Virtual Memory on SD Card? Out of Memory on Laptop w/ 4GB of RAM !

I have a laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with 4GB of RAM installed (maxed out).
I just replaced it's hard disk with a 480 GB Intel SSD. The SSD works fast and great!

However, with only a few applications open, I'll get a "Close Programs" warning from Windows due to being low on memory, and if I ignore it, the programs listed in the dialog will close. This is of course a result of trying to optimize the SSD's life by disabling virtual memory on the SSD drive -- and thereby reducing excess writes to the SSD as per all the guides out there.

The laptop has an SD Card Slot, and I picked up a "PNY Elite Performance 32GB Class 10 90MB/s SDHC SD Card" on sale, (which I'll call "SD Card" to avoid confusion with the SSD drive).
Of course, I don't care about flash wear on the SD Card (cheap), but I do on the SSD (pricy).

My intent was to leave it tucked away in the laptop's built-in slot, and either:


enable either Windows ReadyBoost on the card, OR


enable Virtual Memory (Page File) on JUST the SD Card ( disabled on the SSD )Turns out ReadyBoost says I don't need ReadyBoost at all on my PC because with the speed of the SSD it won't help anyway. Fine, I trust it.

However, when go to the Windows 7 System Properties > Advanced tab > Performance > Settings > Advanced > Virtual Memory > Change...  dialog, the SSD Drive is the only location listed (with virtual memory disabled) and the SD Card doesn't even appear in the list as an option!

The Question: How do I make the laptop see the SD card as something available for use as virtual memory?
Who is Participating?
Frosty555Connect With a Mentor Commented:
You don't. SD cards are low performance removable storage, they are not intended for storing the Windows pagefile. If Windows were to write the pagefile to a removable storage device, and then the removable device suddenly disappears (e.g. it was removed) windows would almost immediately bluescreen.

Besides that, the performance would be terrible. Even the best of SD cards have poor write speeds in comparison to an SSD or even a real hard disk. When Windows does decide to write to the pagefile it will slow things down so much that it would nullify all the performance gains you hoped to achieve by installing the SSD in the first place.

SSDs have gotten a lot better in the last couple of years. Wear issues for something as inconsequential as the pagefile on a modern SSD is not something you really need to be concerned about. IMHO, i'd just put the pagefile on the SSD, don't fret too much over it. The SSD is very likely going to outlive your laptop.
Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
My understanding of ReadyBoost is that it is intended to help speed up the system by moving important Windows system files from a slow hard disk to a faster USB based flash device.  But since you have an SSD already, it's kinda pointless to use Readyboost.

As for putting a pagefile on a flash drive, I've never tried (don't think I would).  However, unless MS blocked the functionality you might be able to do the Windows 7 equivalents for this article and accomplish what you want.

(Basically, one key, I think, is to format the flash drive from within Windows as NTFS.  (I am somewhat guessing here)

And I'd ask you to consider that your laptop maxes out at 4 GB of RAM - that means it's an old laptop with a relatively limited life left even with an SSD.  And given the pricing on SSDs are dropping, leaving the pagefile on the SSD will likely NOT significantly impact the useful life of the system.
Seth SimmonsConnect With a Mentor Sr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
sd cards and flash drives are not available for pagefile placement

can't find the article now but i do remember reading long ago microsoft saying these type of removable devices cannot be used for pagefile placement or as install drive for windows

as was mentioned, since you already have an ssd, readyboost will not make things better since you already have fast access time to the drive.  i see no real option besides a newer system that supports more memory; you've already maxed out your hardware options on this one
travisjbennettAuthor Commented:
I wasn't able to get Windows 7 to allow the SD card to host a swap file, despite the suggestions here.

It's a Lenovo x200 Tablet. Lenovo says the max is 4GB RAM, but many suspect it could take 8GB. Without someone saying they've gotten 8GB to work, I don't want to risk eating the cost of the RAM for nothing if it only recognizes the first 4GB (which I already have across 2x 2GB).

I ended up putting a separate 8GB partition at the end of the SSD, and configured it for 6GB-8GB of virtual memory. By putting it on its own partition, I figure any flash wear that may occur will be separated from my actual programs and data, and should wear occur, I'll just move it over by another 8GB. Finally, with Intel's warranty on the SSD and the opinions of ya'll, I think all will be fine.

Since Frosty posted first, and with the solution closest to the one I selected, I'll award him most of the points. Thanks again everyone!
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
RAM is CHEAP.  I'd eat it if necessary.  If this were a full size laptop, CRU (I Believe) makes a DVD/CD drive adapter that accepts a SATA HD instead - remove the CD/DVD, replace with a second drive.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.