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pagefile has grown, will it shrink?

Posted on 2011-09-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Windows Server 2008 R2 64 with 24gb's of memory (developers requested that much). The C: drive where windows is installed has 40gb's of space and all apps, data is elsewhere.

We were running some intensive scripts at the command line, over 8 hours to run, and the page file grew until it was almost 20gb's.

Will it shrink back on it's own or do I need to do something with it? It's only a problem because the alerts keep popping up that the drive is out of space. Otherwise the server is working just fine but clearly a pagefile that big is not normal.
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Question by:AJNS
7 Comments
 
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by:khairil
ID: 36558057
Hi,

Usually the pagefile exist and grow as Windows needed. Size of pagefile recommended between 1 - 1.5 of memory size, and is automatically created by Windows unless you set it otherwise. By default Windows manages the size of the pagefile, which can shrink or grow dynamically, and with no lower or upper bounds. The pro is that you don't have to worry about sizing your pagefile, the con is that your pagefile can become fragmented and big. Here is the best practice of using pagefile, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/889654

You can manage manually the pagefile size, but it is not really recommended. You can change it at  Advanced System Settings, on the Advanced tab click the Performance/Settings button. Advanced System Settings can be reached by right clicking "Computer" and choosing Properties OR from Server Manager by clicking the Change System properties link. Over here you can set new size or refuse to use pagefile at all.
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Expert Comment

by:John_Arifin
ID: 36558063
See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2021748. I hope it helps.
If your application allows,   it is worth to consider the use of the fixed size page file.
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Expert Comment

by:tampnic
ID: 36559430
You can move your page file to a non-system partition - however windows will not create a full crash memory dump if the server encounters a STOP error in this configuration. You can pay to get server dumps analysed through your support contract with Microsoft, as they are not trivial to inspect. Event information often provides good enough clues as to why a server crashed so lack of a memory dump has never troubled me before. Personally I always put the pagefile on a dedicated partition to prevent fragmentation. If the system disk is striped then fragmentation is less of an issue and I don't bother.

Do you have unallocated space on any of the disks on the server? I was brought up to always leave approx 10% of disk space unpartioned if you can - allows for quick creation of staging areas for large data transfers or leaves space to grow a partition if necessary to alleviate a temporary issue such as this one.

Cheers,
  Chris
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Author Comment

by:AJNS
ID: 36559856
All of that is really good info. Right now it is managed by Windows and I need to know if it will shrink on it's own again back to a few gigabytes the way it was before I ran the script and it got large.

Will it shrink on it's own, should I reboot or will I have to manually go in and set it smaller then reboot to get it to shrink.
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Accepted Solution

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tampnic earned 125 total points
ID: 36560229
I have never seen a pagefile shrink unless changes are made and a reboot is done - not saying it can't happen but I've been managed windows boxes since NT3 and never seen it yet.

To shrink it - turn off virtual memory, restart server (you might have to delete pagefile.sys manually, IIRC you do) , then set windows to use managed pagefile again.

Cheers,
  Chris
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Assisted Solution

by:LMiller7
LMiller7 earned 125 total points
ID: 36561648
With the default System Managed configuration the pagefile will have an initial configured size. Except for the most unusual situations it will never go below this size. The system will not enlarge the pagefile unless it is necessary to raise the commit limit to handle a high workload. After a return to a more normal workload the system has the ability to shrink the pagefile. But it can only do this if all references to the extended portion are no longer needed. The system will not rearrange pagefile contents to allow shrinkage. So how much and when the pagefile will shrink is unknown and unknowable.
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Author Closing Comment

by:AJNS
ID: 36569084
Thanks guys, really just wanted to know if pagefile would eventually go back down. Since it won't I'll have to manage it myself which is no problem.

Thanks
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