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pagefile is extremely large

Posted on 2015-02-09
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Last Modified: 2015-02-21
Hello, on one of my clients servers I noticed that the C: partition was down to 6GB of free space.  Upon taking a closer look, I noticed that the system managed pagefile had grown to 25GB in size.  When I look at the settings in the Virtual Memory windows - the recommend size is 4600MB.  So I do not know why it is allocating 25GB of space?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Note:  I set the setting to none, rebooted - it was gone.  Set it back to system managed, rebooted - it is back a 25GB now.  Server 2012 Essentials.  8GB of RAM.
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Question by:Duncan007
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Lee W, MVP earned 300 total points
ID: 40599630
If your pagefile is that large, you should add RAM - 8 GB is OK but not great and RAM is fairly cheap.

Next, you should be using Task Manager to determine what is using your RAM.  You may be able to control it if it's something like WSUS and the Windows Internal Database by limiting the amount of RAM it uses.
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by:Duncan007
ID: 40599650
I will buy some additional memory.

I checked Task Manager - only 2.8GB in use - 5.1GB available... the processes Tab shows only 35% memory in use... I think something else is going on.  I think WSUS got pulled in Server 2012 Essentials.
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by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 40599669
Dear Duncan007,

pagefile plays an important role when your system struggle for PHYSICAL RAM. PAGEFILE act as virtual mempry and swap some pages into page file from phisycal RAM those are less priorities or not really have any work to do so physical memory would get release. As per microsoft recommendations page file shoukd be 1.5xPhysical Ram
so if you have 8GB physical ram install theb your ideal page file size should be 8GBx1.5
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40599673
WSUS is not enabled by default but is installable.  That's a common database... but if you have any other database, SQL frequently eats up memory.

If it's not SQL, I'll take back what I said about Task Manager - download the SysInternals Tool Process Explorer and add the column Virtual Size to the process list view.  Determine what is taking up the RAM (Task Manager sucks in my opinion, you used to get more easily identified pagefile usage in 2003/XP days... now it's not as easy to tell.  (And the Virtual Size isn't necessarily Pagefile usage, but can help identify processes with runaway memory usage).
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Author Comment

by:Duncan007
ID: 40599702
Hi Lee - thanks for the info.  I did as you suggested but nothing is standing out in the Virtual Size column.  Do you think I should manually set it to the 1.5X 8GB size?  Thanks.
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by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 40599713
Duncan,  you can manually set the page file as per rwcommended if there is no highly memory conauming application/processes running
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40599721
That is a common suggestion... I wouldn't be afraid to do so... but System Managed SHOULD be fine as well.

Can you post a screen shot of Process Explorer with that Virtual Size column enabled?

Also, does the server have multiple logical drives?  If so, consider creating the pagefile on one of the other drives (IDEALLY another physical drive to enhance performance, but if space is a concern, any other logical drive will be fine).
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by:Duncan007
ID: 40600474
Attached is the screen shot.

The server has logical drives C: and D: (both part of the RAID-1 configuration).
PECapture.pdf
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by:serialband
serialband earned 200 total points
ID: 40604625
What is the server used for?  It seems to be a file server with lots of connections.  Are there lots of login sessions?  Are there lots of users?  Are there lots of file shares?  I see a DFS replication process.

If you do need 25 GB of swap, then you really need to upgrade the RAM.  The odd number also suggests that you were running dynamic swap, which means you likely have a fragmented swap fille.

Step 1 - Upgrade RAM.  Preferably to 32 GB.

Step 2 - Do the following:
Disable swap.
Delete the old swap file if it still exists on the disk.
Run Defrag.
Enable swap, but set a fixed maximum size.

That should clear out the previous swap settings.  Don't make it dynamic, because then it eventually gets scattered all over the disk and is even slower than when it's all in one contiguous block.

The recommended 1.5 x RAM for a pagefile is entirely outdated.  That worked back when RAM was 1 GB or less, and very expensive, but it's going to slow you down.  I would set it to 4GB, unless you absolutely need that much swap space.  Your system slows down tremendously during swap.  It makes more sense to enable swap for overflow and not actually keep it around for "normal" operations.  Purchase sufficient RAM and disable swap, until you need it for overflow.  The system runs much faster when you don't ever swap to disk.

Starting when 4 GB of RAM was standard, I kept swap at 2 GB, then 4 GB for any system with over 8GB of RAM.  When you have 32 GB RAM or more, it's pretty wasteful to allocate too much swap, because you'll be swapping all that data and everything slows down.  I only enable it when a system starts running out of RAM, before we can get the upgrades can be purchased.  If you have SSD boot drives, it's not quite as bad, but you should still avoid large swap.  If you need to swap over 8 GB, then it's definitely time to upgrade.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Duncan007
ID: 40623072
I removed the swap file, powered down the system, upgraded the memory to 16GB, powered up, set the swap file back to system managed to see what result I would get - the file is now at approx. 2.3GB.  Problem solved.  So I am going to leave it like that for now.  Lesson learned - Windows 2012 Essentials wants at least 16GB of RAM.  Thank you everyone for all the help.
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