging file of minimum size 400 MB and max 790. Well, I seem to be running into very similar swapping times. It appears to have helped some but certainly not as much as I had thought it would.

    Am I expecting too much performance from my laptop? Or are there some thing(s) I could change to improve this?

    Thanks,
    Al
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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Al,
    Doing all that work with all of those windows open and only having 288MB of RAM is really asking a lot of your system. I don't know how old the ThinkPad is, but if it can accept and the RAM is available for it, I would definitely go for an upgrade to at least 512 or more of RAM. Giving the pagefile it's own partition may help a LITTLE, but I wouldn't expect miracles from it. <img src=/S/nope.gif border=0 alt=nope width=15 height=15>

    Bob
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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Al, in addition to what's been said in this thread already, there is a vigorous and interesting discussion of the swap file starting with this post on the XP board. As has been noted and you have seen...the page file being by itself isn't helping. It's paging excessively because of RAM. XP with 256MB is a bare minimum in my experience; you'd notice a great improvement by doubling that to 512MB.

    Another part of the problem is the processor speed, which won't be as significant a factor with more RAM. You could get away from the visual styles and use the "classic" shell in display properties, which has a much smaller footprint. An updated video driver may help as well, this can play a significant role in performance. And, anything you can eliminate from running in the background - services you don't use, startup programs - will also help.

    You shouldn't need to reboot on a regular basis. If the excessive paging activity were to cease, I imagine you'd find it completely unnecessary. In the meantime, you might try changing the swap file settings to the same minimum and maximum number, thus preventing the OS from resizing it on the fly.
    -Mark

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    WinXP will never run at it's full capacity, nor does it do well, on small Proccessors.
    The only way your going to see a performance gain with the Swap file is if it is on a different Drive. And that Drive would have to be the same speed {RPM's}, as your OS's Drive and not slower, for you to notice a difference. Viking is right, you need more Memory, but I'm not sure how much more your going to get out of 397 MHZ of Proccessor even with more Memory running WinXp. I know because I tried it on a Pent 450MHZ with plenty of Memory. And WinXP loves Memory like a kid loves candy.

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Thanks, everyone. Mark, thanks, in particular, for the pointer to the swap file post. I knew that I'd read one in the nightly threads but I didn't make a note of it and, without the lounge search function, I couldn't locate it.

    As far as RAM goes, I'm stuck - maxed out. This is a 1998-vintage ThinkPad and its max memory is 256MB.

    So, I'll either follow your suggestions about limiting the number of windows and removing startup functions I don't use regularly or just live with it until I can buy a more up-to-date laptop.

    One last question - given all this, would I be just as well off giving the paging-file partition back to the program files partition and fixing the paging file size as Mark suggests?

    Thanks,
    Al
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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    That stinks that you can't upgrade the RAM - I too had a similar vintage ThinkPad (X series, PIII 400) and it went up to 512. <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>

    Al, all things being equal, you should probably move it wherever the operating system is - if you have the space. If not, it will probably be just as well on its own partition, with equal minimum and maximum sizes. Another thought that occurred to me is to check your display settings and make sure they are set to 16 bit color instead of 32, because that too will make a large difference on an older system with XP.
    -Mark

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    <pre>RE: check your display settings and make sure they are set to 16 bit color instead of 32</pre>

    Done - they were set to 32-bit color.

    I can move the swap file to the OS partition if I re-partition the paging-file partition into that for the OS. If I do that, would a min-max setting of, say, 600MB be sufficient? The VM manager is recommending 430MB on a pretty regular basis.

    Thanks,
    Al
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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Hi Al,

    I'd think 600MB would be plenty so long as you don't do any CAD work on the laptop. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> I usually go by the recommended size plus 100MB, which still puts you ahead. Since you already have it separated though, I'd first try leaving it where it is and just setting the min/max to the same value there, rather than go through a repartitioning exercise. At least this way, it won't get fragmented.
    -Mark

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    One advantage to the pf on it's own partition, however, is that it will not become fragmented. With the pf on a frequently used partition, and having it set to window's managed size (meaning dynamic), there can be fragmentation, when windows wants some of the territory it gave up back, and that space is now used by something else. A fragmented pagefile can slow things down quite a bit. There is a pagefile defragmenter utility floating around the web for free, I can dig it up if you want, but once you have the pf in it's own partition in one piece (or set at a single size in one piece) you will not have to fragment it again. It's only when it's on a partition with other stuff, and it's size is dynamic, that it can get chopped up.

    kip

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Mark,

    Thanks - Looks good. Stopping the swap file from becoming fragmented was also one of my reasons for moving it to its partition.
    Al
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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Well golllllly, look what I found in my favorites: pagedefrag . I knew I had it here somewhere......

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Yeah I have a program called Perfect Disk that will Defrag everything and anything.

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Thanks for searching, jkipk. They have great software, don't they?
    Al
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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    Thanks for pointing to Page Defrag. I'm still curious--do certain activities like installing and uninstalling applications frequently (and I guess this would depend on how cleanly particular applications install and uninstall) or certain types of software like graphics or video intensive software) cause 1) more fragmentation in general and 2) and impact fragmentation of the paging file in particular?

    Thanks,

    SMBP

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    Re: Paging File - Own Disk Partition (WXP, SP1)

    <hr>do certain activities like installing and uninstalling applications frequently 1) cause more fragmentation in general<hr>
    Yes, creating/removing directories and writing chunks of data cause this. Application installs/removals and general use will cause fragmentation. As disk space is reduced it becomes more problematic because there are fewer places for the OS to write a contiguous piece of data. Any application that writes frequently to disk can cause fragmentation problems.
    <hr>2) and impact fragmentation of the paging file in particular<hr>
    No, the problem with a fragmented page file results from it sizing itself. In NT based operating systems the paging file is set retained from boot to boot, so as long as it doesn't grow, it doesn't split up. This is why setting the minimum and maximum values for the swap file are the best solution because it prevents growth and subsequent fragementation.
    -Mark

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