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Swap file

Posted on 2002-06-06
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What is meant by a swap file, why and how does one check the swap file settings and what should the settings be?
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Question by:frankoravec
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 7060149
Windows automatically manages program storage by using what is called Virtual Memory, which moves chunks of data and programs between disk and memory as needed.  The swap file is the part of the hard drive where virtual memory is swapped in and out.  To get to the settings page: click on the Start button, then Settings, then Control Panel; double click on the icon for System, click on the Performance tab, then click the Virtual Memory button. I think you should put a dot next to the option for Let Windows manage my virtual memory settings.  However, if you choose to set a certain size for the swap file yourself, then I have read that the best figure to use is about 3.5 times the amount of memory you have.
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by:Crash2100
ID: 7061088
If you have at least 256MB of ram, set the swap file to 300MB minimum and maximum.  If you have less than that, set it to 2.5 times the amount of ram you have.
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Accepted Solution

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pvrnet earned 120 total points
ID: 7062425
Manually setting your swap file in Win98 has caused a lot of confusion for people over the years. Most people recommend setting the swap file to 2 to 2.5 times the amount of RAM you have in your system.  For people with low levels of RAM this may be true, but people with a lot of RAM this may not be the case.

For example, you have 64Megs of RAM.  According to the calculation above, you would set your swap file to approx. 128MB.

If you have 256 or 512 Megs of RAM, you would than set your swap file to 512 or 1 Gig.  

Now, you can see that there is a flaw to the logic in this calculation.  One would assume that machines with less RAM would need more swap file space and machines with lots of RAM would need less swap file space.  But as you can see this is not the case.  

But there is a way you can determine the amount of swap file space your machine may need.  One method can be found here:

http://www.bootdisk.com/swapfile.htm

Now be aware that if you do manually set up your virtual memory, you may run into a program (especially games or PhotoImaging apps) that may require more that what you set for your max setting.  If this is the case, you will usually get an error message and the machine may lock-up.  To fix this, up the max value of the swap file, or run the program following the steps outlined in the link given above to determine the amount of memory needed to run it properly.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

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LVL 59

Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 7065965
I think I agree with pvrnet on the size of swap file to set if you want to go that route.  I still think I would let Windows handle it.  However, if you feel that pvrnet has contributed the right answer to one of your several questions, you might consider this:

HOW TO SPLIT POINTS ON EXPERTS-EXCHANGE QUESTIONS
You can split points on questions, however you need the help of Community Support to do so. What you need to do is post a zero point question in the Community Support area by clicking on the link for Community Support near the top left of the Experts-Exchange web page, in the EE Community section.  In the question you need to reference this question number, who you wish to split the points among, and what point values to assign, then Community Support staff will do the rest, normally by reducing the original point value of this question to allow you to post new questions for the other experts.
These questions would be titled points for whomever and paste the question's  url in the comment block so the expert would know what it was about.

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Author Comment

by:frankoravec
ID: 7067112
Lee,
I keep looking for the question number to which you referred. I must be blind! Again, sorry for the delay. I have had some other problems.

"In the question
you need to reference this question number"
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:pleasenospam
ID: 7067192
The question number is at the tail end of the EE address for the question.
It is easier to highlight the entire address with your mouse and paste it
to the message.  Also, it is easier that way for people to link directly to the
original message.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:pleasenospam
ID: 7067199
By the way.  If the swap file starts to give you fits, you can delete it and
start over.  Look at the last few lines here:

http://personal.cfw.com/~write/purgeall.txt

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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:pleasenospam
ID: 7067234
The future of the swap file:

The swap file is one of the components of virtual memory, which is created
"on the fly" as needed to keep the main processor running at full speed.

On the main frames the need for virtual memory disappeared when main memory cost
got down to the affordable range.  Somewhere in there the operating system had
migrated from "Tape Operating System" to "Disk Operating System" to just "Operating System":

TOS --> DOS --> OS

So, DOS for the personal computers was actually a step BACK to previous
computer architecture.  Now, as main memory costs drop for personal computers,
there is a steady migration away from DOS and the need for a SWAP FILE will go away.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Mindphaser
ID: 7068029
frankoravec

I reduced the points of this question. Please accept pvrnet's comemnt as an answer , I will post a separate question for Lee Tutor.

** Mindphaser - Community Support Moderator **
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