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XP Pagefile on a RAM disk?

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twinbee    0
Okay, you're right and I'm wrong. Go ahead and do as you wish.

You may have noticed throughout my post that I littered it with comments such as "How am I mistaken?", or "What am I missing". I'm frustrated, but also eager to learn. If you could explain why Windows would bother to start using the HD pagefile when there's so much real RAM left over, then I would be very grateful.

Edited by twinbee

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+Tikimotel    23
Amazing how people pull what they want to hear..

So it "won't hurt" -- Yeah what an awesome tweak, lets spread that everywhere!!

"If you have more than enough RAM for your workload"

So your SURE that 3GB is enough for his or anyone elses workload? At any given point in time? :rolleyes:

"What this setting does is to prevent drivers and kernel code from being written to the pagefile. Now, think this through logically. If you’re running so many programs that you exceed the amount of physical memory in your system and you start up a new program or process, the operating system has to move some program code and data out of memory and into the pagefile to make room for the bits you just requested. You could let the OS make intelligent choices about which bits to swap. Or you could constrain it by saying, “Don’t ever swap this type of code out.” If you enable this tweak, you limit the flexibility of the OS and force it to throw something else out, which in this case is one of the other programs you’re running. That increases the delay you’ll encounter when you switch back to the other app."

"This setting is provided for use in servers, where administrators run a limited and well-known set of applications and need to debug or tune for performance in a controlled environment. Using it in a workstation is asking for trouble."

Here is common sense you can apply to MOST all of these so called "tweaks" out there.

"If this setting really made a difference in performance, don’t you think it would be enabled already"

Okidoki, I stand corrected. (the reg option is worthless...)

"If this setting really made a difference in performance, don’t you think it would be enabled already"

Windows isn't shipped with same hardware configuration every time it is sold...that's why I guess... (windows isn't a gaming console)

So the only option to fix his needless swapping complaint is to write a new kernel and memory manager from scratch and start a rival OS software company. ;)

Edited by Tikimotel

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+BudMan    3,514
Edit: BTW that XP myths page is just random quotes from here and there, it isn't the truth so I wouldn't quote it like it is.
Yeah just keep believing in those tweaks, even though someone has collected and cites sources on why they are wrong.

Lets see who make more sense, billy bob stranger on the net or MS articles and lets say ed bott, author of many books on the subject. Just 2 random quotes the site uses as sources for this specific tweak.

From MS

"Setting this value to 1 is useful when debugging drivers, because all of the code and data is always memory resident. It also improves performance on machines with a lot of memory, because it prevents disk reads to get code or data.

Please define "lots of memory" for me.. If you are not aware of the details of a specific users actual workload and how much memory the machine has -- sorry but you can not say it meets the criteria of "lots of memory"

Well let see "abcdefg" stating that the most used OS on the planet is "crap" And that setting a flag in a registry from 0 to 1 will make much better just makes LOADS of sense to me ;)

As to not showing file ext.. I can kind of see your point, but then again most users see computers as MAGIC boxes and are more concened with pretty icons than seeing something like .zip or .exe or .txt which to them are meaningless 3 letter codes.

And btw a setting that changes the way the gui present info in no way shape or form changes anything to do with the underlaying operation of the OS.. its pure eye candy.. "tweak" away with those types of settings.. Hey get crazy and make your desktop icons bigger too ;)

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abcdefg    0
Yeah just keep believing in those tweaks, even though someone has collected and cites sources on why they are wrong.
This is not about believing. How's this:

"Myth - "Limited User Accounts are a Realistic Security Solution."

Reality - "On a nonmanaged XP machine today, it isn't realistic to run without Administrator privileges. "

I LoLd. You can't have any security on "nonmanaged" XP. It's still very realistic to run without admin privileges. Even M$ recommends this. That quote is from Paul Thurrott, made in 2004 and it is just BS. So long for absolute credibility of that site...

Lets see who make more sense, billy bob stranger on the net or MS articles and lets say ed bott, author of many books on the subject. Just 2 random quotes the site uses as sources for this specific tweak.
Ed Bott's credibility is zero.

http://boycottnovell.com/credibility-index/

http://boycottnovell.com/2008/11/09/ed-bott-laptop-bribe/

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/12/28.html

Please define "lots of memory" for me..
Ask M$.
Well let see "abcdefg" stating that the most used OS on the planet is "crap" And that setting a flag in a registry from 0 to 1 will make much better just makes LOADS of sense to me ;)

It is crap. I can't believe that anyone even tries to use that "most used" argument to define quality. Stop it now. I don't know whether that registry setting makes anything better, just a quote from M$, so it should be "true".

