Windows 2003 pagefile >4GB

Posted on 2004-11-11
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Here is the setup:

Dell PE2650
Dual Xeon
Windows 2003 Enterprise
Terminal Server (40 users)

Pagefile Info:

Minimum 2046
Maximum 4092
Plenty of disk space

We have had several stops without a memory.dmp file being generated.  We believe that it may have something to do with our pagefile configuration.

1. Why is that Windows will not recognize more than 4GB of our 6GB of memory?
2. Why won't Windows allow me to set the pagefile for more than 4GB? I am trying for 5950...6500
3. What should I do to configure the pagefile correctly?
4. Is this related to our not being able to get a memory.dmp or might it be with the hardware?
5. Did I waste our money by buying more RAM than Windows can utilize? Surely I'm not the only one with >4GB.

Question by:catoxpress
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    I believe the answer to all of these is that you need to enable the /PAE switch in the boot ini.  The following article is for Win2k, but it should work in Win2k3 as well:;en-us;255600
    LVL 82

    Expert Comment

    1. You'll need to add the /PAE switch in your boot.ini.
    2., 3.: The pagefile size is probably still limited; see below for a workaround.
    4. You'll only get a memory dump if the pagefile size is at least 1MB larger than your system memory. Use the /maxmem switch to reduce the available size if you need one.
    5. No.

    Large memory support is available in Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003

    Data is corrupted when PAE is enabled on a Windows Server 2003-based computer

    Intel Physical Addressing Extensions (PAE) in Windows 2000

    Available switch options for the Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003 Boot.ini files

    I'm not sure if this still applies to Server 2003:
    How to Overcome 4,095-MB Paging File Size Limit in Windows

    MAXMEM Option in Windows NT BOOT.INI File

    Author Comment

    Please provide some additional information:

    1. Is the /PAE switch advisable in Terminal Server?
    2.,3. The pagefile workaround is to create multiple pagefiles and then optimize by putting on different volumes/folders.  Will creating 2 pagefiles with 3000...4090 range on different drives be advisable?
    4. If I use the /PAE switch and see 6GB of RAM, then I would need a pagefile of 6GB+1MB correct?  Do the 2 pagefiles with ranges I stated above support this theory? Using the MAXMEM scares me and isn't it designed to limit RAM?  If so how much limitation should I use?

    GOD this is confusing.  Should have bought a 64bit system.
    LVL 82

    Accepted Solution

    If you want to use all of the available memory, there's no way around it. You should just make sure the MS04-032 update is installed.
    As mentioned in the KB237740, large pagefiles can cost performance, especially if you're using two on the same drive. With 6GB RAM, you should have enough to work; once your server will actually have to dig its way through another 6GB of pagefile, it's likely it'll start crawling instead of serving programs to your users. You could start with a 2GB pagefile (if you have another drive--not partition--than the one your system resides on, put it there) and check if it gets seriously used at all.
    You only need the "RAM+1MB" pagefile size if you have the actual need for a memory dump if the server should crash. For the crash dump, this needs to be one single file, though, so there's currently no way to use the 6GB and create a dump at the same time.
    Only if you have serious issues with the server and need the memory dump to troubleshoot, you will have to use the /maxmem switch and limit the used memory to 3GB, for example, and use a pagefile that has more than 3GB.
    (KB237740: "NOTE: To get a memory dump from machines with 4 GB RAM or greater, it is still necessary to use the /MAXMEM switch in the BOOT.ini. One of the page files on the system partition must still be 1 MB larger than the amount of RAM installed in the machine to allow for the successful creation of a memory dump.")

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your help.  This is pretty much how the articles you offered read but I wanted to make sure.  It seems like there is always a catch. Oh well, thanks again.

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