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Memory and Windows swap file

Last response: in Windows 95/98/ME
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July 29, 2001 11:49:06 AM

I've got 256 MB of DDR-DRAM in my PC, and I've heard that when you've got that much memory, you can benifit from turning off the windows swap file. What do you guys think of that?
July 29, 2001 12:45:14 PM

It would depend on a few things:

How many apps do you run at once?
How hungry are the apps you run?
How often do you re-start the computer (refresh you're memory).

Right now my Resourse meter is at 87% / 87% / 90% and on the system monitor I have approx 130MB unused memory and a 40MB unused swap file.

I think Windows assigns one anyway, just in case.

Try it. If it doesn't work, you can always re-enable it.

The argument is, if Windows doesn't spend its time re-sizing the swapfile it gets on with other stuff. The down side to this is if you don't allocate enough space, things really slow down and sometimes stop.

I've a game which recommends a minimum of 128MB RAM and 500MB of free disk space for swapfile. If you're running games, I'd leave it alone.

<b>
"Now drop your weapons or I'll kill him with this deadly jelly baby." :wink:
</b>
Anonymous
a b } Memory
July 29, 2001 1:49:28 PM

you should NEVER turn off virtual memory in win 98/me. many applications wont run unless there is a swapfile available. a better approach would be to limit windows use of the swap file. check this out:

First, right-click on "My Computer" and select Properties. Now, select the Performance tab and then click the Virtual Memory button. Select "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings." The amount of total memory (physical memory + virtual memory) we want is about 512MB, so do a little math. For example, if you have 128MB of RAM, you want 384MB of virtual memory. After you calculate how much virtual memory you need (512 - your total physical RAM), enter this number in both the "Minimum" and "Maximum" boxes. Click OK, and Windows will give you a warning that it's not in control of the virtual memory anymore. The computer will also want to restart for the changes to take effect. Don't do that yet, as there's one more step.

Now we will tell Windows to use all the available physical RAM BEFORE it starts using the virtual memory. This will keep the hard drive from being accessed so often. To make this setting, click the Start button and select Run. Type "sysedit" (no quotes) and press enter. This will bring up five files; the one we're interested in is SYSTEM.INI, so select it. In this file, you'll find a section that starts with [386Enh]. (There are all sorts of entries under this heading that say things like "device=*vcd.") At the bottom of this section (before the next set of brackets), enter this statement (no quotes): "ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1". This turns the conservative swap file usage on, meaning that Windows will only use the virtual memory (i.e., access your hard drive) when it's out of physical RAM.

Save this change, close the System Configuration Editor, reboot your system

Now you're rockin!!!!! Keep this little hack to yourself! (ha ha).


ignore everything i say
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July 29, 2001 7:27:38 PM

I always hit that checkmark on xsetup that says "don't use virtual until available is used up". I always figured it was a registry hack, but it's under the system.ini?

With 110,000+ entries in a friggin registry, I manually play with it as little as possible; except to clear out stupid entries left by winace/media player/acrobat........
Anonymous
a b } Memory
July 29, 2001 8:26:06 PM

yeah, its in system.ini......its an easy hack and really helps game performance, especially if you use 256 mb of ram or more.

ignore everything i say
July 30, 2001 9:24:07 AM

yep, I'll agree with that too, it does give a decent performance boost.
Also, you mention some apps not working with the swap file diabled, could you give an example please? (I know someone who turned it off, I said it was a bad idea but it seemed to run ok)


Next time you wave - use all your fingers
July 30, 2001 11:47:15 AM

antivirus, I have done the same thing to my system.ini file but for some reason MS-DOS will not start now see my post unable to start MS-DOS. Do you have any ideas how I can fix this? Thanks!
DB
July 30, 2001 5:08:59 PM