Is there any cold hard professionally made benchmarks about the pagefile in XP?

Who should I trust and why?

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000422.html

*Theoretically*, Windows should move pages to the swapfile only when needed, but the apparent reality is that Windows will move pages from applications that have have been unused for a while, even if memory isn't scarce.

You can try this yourself: open up a bunch of applications, then walk away from your computer. Return after a few minutes and then click each taskbar icon in turn. Watch Windows thrash.

On the other hand, disable the page file, and your computer will remain responsive at all times. And, being a power user, I'd rather have an "Out of memory" error, telling me that I'm overloading my system, which I shouldn't be able to get away with even if I can't see it because of the pagefile. Not that I ever got that message -- I haven't had a single problem yet since running without page file, and that's for about a year now.

Bottom line: I'd rather have a more responsive computer, so no pagefile for me.

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twinbee    0

Interesting about that codinghorror site quote, and it's what I was trying to say. (I'm still confused about why WinXP would do this in practice).

Though wasn't it mentioned earlier in this thread that Windows XP will use a pagefile (or maybe page invisibly to the HD?) regardless of what the user wants, and it's just that the user has no control over it by disabling?

Edited by twinbee

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abcdefg    0
Interesting about that codinghorror site quote, though wasn't it mentioned earlier in this thread that Windows XP will use a pagefile (or maybe page invisibly to the HD?) regardless of what the user wants, and it's just that the user has no control over it by disabling?

It seems to be harder to get "the facts" about the pagefile than squeezing water out of a rock. Read all user comments on that article if you have some time. Looks like many people run without a pagefile and like it.

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shakey_snake    1
XP manages memory very well.

Bollocks.

XP is idiotic wen dealing with lots of RAM, partially because it is 8 years old and 4GBs of RAM you might find in a modern system is 32 times more RAM than XP's system requirements.

If you have a high opinion of Microsoft's engineers and programmers, than maybe you should realize that they came to reality with their mistakes and very much changed and improved swamp and memory management with Vista rather significantly.

So, your logic is to remove RAM from operational space, only to provide it for swap? :ermm:

I fail to see the advantage.

You're a linux guy. Do you have much experience with XP's swap thrashing?

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DeusProto    980

I've run XP without a page file for going on three years now. No issues at all. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Adobe Audition 3.0 regularly with no issues. I have yet to experience any incompatibility with software by disabling it. I sometimes get a warning or two but nothing beyond that.

There is A LOT less hard-drive accessing and responsiveness is generally faster.

You'll basically achieve the same objective of a VM-on-Ramdisk by disabling the page file. You'll notice in the task manager with the VM column displayed that apps will still "page" to Virtual Memory, but the "Virtual" memory now resides in the RAM when the pagefile is disabled.

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twinbee    0

Rfire, was it enough to just select that "No paging file" option deep inside the Controlpanel -> System tool?

This whole issue is weird - for non-religious topics, I don't think I've ever heard such conflicting opinions on such an important issue in all my life (apart from music/tuning stuff which is so rich with complexity and confusion that it even blows this out of the water for opinion diversity ;) ).

Allan, I'm still keen on hearing the other side too - why does XP tend to dig into the HD pagefile, when there's lots of real RAM left? Or would you say that's a badly configured system, and not the norm?

Read all user comments on that article if you have some time.

Okay.

Edited by twinbee

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DeusProto    980
Rfire, was it enough to just select that "No paging file" option deep inside the Controlpanel -> System tool?

Select that option for ALL volumes, and it will then only page to RAM. Note that you'll need to reboot for it to take effect if you haven't set "no paging file" on all volumes yet.

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+allan    12

The whole thing is that this is NOT an important issue - people just think it is. If everyone just either set the pagefile in XP to system managed or picked a reasonable static size and then forgot about it everything would be fine. But no, somebody comes up with a nonsense theory on how to speed up the system by manipulating the pagefile and these asinine threads start. Here are the facts:

1) XP will always page. You cannot disable the pagefile, only your ability to manage it.

2) There is no good reason to even try to disable the pagefile.

3) In fact, for 99% of users there is no reason to even bother with the pagefile.

