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Is it safe to disable paging file with 4GB RAM in XP 32Bit

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February 27, 2008 11:57:14 AM

Hi all,
As the title says, i want to know that is it safe to disable the windows paging file? I have just purchased Corsair XMS2 4GB RAM and my XP X86 is reading 3.24GB RAM. My rig is used solely for gaming purpose, no photoshop like memory eating programs. Also i think that a single application can use upto a maximum of 2GB RAM in 32bit operating systems so it leaves 1.24GB for other minor applications and i have a habbit of closing almost all background tasks when running games so will i be safe?
I am tired of hdd access all the time in "The Sims 2" and other games :fou: 
Thanks for any help.
Regards,
Sohaib
a b } Memory
February 27, 2008 12:04:36 PM

I wouldn't recommend totally disabling it. Some programs look for the page file and throw errors/lock if it isn't there at all. Instead, I would turn it down to some minimal amount - 512MB, 256 MB, whatever...
February 27, 2008 12:17:49 PM

What about mapping the paging file to a USB jump drive? It is faster than hitting the HD.
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a b } Memory
February 27, 2008 12:18:54 PM

Its more of a worse case you crash(apps error out ect this should not hurt anything permanently, worse case you have to turn it back on) type of thing. so try it and see how it goes :) 
a b } Memory
February 27, 2008 12:20:58 PM

USB drives are slower in megabytes per second then the hard drive but faster for seek times.
February 27, 2008 12:34:13 PM

50bmg said:
What about mapping the paging file to a USB jump drive? It is faster than hitting the HD.


I don't think that would be a wise thing to do... The USB transfer rate is a lot slower that the HD's.
February 27, 2008 12:44:33 PM

Thanks all for the input.
hmm, i will try it today to see if i get any crashes in the games i most oftenly play, if i don't get any problem then i will keep it.
another thing i wanna ask that i have 2 hdd's in my pc, 1 hdd contains the OS and the other hdd contains games only (so hdd reading should be a bit fast) so will it make any difference in games if i move my page file to the other hdd that contain games?
February 27, 2008 1:36:13 PM

That will kill the usb key a lot faster than normal usage. Make a new 1 to 2GB partition on the second hard drive and set the page file to the new partition. That would help a great deal with file fragmentation.
February 27, 2008 2:08:03 PM

Like sugessted above, I wouldn't totaly disable the paging file. you could minimize it to 256MB or less. I still think you might find that things won't go so well if you completely disable the file. I guess the usb drive idea might work, at 480Mbps it is fast. though I'm not to sure what the results might be.
February 27, 2008 2:35:20 PM

Using a USB key is a really interesting idea. The sequential reads would be slower, but the access times would be a lot better, which is probably more important for the paging file. Like someone said though it wouldn't last forever under that kind of workload, I've heard of people damaging solid state disks in a matter of hours under intense read/write cycles, still I might try it with a $5 key. If anyone has any experience with this please chime in and tell me how it works.
February 27, 2008 2:40:10 PM

50bmg said:
What about mapping the paging file to a USB jump drive? It is faster than hitting the HD.

usb has hi cpu uses maybe if you had a firewire key or a CF / flash drive on a ide / sata bus.
February 27, 2008 2:48:52 PM

Safe? Sure, nothing will break.

Recommended? No. There are numerous articles all over the web about how disabling the paging file hurts performance regardless of the amount of total memory.
February 27, 2008 3:07:58 PM

I run 2003 with 8gb ram. I disabled my pagefile and noticed a small increase in speed for 90% of my system. When I start to do SQL database stuff.. Then I start to get problems...

I wouldnt recommend it for only 4.. (or 3.2 as you get in 32 bit)
February 27, 2008 3:15:46 PM

I have a computer with 2 gigs of ram and I've never had a memory error with paging off.
February 27, 2008 3:44:12 PM

That USB idea sure sounds cool. Does anyone has a personal experience of doing that?
I just played The Sims 2 and TES IV Oblivion for nearly 3 hours with paging off without any problem but this is not enough for testing i think.
@bombasschi cken
My rig is solely for gaming, no SQL database stuff or other programming/graphics designing etc here.
February 27, 2008 4:39:10 PM

Ya, your fine for disabling the page file, as long as you don't work with heavy photoshop files and video editing software.

I would run memtest86+ just to make sure you don't get any errors in your memory. If that goes well, go nuts turning the page file off!
a b } Memory
February 27, 2008 6:57:06 PM

Sohaib said:
That USB idea sure sounds cool. Does anyone has a personal experience of doing that?
I just played The Sims 2 and TES IV Oblivion for nearly 3 hours with paging off without any problem but this is not enough for testing i think.
@bombasschi cken
My rig is solely for gaming, no SQL database stuff or other programming/graphics designing etc here.

Was there a noticable performance boost?

Also usb is 480 megabits per second so 480 / 8 to get megabytes. thats 60 megabytes/sec. and the overhead of usb tends to push it down into the 40's or lower, its the access times that may help...

If you got lots of money to blow, get a gigabyte Iram and 4 x 1 gig sticks of DDR(yes DDR1, thats what it takes)and page on that thing. 150 megs/sec(since its limited to its sata1 interface.) and 0.1ms(if i remember 1 right) access times.

I may have to try turning it off to see what difference, if any, it makes.
February 27, 2008 10:46:38 PM

Scotteq said:
I wouldn't recommend totally disabling it. Some programs look for the page file and throw errors/lock if it isn't there at all. Instead, I would turn it down to some minimal amount - 512MB, 256 MB, whatever...


