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swap file

  • Virtual Memory
  • Partition
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
April 17, 2003 6:14:07 PM

I made another partition on my drive and named it swapfile, it is a 2gig partition and set it to low 768 and max 1536. does this sound OK. I went into virtual memory and set the standards there. Bruce

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More about : swap file

April 18, 2003 3:19:16 AM

Well, that all depends. Exactly what were you trying to accomplish, Bruce?

I agree that moving the paging file to another partition other than the one that contains the operating system can be a good idea ... with certain items taken under consideration. For instance, I rarely run a system unless I have two hard drives; one just isn't enough for the programs I choose to run, and how I want the file system set up for my personal documents. I also use no less than 512MB of memory ever since first running Win2K, so I expect little or no paging of the virtual memory on the drive, even when multi-tasking, regardless of whether WinXP controls the paging file, or if I change the settings manually. Finally, I also move the file because when I image (backup) the system partition, I prefer to keep the files as small as possible, simply to keep the CD-R disks to a low minimum when I copy/burn the image files that are on the hard drive. Why compress and copy a 768MB (or larger) file that really isn't needed for Windows to run after an image is reinstalled ... after all, 2MB is sufficient to start the OS without running into any error messages. That's why I have two paging files ... 2MB in the system partition, and 766MB elsewhere.

With these things in mind, I usually move the paging file to the first partition on the slaved hard drive. I could do exactly what you have done, (create a partition specifically for the file), but I usually don't bother. The simple fact is, the only reason I even keep the file around is to keep Windows from complaining, and because certain programs still require the existence of a swap file, such as Photoshop.

However ... let try a different scenario. Let's assume I was running a system with just one hard drive and a lower amount of physical memory, such as 128MB. In that case, I'd leave the paging file in the system partition, so that when Windows needed to access the virtual memory quickly, it wouldn't need to read across half the platter to find the file. I'd also prefer to keep the OS within the first 1024 cylinders on the hard drive, especially with an older system, because it's remotely possible that the BIOS might have difficulty accessing data past this point (1023 cylinders is around 8GB.) Note: With LBA, and a BIOS that supports this, the infamous 1024-cylinder limit should be a non-issue.) But because of this, I'd probably refrain from creating a partition on a single drive (at the top of the drive) just to hold the paging file, and then install the OS in the <i>next</i> partition. Out of habit, (and to avoid any potential problems) I tend to keep the bootable, active partition that contains the boot files at the top of the drive.

To me, it sounds like what you have done (and correct me if I'm wrong) is create a second partition on a single hard drive <i>after</i> the OS has already been installed, and then you changed the settings so that the paging file is in this new partition. Wherever in the heck it may be located.

Okay ... that's all well and good. It shouldn't affect your system performance to any great degree (pro or con), unless the system is rather low on physical memory and accesses the file frequently. For example, I wouldn't take a low-memory system, partition the drive into half-a-dozen partitions, stick the paging file into the partition farthermost from the top, and then expect that I had increased the system performance, simply because the file is isolated. Actually, I should expect the reverse, although nothing particularly drastic, especially with Win2K or WinXP ... but more so with Win9x.

However, after that lengthy (and perhaps useless) read, here's my point. Again, exactly what were you trying to accomplish? Are you running graphic arts or CAD/CAM programs that require a large swap file? Are you hoping to minimize fragmentation in the file by isolating it in a separate partition (which by implication, means that file may have frequent access)? Is there a reason for setting aside this much disk space, but not actually using all of it for the virtual memory? If I had a 2GB partition just for the virtual memory, I'd be using all the free space in the partition for the file, which would seem to be the reason for the partition's existence in the first place, unless I'm missing something in the translation.

Maybe you just did this for the sheer fun of it, or to learn how, and if so, more power to you. But with WinXP, I wouldn't expect a sudden increase in the system's performance, just because the file was moved around. If that was your intention, the accomplishment was likely to be just an exercise in logistics. If you moved the file to stop frequent paging, I'd suggest that you install more physical memory, and customize the virtual memory so that both the minimum and the maximum file sizes are the same. If you moved it because a program runs optimally when it's "scratch disk" and the paging file are not on the same partition, that's cool.

