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turn virtual memory off ??

Last response: in Memory
June 25, 2003 9:36:40 AM

running XP pro , A7N8X , 1 gig (2x512) corsair pc3200 running sync with barton 2500
what do you recommed virtual memory / page file size
what ever I do , I can't get windows to use the main memory first before going to page file. there's always 70-100 mb in task manager
should I turn it off
I've already set a fixed size for swap file i.e 1536-1536
or even 512-512 seems no difference
Am I being dumb & not even be concerned , because I wont notice any improvement anyways , or so

More about : turn virtual memory

June 25, 2003 12:29:54 PM

You should never completely turn Virtual Memory off, as some programs require it. Some programs won´t install or run, unless you have at least 32MB of Virtual Memory.
June 25, 2003 5:31:56 PM

WinXP is already using the physical memory before hitting the swap file; that's one of the changes that occurred with Win2K and WinXP in comparison to Win9x.

The Task Manager may show a certain amount being used, but if you look at the Page File Usage History, with that much RAM in the system, the chart is flat-lined.

You could always add a paging file <A HREF="" target="_new">performance counter</A> to monitor the file usage. That would give you a much better idea of what is actually going on within the system, and how large a paging file that you really need.

WinXP needs at least a 2MB paging file to boot without automatically creating the file, and making it a default size, based on the amount of RAM (although you might get away with a few reboots before this happens ... Windows isn't consistent in this area). Some applications also require for a paging file to be in place before installing or running correctly, but that's primarily with older programs and games (and in those situations, often look for the file on C: and complain if it is missing, regardless of whether or not the file actually exists, or where it might be located by user preference.)

I don't know where Tigr_K157 came up with the 32MB reference; but that sounds like a helpful "guess" to me. Maybe he had a program that mentioned this as being a minimum requirement for the installation.


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June 25, 2003 6:48:53 PM

Heh, back off with the personal stuff PAL! I just happen to notice that some apps. need 28-32MB of memory to run/install properly.

If you want to get personal, send me a private, my friend!
June 25, 2003 7:19:19 PM

There was nothing personal about what I posted; nor did I intend to offend anyone. I speculated that you had run into a situation, or installed a program that required a certain amount of virtual memory.

FYI, I have seen hundreds of posts at various forums that offered suggestions about the size of the paging file or virtual memory in all versions of Windows; the majority of the choices were ludicrous, and most were not based on fact. They were nothing but "guesses", at best. The users meant to be helpful, of that I am sure; but their <i>intent</i> didn't mean the information they provided was valid.

Which is exactly what I thought when I read your post. Again, no offense intended, but I stick to documented facts when I make a post. If needed, I can provide multiple links to justify my suggestions.

In the meantime, I suggest that you get a grip on yourself and make an attempt to avoid a flame war, since such a thing is pointless and completely unnecessary. Your response to my post is a common mistake often made by a user who is new to message boards, and has not yet learned enough <A HREF="" target="_new">Netiquette</A> on how to conduct him or herself online, and that includes comprehending what is written by another person, without assuming that such is a direct personal insult.

If you find <i>that</i> offensive as well, you should understand that it was meant as a friendly advisory, simply to help you avoid such situations in the future. Flaming is just not my style, and if you wish to enjoy your time spent on the 'Net, I'd recommend that you also avoid it too, if at all possible.

In the meantime, I would appreciate an update on the program that you installed in WinXP that required the specific amount of virtual memory you mentioned, so I can investigate your comments, since I have never seen such a thing myself, even after installing WinXP a couple of hundred times on various systems. My intellectual curiousity forces me to ask. For example, I have seen older games that predate WinXP require a 100MB paging file, but none that I can recall mentioned 32MB as a requirement. After all, what the <i>post</i> was about is how large the paging file should be in WinXP, and not about whether you were right or wrong.

You are welcome to PM <i>me</i> and fuss if you feel the need, but let's keep the other stuff off the public forum, if you don't mind.


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June 25, 2003 7:35:03 PM

overreact much?

Toey wasnt flaming you infact it was no where near a flame not even a little bit.

what are you 12 years old, if not you need to grow up cuz you shure act like it <--- thats a flame!