I run a forum similar to and, to a degree, competing with Neowin (yes, they know who I am - I post at support forums because I enjoy trying to help those with computer problems and if they aren't posting at the forum I run they are still entitled to help - many of us do that :) ). I mention this only because I want to say that at my forum we once actually banned all threads on pagefiles. They became much to contentious and were filled with nonsense. For whatever reason, people who think they know more than they do (or want others to think they know what they're talking about) feel compelled to state their non-facts about virtual memory. The threads were not only argumentative, they were literally counterproductive and confusing to those looking for intelligent advice. So when I get involved in these discussions I try to just post the facts and then move on to another thread, which is what I'm about to do. So in parting - the pagefile is NOT a big deal. Just set it to system managed and leave it alone. The only exception would be if you have a lot of ram (generally not an issue with 32 bit XP) in which case you can just set it to a static size of anywhere between 768Mb and 1.5 Gb and then go worry about something else (unless you want a needlessly large pagefile taking up your hd space). Okay, I'm done :). Feel free to continue posting misconceptions and outright nonsense about a subject that already has taken FAR too much space on the internet ;)

Edited by allan

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Brandon Live    232

This thread is a joke, right? Where's that Picard facepalm image when you need it...

For those that don't get the joke, putting your page file on a RAM disk is like taking out the gas tank in your hybrid car, and telling your hybrid engine that when the battery level reaches 50%, it should stop running, recharge that 50% by using the other 50% to power a battery charger, and then continue.

Even if you have such a big battery in your hybrid that you don't really need the gas tank, then this is STILL a terrible idea.

The page file is where Windows swaps pages when there is no RAM left for them. If you put the page file on a RAM disk, you are defeating the purpose of the page file. You might as well just turn it off, it accomplishes the same thing without being absolutely ridiculous and causing incredibly excessive overhead.

Of course, turning it off isn't a good idea either, because someday you're going to run out of battery (RAM) and instead of switching to gas (page file) your system is just going to crap out.

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+BudMan    3,514

Here you go Brandon ;)

post-14624-1233450411_thumb.jpg

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abcdefg    0
I try to just post the facts and then move on to another thread, which is what I'm about to do.

Yet you really didn't show any proof but made a comment like this:

XP manages memory very well. Your perception of XP's "problems" and "stupidity" is wrong. It uses the pagefile when it is supposed to and does so well.

Should I take that seriously? No one does.

This thread is a joke, right? Where's that Picard facepalm image when you need it...

The page file is where Windows swaps pages when there is no RAM left for them.

:laugh: Hahaa when there is no RAM left for them. If you say so. I'll just ignore everyone who claims otherwise and I'll just erase my own experiences with Windows from my memory. Z-A-P done. Windows XP manages memory well and only pages when there's no RAM left.

Here you go Brandon ;)

Typical Neowin derailing tactic.

If disabling pagefile is just a negative thing, then there must exist a proof of that. Have we seen that? No, I've only seen people who laugh at XP's memory management and unnecessary disk trashing. That is just what I've experienced with XP.

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+BudMan    3,514

Yeah dude like I said.. All the experts are just blowing smoke.. lets all take your word for it that XP memory managment just blows chunks :rolleyes:

Its not like we have not run our own systems for years and years on xp.. Lets see I personally managed 3 locations with over 700 boxes running XP.. Plus plenty of personal boxes.

Yeah disks were just thrashing all the time :rolleyes:

There is NO POINT to disable the page file - NONE!! There is NO gain from it, NONE! If you want to do it on your system -- go for it! We could all give a rats ass.. But stating xp memory management is crap is just nonsense plain simple!

Could it be better, sure -- everything can be improved upon.. But you tweaking a 1 in the registry here, or putting your page file on a ram disk is sure an the F not going to make anything any faster - PERIOD!

And I can tell you for a FACT that nobody in there right mind that actually manages machines would ever freaking disable the page file. If you want to think doing such a ting makes your machine faster -- go right ahead. :rolleyes:

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abcdefg    0
Yeah dude like I said.. All the experts are just blowing smoke..
What experts? I hope you are not referring to Microsoft. I have some juicy quotes from their emails.
lets all take your word for it that XP memory managment just blows chunks :rolleyes:

Its not like we have not run our own systems for years and years on xp.. Lets see I personally managed 3 locations with over 700 boxes running XP.. Plus plenty of personal boxes.

Yeah disks were just thrashing all the time :rolleyes:

...and the number of those boxes are some kind of proof?

There is NO POINT to disable the page file - NONE!! There is NO gain from it, NONE!

You must have very good benchmarks then. Can you present them? I bet that you've never benchmarked any XP install with and without pagefile. Am I right?

There has just been unsubstantiated claims. Even in this thread we have seen:

I've run XP without a page file for going on three years now. No issues at all.