But if you moved it, just to move it, or simply because you discovered that you <i>can</i>, well, I hope it was good for you too, dude.

I'm outa here.


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April 18, 2003 8:25:19 PM

WoW! Well I thought it would help and true I have never done it before and thought I would try it. I Have 3 partitions, one for system,one for data and now one for the swap file. I'm running 512 ddr 2700 on a single 80 gig HD. The cpu is a AMD 2400 sititng on top a MSI KT4 ultra-RU and that is sitting in a Antec server case that gives me plenty of room.I also have a DVD rom, Plex drive burner,Iomaga Zip drive"External" USB 2.0. I have not had any problems except when I elect to do the XP Prof. Uddates.I use Disk Keeper 7.0 to defrag. The only program that gives me any problem is Quickbooks pro 2002 and try to get any help from them without paying. Thanks For the very informative responce Toey. Bruce

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April 18, 2003 11:42:20 PM

You're welcome, Bruce!

Everything sounds good, and I highly approve of the way that you have the hard drive partitioned. I also prefer to have the disk set up so that the system files are in one partition, and my personal files and larger programs are kept separate.

I've found that having multiple partitions is indispensable when imaging a partition with a program such as Drive Image, as burning image files directly to CD-R disks has a higher risk of causing file corruption. Having personal documents in an isolated partition also means that if the operating system has to be repaired or reinstalled, all that data isn't lost, such as music, pictures, downloaded programs/drivers and updates, and especially large game files and patches, which have no particular reason to be in a system partition that contains an OS.

I like Diskeeper 7, but I've found that other utilities can do a better job. I'm using a combination of Diskeeper and Raxco's <A HREF="" target="_new">PerfectDisk</A>. I use Diskeeper to schedule boot-time defragmentation for the directories (which moves them to the top of the partition) and to perform CHKDSK runs ... and PerfectDisk to defrag the paging file and to perform regular defragmentation runs while the GUI is loaded. PerfectDisk has features that Diskeeper does not, such as a way to manually control the layout.ini file (by date, and frequency of the file/program access) and to optimize the boot files. It's also faster than Diskeeper, and can make all the files contiguous with just one run, something Diskeeper can't always do. The combination of the two programs works very well for me.

What kind of problems are you having with the WinXP updates? Sp00nLude was having problems with WindowsUpdate today, and seems to have solved the problem after doing a little research, as mentioned in this <A HREF="" target="_new">post</A>. Perhaps reading through it will be helpful for you.


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April 19, 2003 3:50:02 PM

Thanks for the vote of confidence Toey. I deleted all the SP2 Hot fixes to see if they were hurting my quick books. It seems ever since I did those updates Quickbooks went south. It opens up real slow, when I back it up to the hard drive or my zip drive it goes real slow and when I try to close it it quits responding. I have tried to get help from Intuit but all they want to tell me there could be a fee.I really don't how to check it for compatability problems. Thanks bruce

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April 19, 2003 4:12:12 PM

I'm no expert on Quickbooks, but if I was in your position, I think the first thing I would attempt is to backup the company file and then uninstall the program. Afterwards, reinstall the program, and use the middle Options tab to turn on AutoUpdate, and then choose Select All, then Save.

Once the updates are completed, reboot. After the reboot, choose to install the updates.

Make sure the company file is not set to Read-Only under the Properties for the file, or a restore may fail. And when reinstalling the program, keep all firewall and antivirus programs disabled. The same thing applies when making a backup.

By the way, there's a critical error update available on the <A HREF="" target="_new">website</A>. Have you seen this?

As for WinXP compatibility ... check out this <A HREF="" target="_new">page</A>.

I hope this helps.


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April 29, 2003 5:01:49 PM

Toey you are the BOMB!!!
Thanks for all your insights.