June 25, 2003 7:54:40 PM

Send me "privates" guys, this isn´t helping the guy in need out anyways! LOL
June 25, 2003 11:44:03 PM

I have had problems lately with two programs in Windows XP Pro, which did not install properly because I had set my swapfile to 10MB. It was a game, Fleet Command, and a Voice Recognition program, Dragon Naturally Speaking 6. Both would install proberly after allowing Windows to handle the swapfile. A telephone-supporter from Medion in Germany told me to let Windows handle the swapfile, and that 10MB was way too low, he said about 30-40MB minimum.
June 26, 2003 12:50:34 AM

Thanks for the info ... it's much appreciated! It's comments like this that make a real difference.

However, what you were told is an interesting conflict in terms. If Windows handles the paging file, it is automatically set with a minimum number that is 1.5 x the physical RAM in the system, with the upper limit being variable, but normally twice the lower limit, to allow paging. To use a paging file of 30-40MB, the user would <i>have</i> to make the change manually.

It's no surprise that certain program and games require a paging file to be present, which is why Microsoft recommends not disabling the paging file unless there is at least 768MB of system memory.

Personally, though, even with a system with 1GB of memory, I've run into instances where Windows automatically reset the paging file size after a reboot (and once while a program was running) ... the most recent incident that comes to mind is when installing and using Adobe Photoshop 7.

In my experience, it's best to have a customized paging file, based on the actual realtime usage of the virtual memory by the system, instead of trying to run the computer without a paging file entirely. The size varies ... and there is no set "best" amount. Much depends on the configuration, such as the type of third-party programs installed, which often determines the principle usage of the system in question. This is why I recommended installing a system monitor counter for the paging file.

Normally, on most systems, in order to remove any possible problems related to this area, I create a custom paging file of 768MB, and leave it at that. If the user wishes to alter this amount, that's all well and good, and I'll send information to make the change as painless as possible. But otherwise, I think this is the closest thing to an average, reasonable amount for a desktop system.

With a two hard drive system, I normally create a 2MB file for the primary partition, and place the other 766MB on the first partition of the slaved drive. Then, even if the slaved drive fails, there will still be sufficient virtual memory to boot the system.

This can be especially important when using images to recreate multiple partitions on a new, replacement hard drive.


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June 26, 2003 6:08:02 AM

for what it's worth, I just happened to come across this question somewhere else and here is the answer that was given there, by a "microsoft mvp":

"I strongly recommend not disabling the paging file. In Windows XP there are even some new reasons why you screw yourself if you do that. Short explanation: Programs ask Windows to allocate far more RAM for them than they actually need, and these allocations all have to be mapped even though the memory is never used. If you disable the pagefile, this has to map to physical RAM and it actually consumes that RAM. However, if you have the pagefile enabled, the mappings of unused allocations will all go to the pagefile and not absorb RAM.

I recommend you read Alex Nichol's article on the subject on this site: "
June 26, 2003 11:23:30 AM

You do not get it. The supporter from Medion told me to let Windows handle the swapfile, but if I really wanted to do it myself he would advice a minimum of 30-40MB.

You asked for programs that needed a minimum swapfile, and I gave you two examples of programs that needed more than 10MB. I do not know which programs the TIGR dude has been using, but in my own experience about 32MB of swapfile as a minimum, as he suggested, seems ok to me.
June 26, 2003 12:37:36 PM

An excellent read: thanks for posting the link, yabanci. This is much better information that I provided in showing users why the paging file shouldn't be disabled, even in WinXP.

Chael: I understand what you meant now; thanks for the clarification.

On a personal note, I wish to comment that with a 768MB paging file, even if the upper limit is fixed, I have yet to open a file or use a program that called for expansion, but I <i>have</i> seen it occur with systems that had a paging file with a fixed size of 512MB or less. This would be with systems that had at least 512MB of RAM, as I don't install anything less in the desktop computers I build that use Win2K or WinXP.

In any case, with a file of this size, fragmentation has never been an issue, even if the upper limit is managed by Windows, and no actual paging has ever occurred.

This is why I find it unnecessary to create a partition specifically for the paging file. I have run across instances where this has been recommended, and with true 32-bit operating systems like Win2K and WinXP, this should be unnecessary. The principle reason that I prefer to move the bulk of the file off on the first partition of a slaved drive is so when backing up the primary partition with an imaging program, the paging file isn't included. This speeds up the process, and lessens the amount of CD-R's needed for the image files.


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