There is A LOT less hard-drive accessing and responsiveness is generally faster.

But that can't be true because... you've managed 700 XPs? :rolleyes:

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twinbee    0

BudMan, I love the Picard pic :)

Rfire, I might try that thanks.

Allan (and Brandon), I have asked the same question at least 3 times now - I suppose I can guess that the repetition of the topic over the years has prevented you from answering it, or maybe my question is just dumb?

But I'll try once more. Why does XP sometimes dig into the HD pagefile when there's clearly plenty of RAM (say 70%) left for it to dig into instead? Have quite a few people got their PCs misconfigured or something? Or maybe it doesn't, and this is imaginary from me and others? The codinghorror blog post that abcdefg posted indeed has MANY people who have found that turning the pagefile "off" has actually helped in practice (despite what theory may say). Perhaps all of these have 2GB or more?

At this point I almost don't care who's right or wrong, I just want to learn. If you still won't answer it, can you at least point me to the shortest resource you know where this question can be answered? Alternatively, I would be grateful if someone else could help enlighten this one question.

If there's one thing which I believe has caused the most confusion about this whole topic, it would be this I reckon (taken from the coding horror blog):

"In the Task Manager utility under Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the graphical displays labeled "PF usage" and "Page File Usage History" are actually reflecting not the pagefile contents but the total (or current) commit charge.

Microsoft labels it "PF usage", and it's not really - it's total commit like the quote above says. I bet that one thing has multiplied the amount of stuff posted on the topic by about a factor of 10. If anyone reading this wants to know their real PF usage, then, the util called WinXP-2K_Pagefile.zip at this URL will help (correct me if I'm wrong):

http://billsway.com/notes_public/winxp_tweaks/

Finally a topic regarding something called "precleaning" (which affects XP or later, but not with say NT4) may have doubled the amount of discussion regarding this whole issue.

Edited by twinbee

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hadouken    0

The best way to see how much of the page file is being used is going into Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Performance -> Add the "Paging File: % Usage" (and "% usage peak" to see the max used) counters. Currently idling on a fresh XP install there is 2% of a 768MB page file being used. You can add the "Page Fault Delta" column in task manager to see which processes are accessing the page file regularly.

If you leave the performance monitor open with "% Usage" shown, you can test in what scenarios Windows uses the page file, just minimizing windows on the desktop increases the usage. Windows XP was designed to use the page file for nomal operation, disabling it might make a difference if you have a really slow or overloaded hard disk but with most modern systems you shouldn't need to bother. Of course, by disabling it, your commit limit will be restricted to whatever physical RAM you have installed, so if processes try to commit more than 3GB you will be in trouble.

Creating a page file on a RAM disk might be a nice idea in theory, it would probably give you marginally better access times for certain operations (if you're superhuman enough to notice those kind of milliseconds). Maybe you could have a primary PF in RAM and a secondary larger one on HD but again, with modern systems, why bother?

If you're worried about HD space, set a smaller limit on the page file. If you're worried about RAM usage then leave it at default. If you want milliseconds more in certain operations then disable it altogether so long as you know you will never hit the 3GB commit limit (some testing with performance counters enabled should tell you this). If your machine is thrashing a lot then get more RAM or load up task manager with Page Faults Delta and see what's causing it. Otherwise just leave it at default and don't worry.

That's my 2 cents anyway. ;)

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Tailwind    329

post-14624-1233450411_thumb.jpg

Quoted for emphasis.

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Turbo Data Weasel    0

Hey folks!

I'd like to add a little fire to this discussion! ;)

We all know and love the limitation of 32bit Windows to only use 4GB of memory minus the combined memory of all gfx cards and then some. In my desktop system, for example, I have 4GB of memory and two 512MB GeForce cards. Windows reports 2.75GB of available RAM. My laptop has 4GB and a single 512MB gfx card and reports 3.25GB.

There's been quite a bit of discussion about possibly breaking this limit using PAE or whatever and most "experts" agree that it's not possible.

Now: I have been able to make this work using the Gavotte RamDisk! The "new" version (v1.0.4096.5) of this ramdisk has a switch to use PAE to place the disk at the end of the physical memory, i.e. into the part that is hidden by the gfx memory.

WinXP Pro SP3 on my desktop is currently telling me that I have 2GB of my 2.75GB physical memory available. IN ADDITION I have a 1.25GB RamDisk "exposing" the RAM that is hidden by the gfx memory. I just ordered myself another 4GB and am hoping to have a 5.25GB Ramdisk on Tuesday (go Newegg!) in addition to my usual 2.75GB RAM. If anyone cares, I can report success or failure.

