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Secondary HDD, initial setup questions

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June 22, 2012 5:55:19 PM

I've been doing some research on here, and other sites, about moving my pagefile to a separate harddrive (my PC at work isn't up to my standards!) and I can't seem to make heads or tails of which options I should select for the partition format.


What I (think I) know - If incorrect, please revise:

the pagefile should be statically (minimum and maximum sizes set to identical values) sized to 1.5x the amount of physical RAM installed on the PC.

it is best to have NO page file on the drive your OS runs off of but rather on a separate physical drive, on a separate SATA channel.

the partition to which the pagefile is to be written to should be at the beginning of the drive to expedite short[er]-stroking.

shutdown will be faster if pagefile dumping is disabled.


What I don't know:

should the pagefile partition be the same size as the pagefile or should it have a little "room to breathe"?

what is the best filesystem and allocation unit size to use when formatting the drive?

is it better to have the swapfile on the secondary drive as well? and, if so; where is it located, how do i move it and where do I re-locate it to?


System Configuration:

Windows 7 SP1, 64-bit
8GB physical RAM
500GB physical HDD
500GB physical HDD **to be added for pagefile, swapfile, & user files/documents**
a c 289 G Storage
June 22, 2012 6:05:25 PM

You probably can't make head or tail of it because it doesn't matter that much.

Some people will statically size their pagefiles, mostly to prevent fragmentation, some will not.
Unless you have a dedicated drive for the pagefile, my opinion is that this will not make much of a difference.
Pagefile dumping only occurs when you get the blue screen of death (or certain other OS failures). It should not effect normal shutdown times.
Making a short partition for the pagefile will show the most benefit if the only partition on the drive contains the pagefile. If there is other data which is used a lot during normal operations, doing this will cause more head movement and slow you down.

Windows does not, as far as I know, have a pagefile and a swapfile. Just one, pagefile.sys. The other big one, hiberfile.sys, is for when your system is hibernated, if you do that.

I sincerely doubt that pagefile slowness is the root of whatever performance problem you are having. If it is, you would benefit more by increasing the physical memory in the machine. What kind of problem are you having (besides "slow"), and what lead you to suspect the pagefile as your bottleneck?
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June 22, 2012 6:25:57 PM

Slow startup times and in particular, initial login startup. my PC is on a central server so I suspect that has more to do with it (programs or services loading from the server as opposed to the local drive) than the amount of RAM i have installed, i would think 8GB should be more than enough for the programs i typically run (Office 2010, Visio, multiple explorer windows, sometimes multiple instances of adobe acrobat standard x displaying high-resolution multi-page files, and a web browser). I also wasn't entirely clear on the role(s) that RAM and a pagefile play in the processing of information, if they differ at all.

thanks for the response
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a c 289 G Storage
June 27, 2012 1:11:02 PM

jchap1590 said:
I also wasn't entirely clear on the role(s) that RAM and a pagefile play in the processing of information, if they differ at all.

The RAM is the working memory. The processor (CPU) does not have direct access to the disk drives or other storage units; anything it needs has to be written to RAM first. To run a program the program, or at least the section of it that is running now, must be in the RAM. In addition, all of the data that the program uses, and all of the space that is used for "working memory", which you can think of as intermediate results or scratch paper, must be in the RAM. This includes not just your programs but the entire operating system, your antivirus, and anything else that runs.

If the total amount of things that have to be in the RAM at a given time is bigger than the actual RAM, the system will write the least-recently used (approximately) section of the RAM to the pagefile and then use the space that was freed up. The next time the CPU tries to access data that was in that space originally, the process will be reversed and the copy in the pagefile will be read back into the RAM.

So having enough RAM that the system doesn't have to page speeds things up. Note that with Windows there is always some pagefile activity, even if you have enough RAM. Don't know why.

More than you ever wanted to know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pagefile
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June 27, 2012 3:45:28 PM

Best answer selected by jchap1590.
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