Can you give an example of a program that cannot run without the paging file?
February 27, 2008 10:57:08 PM

I disabled the paging file. When I looked in Task Manager XP was still paging, go figure.
February 27, 2008 11:46:58 PM

You're looking at the "PF" usage? That is not the paging file, so that is okay
February 27, 2008 11:59:46 PM

dengamle said:
You're looking at the "PF" usage? That is not the paging file, so that is okay


UMM... I might be missing something but why is there a chart Next to that meter that reads "Page File Usage History" that seems to make a graph based on that meter. I always assumed that that showed Page file Usage

As for Zorg you have to make sure to apply the changes and reboot, although that doesn't seem to always stop windows from paging. It seems to have its own ideas about how much page file it needs
February 28, 2008 12:16:46 AM

fantastapotamus said:
UMM... I might be missing something but why is there a chart Next to that meter that reads "Page File Usage History" that seems to make a graph based on that meter. I always assumed that that showed Page file Usage

As for Zorg you have to make sure to apply the changes and reboot, although that doesn't seem to always stop windows from paging. It seems to have its own ideas about how much page file it needs
Yeah, I applied and left it that way for a few days. Then I changed it back.
February 28, 2008 3:45:14 AM

page file is basically a fallback option for your computer. how ever microsoft have built windows to page all data that isnt in high demand.

turning page file off will improve system performance but if it does run out of memory. your computer will freeze or BSOD.
this could cause some file corruptions on your system(very rare)

for you simply gaming with xp and 4gb of ram. you should be fine (thier is a way to get the full 4 gb on a 32bit system google it i cant remember how to do it)
January 21, 2009 6:01:36 PM


I have been running the page file off for months now on a 4 GB, 64 Bit Vista laptop with no issues. Once the app or game is loaded, it performs very well. I say go for it - and if you run into problems with a particular program, then you'll know to enable it again.
April 23, 2011 12:58:54 PM

In terms of gaming and running single applications of any kind, you will not get any performance boost by disabling the page file. Hard drive accesses that occur while you are running a single application are simply the application loading from the hard drive installation (assuming you have enough ram). If your computer is accessing the page file while you are running a single application, is means you need more ram and if you disable the page file in this case, your computer will crash. Disabling the page file will help performance if you are running more than one application at a time especially if the applications are running for a long time, or not being used often. If you wish to increase the loading performance of games, then you should consider buying a high speed solid state hard drive (expensive).
May 2, 2011 5:41:42 AM

Yes I will go by your saying completely, if some file is not being used then you should get it disabled.
May 2, 2011 2:51:42 PM

Sohaib said:
Hi all,
As the title says, i want to know that is it safe to disable the windows paging file? I have just purchased Corsair XMS2 4GB RAM and my XP X86 is reading 3.24GB RAM. My rig is used solely for gaming purpose, no photoshop like memory eating programs. Also i think that a single application can use upto a maximum of 2GB RAM in 32bit operating systems so it leaves 1.24GB for other minor applications and i have a habbit of closing almost all background tasks when running games so will i be safe?
I am tired of hdd access all the time in "The Sims 2" and other games :fou: 
Thanks for any help.
Regards,
Sohaib


I have been running XP with 3GB ram on two computers with the pagefile disabled for years. It has caused no problems with memory-hungry MS Office, with memory-hungry games -- in their day -- like Battlefield, etc. In watching my memory usage, I have never seen the pagefile go higher than 1.8GB, so 3GB allows a significant amount of headroom.

One of the commenters above suggested that some applications will throw out a warning message if such app finds that a pagefile is not present. The only application I know of that does that is Photoshop, which you specifically noted you don't use.

I say go for it. It's really nice to not have my hard drive clicking up a storm for no reason -- it preserves the hard drive life. Additionally, switching between windows is much faster with all of the windows in RAM rather than having some stored in the pagefile.

I personally don't even bother with closing the background apps. 3.24GBs of memory is an insane amount for XP and the RAM doesn't work noticeably slower when it has 2Gigs of data on it vs none. In essence -- it's not very time-consuming for the RAM to find somewhere to stuff your data.
May 2, 2011 2:59:33 PM

crazytnt said:
In terms of gaming and running single applications of any kind, you will not get any performance boost by disabling the page file. Hard drive accesses that occur while you are running a single application are simply the application loading from the hard drive installation (assuming you have enough ram). If your computer is accessing the page file while you are running a single application, is means you need more ram and if you disable the page file in this case, your computer will crash. Disabling the page file will help performance if you are running more than one application at a time especially if the applications are running for a long time, or not being used often. If you wish to increase the loading performance of games, then you should consider buying a high speed solid state hard drive (expensive).


This is plainly incorrect. Windows XP will make frequent updates to the page file. It will do this any time anything in memory is changing -- so basically all the time. Keep an eye on your hard drive light when all you're doing is playing Windows Solitaire. It will definitely be clicking away, even with AV scanning disabled.
December 26, 2011 12:43:13 PM

There's a setting in 32 bit windows that allows for any amount of memory to work. If I'm not mistaken, it's called P.A.E. Go check it out, & see if I'm right. I hope I am.
December 10, 2012 1:36:51 AM

^^This is funny :p  I looked it up after reading this, Microsoft's Website say's (If you have 4gb ram or more and a SSD make your paging file 1024mb) It also states no matter what do not totally disable it. They also mention if you don't have both, (4gb ram and also a SSD) There is no reason to mess with the Paging file, and too leave it at its (default settings) and let windows 7 do its thing. Have fun, I hope I helped and made this more clear for you.

If you totally disable it or go under 1024mb, and your PC crashes, app's don't start, app's crash, or freeze, then you will no what the problem is.
!