Apart from the fact that using this ramdisk to hold a disk-image for VirtualBox means pure pleasure when using the guest OS, I would love to move my page file onto this ramdisk to effectively INCREASE the amount of available ram (rather than trading real ram for paged ram). Also, this will allow me to free up a couple extra gigs on my tiny (due to cost) SSD harddisk.

I've tried simply telling windows to put the page file onto only the ramdisk, but when I reboot I find that Windows decides to place another 2.75GB page file on one of my other drives without telling me or even fessing up to it in the Advanced Performance Options. The ramdisk is empty, even though Windows claims to have a 256MB pagefile on it.

According to the ramdisk's docs it should be possible to make this work. At least I think that's what it says. It's pretty horrible English. But I haven't been able to do so and I'm sure some of you would love to help me out playing with this to see if you can get it done.

The Gavotte Ramdisk is (supposedly) based on the M$ Ramdisk.sys sample driver available here:

FILE: Ramdisk.sys sample driver for Windows 2000

It turned out to be EXTREMELY difficult to actually find the Gavotte version. I finally dug it out of a Japanese hosting page (Thank you, Google Translate!) that you can find here:

Gavotte_RAMDisk_1.0.4096.5_200811130.7z

To download it, you need to "solve" the captcha in the top right corner of the page and click the long button right below the text field. You will then be directed to a page with an ad and a big button in the bottom middle that counts down 40 seconds or so. After, the button turns blue and you can click it to download the file.

I am currently running this version of the ramdisk on my system and have had no problems with it. Avast! does not seem to object to it either, BUT: I DO NOT KNOW WHO WROTE THIS DRIVER AND WHETHER IT IS MALICIOUS OR NOT! SO, USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!

Setup could not be easier (other than the page file business). This page describes how:

Gavotte Ramdisk - Free virtual harddisk

Now, "facepalm" me if I'm crazy ;), but I think for this scenario, putting the swap file onto a ramdisk makes perfect sense. Especially as it increases security since you don't have a leftover pagefile.sys on your platter after shutdown that contains evidence of things you did during your session.

BTW: My ultimate wet-dream regarding this is to get Windows to load an image onto the 5GB ramdisk and then use it as the C: drive to boot from. Supposedly with the XPe (embedded) or 2K3 Server NTLDR file this is possible (at least when loading the image from a "LiveCD"), but I haven't tried it yet. Would be nice to have a "freshly installed" (from image) copy of Windows running off a ramdisk every time you turn on the PC. No more worrying about speed, viruses, ...

Cheers,

TDW

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+allan    12

You decided this should be your first post on this site, huh? Okay.

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Zarpraz    1

Pretty sure you shouldn't use RAM for the page file. Have a look at this thread.

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ToneKnee    301

Install Vista, problem solved. :p

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Turbo Data Weasel    0
You decided this should be your first post on this site, huh? Okay.

???

I've spent the past couple days looking at this kind of stuff and came across this forum for the first time because of it.

Did I miss a "purpose" that I failed to fulfill? If so, I apologize and please let me know what it is.

I hope I didn't offend anyone. That wasn't my intent.

I just had a pretty painful time getting things to work as far as I did and decided it might be helpful for some people who are trying to place a ramdisk into the inaccessible part of the system memory to explain how to do it. This whole RAM management issue seems to be quite the religious topic for many people as you can tell from this thread. And once you add PAE / more-than-4GB-in-32bit-Windows to the equation, all hell breaks loose. People claim they've done it, but noone says how... Others say it's impossible to access more than 4GB, no matter how...

And now I'm stuck trying to place my page-file onto the ramdisk (which I do NOT believe is crazy given the PAE capabilities) and some of the people in this thread may have gotten this to work. In which case, I'd like to know how. I thought that was an appropriate question for this thread. Correct me if I'm wrong.

~ TDW

PS: To prevent false interpretation: I'm not angry or offended... just a little confused by your reply... but maybe I misread it... Friends? :)

Edited by Turbo Data Weasel

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Turbo Data Weasel    0
Install Vista, problem solved. :p

Vista 32-bit can't use more than 4GB minus gfx-memory either -- except with the ramdisk trick (as far as I've heard, haven't tried it).

And unfortunately using 64-bit Vista or XP opens a whole other can of worms in terms of hardware drivers, etc.

Cheers,

~TDW

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