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Swap Files in Vista

Last response: in Windows Vista
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December 9, 2008 10:53:06 AM

Hi all,

I have a completely noob question about Vista. I just purchased a copy of Vista Home Premium 64 Bit but have not yet installed it. Currently, I am running XP. With XP, I always created a separate partition for my swap file that was roughly about 5GB in size. My questions are this:

1. Does Vista also utilize a swap file or is that handled differently under Vista?
2. Can, and should, the swap file under Vista be placed on a separate partition?
3. What is the rule-of-thumb for determining the right size for your swap file under Vista?

I am also upgrading my system to the new i7 920 processor and will be using 6GB of triple channel DDR3 1333 memory in case that factors in to the decision on how big the swap file should be.

Thanks in advance for any guidance in this area, it’s much appreciated.

More about : swap files vista

December 9, 2008 11:36:22 AM

Vista and XP handle swap files the same way.
Changing to a different partition doesnt really offer a performance increase other than your defrag being a little tighter with the page file not being in the middle of the volume.
Changing the page file to a different physical drive will help to increase performance a bit as one drive can be writing while one is reading.

As for the size of the file the easiest is to let Windows decide the size.
If you want you can see what size it creates and possibly reduce that due to you having 6G memory and probably wont use it often anyway.

Also note that when installing Vista only put in 4G or less memory at first and then put the rest in later. Some systems dont like to install correctly with all of it in and there is really no way to tell which systems this happens to until it happens.
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December 9, 2008 2:23:19 PM

Thanks for the response. A couple follow up comments and questions:

1. Can I still only put in 4GB at first and then add the 3rd stick of 2GB afterwards when it is triple channel RAM? I thought all 3 sticks needed to go together.

2. I mostly like having the swap file on a different partition because I don’t want to include it in my backup image of my C: drive. Keeps the file size smaller and backups quicker.

3. I guess I was just trying to determine how much space I should allocate on the swap file partition in advance of installing Vista. In the past, I would set the partition sizes during the Windows install process as I don’t have a third-party application to adjust partition sizes from within Windows. Being that the swap file will be the only thing on that partition, I don’t want to allocate too much more space than is needed.

Thanks again.
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December 9, 2008 9:59:05 PM

1.) Yes
The DDR3 means that it can run at 3 times the data rate of the bus speed.
Without getting extremly technical imagine this. With ddr2 For each time the computers internal clock ticks the memory can do 2 things(say read read). They call this clock uptick and downtick. ( /\ ) Its difficult to explain,
But it mean 3 times the rate and not 3 times the capacity. It also doesnt require 3 sticks of memory.

2.)
I completly understand not wanting to backup the swap file as it is dynamic and ever changing, it couldnt help you in any way to save it. As I said above though if you can put it on another drive as it does increase performance a little. (and I mean a little. Youll see it but...)

3.)
My swap file on Vista32 with 4GB memory is only 3369MB yes MB.
Now remember this.. My computer isnt really doing anything other than this and the normal antivirus, 2 spywares, sidebar, and a joystick.
Also remember that my swap file is currently set by windows and could change itself if needed.
Two things are happening right now.
I have enough memory for standard tasks and possibly dont need more. (Yes I run games and it may change without my knowing)
I also have run it without any swap file and never had a crash. Thats not to say it was running at peak.


So I guess Im saying if you back up to cd, put it on a different partition at say 1GB for now and see how it goes or leave it alone and use the extra partition for storage.
Its also important to know that Vista can change the partition size of volumes internally where as previous versions couldnt.

4.) I have to hope that your moniker means that your a Florida Gators fan.
All I can say is that soon they will also believe...
and the goat ropers dont stand a chance!!!
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December 10, 2008 10:29:40 AM

Thanks for the explanations, I understand it alot better now.

I suppose it would also be a little better to put the swap file on a separate physical 10k Raptor as opposed to a separate 7200 RPM drive.

...and yes, I am a proud Gator fan. UF class of 1990. Soon time to notch another National Championship!
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December 10, 2008 2:04:27 PM

Actually I would use the 10K drive as the one that is used the most.
It will speed things up quite a bit.
As above, with the amount of memory that you will have you will find that the swap file isnt used near as much as in the past.
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December 10, 2008 7:30:03 PM

I have two 75GB Raptors and one 500GB WD 7200 RPM hard disk. My plan is to take Raptor number 1 and use that for the O/S and all my apps. Raptor number 2 will comprise of two partitions; one will be for the swap file alone and the other for my various backups and drive images. Lastly, my 500GB drive will have two partitions; one where all my personal files, photos, MP3’s, etc. live and the other where I have all my huge game installs.

Under this arrangement, I should have things setup the way I like while still getting the most out of my Raptors. I suppose it might be better to have my games running on one of the Raptors but the 75GB size will not hold all my games and I want to keep them all together on the same partition.

Well, thanks again for your advice, info and suggestions. It’s very much appreciated.
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December 10, 2008 9:25:01 PM

That sounds like a good setup.
I didnt realize you had as many drives thus as many options.
It looks like you have in hand.
Enjoy the game
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