PageFile is HUGE.

Posted on 2010-08-28
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
When I go to the task manager on one of our servers, the PF Usage is showing 11.5GB. The RAM on the system is 16GB. Also, when we have had to reboot the server, it is staying in the applying computer settings for an awful long time. Are these two related, and is there a way to reduce the usage?
Question by:akdreaming
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LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 83 total points
ID: 33550336
What's using it?  Open Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, change the selected columns to include Page File usage (might say Virtual Memory Size).  Then see what's using it.

Accepted Solution

Andre Thibodeau earned 84 total points
ID: 33550372

Quoted from a microsoft article...

"A frequently asked question is how big should I make the pagefile? There is no single answer to this question because it depends how much RAM is installed and how much virtual memory that workload requires. If there is no other information available, the typical recommendation of 1.5 times the amount of RAM that is in the computer. On server systems, a common objective is to have enough RAM so that there is never a shortage and so that the pagefile is essentially not used. On these systems, having a very large pagefile may serve no useful purpose. On the other hand, disk space is usually plentiful, so having a large pagefile (for example, 1.5 times the installed RAM) does not cause a problem and eliminates the concern about how large to make it."

You do have a big page file, however this may be normal depending on the server purpose.  You should run the preformance monitor and determine if you require that much page space.  You can manually adjust if necessary using the system control panel.

Are the two related?  Probably not, unless you are tight on hard disk space or server is overloaded.  During the applying computer settings, the system is starting services in the backround, and will not display a logon gui until it is ready for a logon.  Depending on the server's purpose, this process may take a while, and could be considered normal.


Expert Comment

ID: 33550401

The paging file issue is mostly explained above by athibodeau. As for the server staying a while in the applying computer settings, it may also be a DNS issue because at that step is when the server applies the domain policies.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 33550760
The applying computer settings is possibly due to your AD GPO. Do you know what settings are enabled on your GPO?

Also, if you have the feature "always wait for network" GPO option set, this can also cause this effect.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 33551085
I don't get it. The PF usage graph is not the Pagefile. 11.5 GB used on a 16GB RAM system may be completely normal if it's running all kinds of database services. The server is just utilizing the RAM it has, and there's no need to decrease usage (I'd even recommend against it).

One other obvious question: is the server a domain controller? The 'Applying computer settings' stage usually takes a healthy while on DCs.

The 'Always wait for network' setting is here, if you're interested:
Computer Settings | Adm. templates | System | Logon | Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 33551123
The label says "PF Usage" but that is not what it is showing. This is actually the Commit Charge. This is not RAM usage, actual pagefile usage, or any combination of the two. It isn't a measurement of anything that physically exists. It can be thought of as potential pagefile usage. Actual pagefile usage will typically be much lower. And much of the data that is in the pagefile will also be in RAM. There is nothing in Task Manager that shows actual pagefile usage.

The Commit Charge has little influence on performance. You just need to be certain that it is well under the Commit Limit.

It is really unfortunate that Microsoft chose to label this gauge "PF Usage". It has been the cause of an enormous amount of confusion and has resulted in a great deal of unwarranted criticism of Windows memory management.

Author Comment

ID: 33551148
These comments are helping me tremendously with my troubleshooting. We are still looking into it.

It looks like the issues we are having may have nothing to do with the PF Usage. However, I have learned a lot.

Expert Comment

ID: 33554958
Make sure you check out in your network settings to uncheck register in DNS for the primary nic that you are using.  This is one of the gotchas that I have found that has this problem. Just go the network properties of the NIC and uncheck the Register in DNS option. This may help you out.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 33556469
scameron447: I definitely don't agree with that advice, especially since we have zero information on the server. Bad idea on a domain controller!

Assisted Solution

lscarbor earned 83 total points
ID: 33566972
Size is not a problem unless you don't have enough -- it should be 1.5 times the RAM. Put a small pagefile on the C: drive ( i like a GB) then put the 1.5 X one on another drive. If you have the spindles, you can put up a couple of drives for the pagefiles alone.
Once you know the size, set the top and bottom to the setting you've chosen.
The important thing is to have enough it seems. I see MS training people setting up 2008 64 bit example computers with 25 GB pagefile when the unit has 8. In the 64 bit 2008 world the numbers seem to be changing.

Pagefiles can be simple if you look at them the right way. First, different OS have different requirements. Different services require different amounts.

Best pagefile verbiage I know is:

Pagefiles aren't as important as RAM. Dial that in, and then calculate pagefile size.

Here's the MS version:

Some info on modifications that change the RAM supported:

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33570528
Many good tidbits of information. It looks like the problems we are having are not related to the PF. We are working with our software vendor. Thanks again!

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