This sounds interesting.
But is it necessary if you have 512Mb of RAM?
512-512=0


<font color=green>I miss the smell of leaded gasoline!</font color=green>
Anonymous
a b } Memory
July 30, 2001 7:54:58 PM

heh, somebody always asks that. back in the day when i was working on figuring this stuff out (98 swap file) to improve my game performance, it was pretty rare to have 256 mb of ram, let alone 512. i mean, i had 256 and my buddies did as well, but we didnt have 512, and nobody i knew did either. however, in your situation I would say that given the conservative swap file addition to the system.ini, you will almost certainly never access you swap file anyway if you have 512 mb of ram. still, you should have something there for those legacy apps that stubbornly refuse to accept that ram is so cheap and wont run without checking on your swap file. Plus, hdd are so cheap, i know you can spare 100 mb or so. set the min and max to 100 mb or somewhere around there.

ignore everything i say
Anonymous
a b } Memory
July 30, 2001 8:00:36 PM

calv, i cant make my poor, tired brain come up with any examples of apps that require a swap file to run. When learning this stuff a couple years ago and experimenting with different values and stuff, i know i ran into some games and other programs that wouldnt run without a swap file. It may be that subsequent windows updates, or better program coding has reduced the number of these on the market, but you advice against disabling the swap file is still totally valid. There is no need to be that daring. windows is finicky enough without asking for trouble by diabling virtual memory! I can see how people would do that though, if they didnt know how to hack the system.ini file. all that disk accessing is seriously irritating!!!!

ignore everything i say
July 31, 2001 12:59:33 PM

Thanks for the reply, aparantly the system with the swapfile disabled runs like a dream (makes you wonder if its readly win98!!) so I suppose if he's happoy, then fine, as always different configs/hardware/apps etc just make it so hard to compare and say whats "right" and "wrong". I want the system to fall over - not in a nasty way but he asked my opinion and then ignored me lol.


Next time you wave - use all your fingers
Anonymous
a b } Memory
July 31, 2001 3:16:02 PM

yeah, i hate when you give advice and then they not only ignore you but everything runs well for them! Why is it that guys who take every precaution and do things by the book always have to come here to get help with our nightmare systems and these hacks who completely disregard tradition seem to go happily along there way? WTF!?!

Plus, stuff like that always irks me cause the other guy invariably walks away going...'gee, he doesnt know what hes talkin about' cause it works when i said it was dangerous. I once told a guy some app couldnt be downloaded (for whatever silly reason), and to prove it i sent him a link to the manufactuers web site. turns out, that the manufacturer had made a demo version available to the public like the day before and it said so right on the first paragraph of the link i sent him! jesus, i never lived that down.......

ignore everything i say
July 31, 2001 6:29:09 PM

I have a friend who claimed he was getting problems with a device driver for his scroll mouse. He asked me what the problem was, saying he had downloaded the drivers from the MS site.

I wasn't sure, but I suspected the start-up config or presense of old mouse drivers or something, so I said I'll come round in a few days.

He asked me if he would need to format his C: to fix it. I said NO don't do this.

Well guess what he did...

His system was a pre-built OEM job, so he had no software and no back-ups. Seriously!!! He didn't have a back-up of his files, even on a floppy disk.

A couple of days later he phoned me to tell me he score.

I laughed long and loud. He hung up. He doesn't phone me for questions anymore. Its as if he thinks its my fault.

Nowt as queer as folk.

<b>
"Now drop your weapons or I'll kill him with this deadly jelly baby." :wink:
</b>
August 6, 2001 9:33:15 PM

If you still want to ensure the use of Virtual Memory in case of apps needing it but also want the benefit of added speed you could do:

1. The already recommended fixing the Min/Max size.
2. OR, create a small 250Mb (or whatever you choose) drive partition specifically set aside for the virtual ram. Mandrake Linux did this automatically on my Linux Partition (dual boot machine)

I did step 2 and don't have any problems. You will get a message saying that the drive space is full. Maybe setting the virtual memory to slightly smaller than the partition size would fix this. (I just haven't gotten around to trying this)


Catheter and Caffeine IV are in place. Let's PLAY.
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