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Disable (0MB) Page File - Good Idea??

Posted on 2003-03-12
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I was speaking with a colleague who explained he had disabled the page file on his system (1GB RAM).

Does anyone have any views on this?  

I have workstations (P3 500 + 640MB RAM) which dont do anything too memory intensive.  Would there be a measurable performance gain if I were to do the same? (I have already ensured that the kernel/executive is not paged via the registry).

I have checked my usual sources on this area and have been unable to locate any decent information outlining this subject.
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Question by:gidds99
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Expert Comment

by:kmorris1186
ID: 8124386
As long as you dont run out of physcal ram, then you should be ok.  But if you do, windows will crash.  I would say, GO FOR IT! see if it works.  If so, i might try it on my home pc. i have 512 mb and do nothing except check e-mail.  might try it anyway.  I will do this tonight. i will let you know..

heh.. thanks for the idea.

CLICK!
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Expert Comment

by:Hastin
ID: 8125869
I say, turn it off, and then test it out, and see if it's needed on it or not. I have found that with RAM like like that, you can sometimes turn it off, and have problems. (Such as with Legacy software)
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pjknibbs earned 200 total points
ID: 8126139
You MAY get problems doing this depending what software you're running. There are some Windows 2000 features (for example, memory-mapped files) which use space in the pagefile to do their job, and without a pagefile they simply won't work.

However, you also asked if this would result in a measurable performance gain. The answer is almost certainly NO. Windows 2000 doesn't have the brain-dead memory management of Windows 98--if it doesn't need space in the pagefile, it won't use it; it's that simple. Therefore, if you are never running short of RAM, having the pagefile there will make no difference whatsoever.
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by:gidds99
ID: 8128740
Thanks for the input guys.

I have used perfmon to look at memory usage on my system and as pjknibbs explains, 2000 doesnt appear to use the page file (except for a few MB).

In view of this I feel at the moment I will leave the page file as is.  If the page file is not being used then it is not imapcting on performance and if the OS or any apps do require it then it will be there.

I will leave this Q open a little longer to see if anyone else has any other views.
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by:kmorris1186
ID: 8131609
Actually you may want to use Task Manager to and add the column that show the Virtual Memory usage.

Do this WITH Pages file on.

Open Task Manager (Ctrl Shift ESC)
click on the processes tab
View --> Select columns
Check Virtual Memory Usage
and Page Faults

After a fresh reboot... i already have about 50-100 meg of my virtual memory used, and about 250,000 to 300,000 page faults (which is where windows looks for a peice of data in memory and cant find it, then it looks for it in the page file.)

If you have a lot of either of these. but windows still reports a lot of ram free, try to disable page file..

let me know.

CLICK
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by:pjknibbs
ID: 8134583
kmorris1186: Actually, I don't think a reported page fault in Task Manager means virtual memory is being used--for example, I have the SETI@Home client running on my machine, and that's been averaging 158 page faults per second since it started; however, I'm seeing absolutely NO associated disk access, which you would obviously expect if the page fault was causing page file access. A page fault can also be generated if a process tries to use a page of memory which is not allocated within its virtual address space, and it's entirely possible that a piece of physical RAM could be allocated to cover the shortfall--this will especially tend to happen with the stack, which can change size considerably over time.
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by:gidds99
ID: 8135519
My page faults average seem to be less than 10 per second.  Pjknibbs is correct "soft" page faults occur when a process has to look outside its own memory space.  "hard" page faults can cause performance problems when the look for data on disk.
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by:kmorris1186
ID: 8139466
ok.. my bad.. thanks for the correction.

CLICK
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