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Page File usage with plenty of RAM to spare

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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
This particular server is running Windows Server 2003. This server is accessed daily by 30 or so users, and is loaded with 6 gigs of RAM. The thing that puzzles me is that the task manager tells me that I have around 3 gigs of physical RAM available, but it still uses the page file, and lots of it. I have the page file set to around 13 gigs, and at times, task manager will say that 4-5 gigs is being used. This concerns me, as I believe it may have a negative effect on the performance of this server. Would it be best to completely eliminate the page file, or is there a misconfigured parameter that tells the machine to access the PF instead of the RAM? Thanks
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I think w2k3 standard edition will only utilise 4 GB of RAM so it is not the 6Gb you think it has been using.
http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/81999f39-41e9-4388-8d7d-7430ec4cc4221033.mspx?mfr=true

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Commented:
It's default windows behavior. It always uses the pagefile no matter how much extra RAM there is.
Mike TreatArchitect CEO

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Commented:
Just to clarify, this server is running 2k3 Enterprise, so it should in theory be able to address up to 32 GB of RAM.

Is the high use of the page file detrimental to the performance of this server?
PberSolutions Architect
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Commented:
Also removing the Page file completly will have adverse affects.  To be able to do crash dumps requires the page file to exist and be located on the C: drive.  Although crash dumps don't work so well when memory goes over 4GB.

Generally M$ tells you to use 1.5*RAM.  For the most part that is good, but for systems with LOTS of RAM and applications like SQL that eat RAM and big page file will just look like more RAM for SQL and you start paging.  So you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Microsofts standard answer, this is by design.
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On C you only need a small pagefile (64MB should be enough as long as you set the system for minidumps and not the full dumps. minidumps are enough). Use another disk for the pagefile. As long as it isn't fragmented paging should not affect system speed.
Mike TreatArchitect CEO

Author

Commented:
Most of the page file is split between two other hard drives. I believe C is set to have an 8 GB page, so based on what you are saying, this is way too big? For the record, I have 13GB on one drive and 13GB on another.
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I try to make the make the page file on C as small as possible. But this is often a personal choice.
The pagefile is necessary.  This is because the OS is a virtual memory machine.  Regardless of how much RAM the system has, the OS will always use some of the page file to move rarely used OS routines into and will commit virtual memory to processes even though they are not runnig.  Even with 4 gig of RAM and doing nothing but sitting there, the OS uses the page file because thats the way the OS was written.  If you try and eliminate the page file you will run into problems.  Its really interesting when you are only using a couple a hundred meg of RAM in a multi-gig box and get an out of memory error.

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