Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


"System Managed" Paging File Seems Low

  1. #11


    Redmond
    Posts : 651
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Just be aware that having no paging file at all keeps the memory manager (specifically the modified page writer thread) from being able to "page" dirty memory pages to the paging file if memory pressure dictates. If you have a lot of RAM and a fixed use-case scenario this may not be a problem, but you could end up in a scenario where there isn't a lot of memory pressure, but a lot of previously in-use memory pages are on the standby or modified page list, they won't be paged out and you can end up with an out of memory error in an application or three if they require touching memory pages into it's working set, or worse, a bugcheck if Windows was the "application" that needed more memory pages in it's working set.

    It's not a common scenario, but it is a scenario that could happen if you totally disable the paging file. Unless you have a *really* small disk, it would still be better to have a 1GB or larger paging file versus none at all. Most paging operations are still read, not write, and assuming even just somewhat decent hardware, there shouldn't be a performance hit for doing so under normal use case scenarios.

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  2. #12


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by cluberti View Post
    Just be aware that having no paging file at all keeps the memory manager (specifically the modified page writer thread) from being able to "page" dirty memory pages to the paging file if memory pressure dictates. If you have a lot of RAM and a fixed use-case scenario this may not be a problem, but you could end up in a scenario where there isn't a lot of memory pressure, but a lot of previously in-use memory pages are on the standby or modified page list, they won't be paged out and you can end up with an out of memory error in an application or three if they require touching memory pages into it's working set, or worse, a bugcheck if Windows was the "application" that needed more memory pages in it's working set.

    It's not a common scenario, but it is a scenario that could happen if you totally disable the paging file. Unless you have a *really* small disk, it would still be better to have a 1GB or larger paging file versus none at all. Most paging operations are still read, not write, and assuming even just somewhat decent hardware, there shouldn't be a performance hit for doing so under normal use case scenarios.
    Thank you for the details.

    In the end I set the paging to 1GB, better not taking any risks.
    I read something about it online and you seem to confirm this.

    The pagefile is better set on an SSD since more reads are involved, all goes well.
    The system managed pagefile for 16GB RAM is bigger than 8GB if put on a HDD but it's about 5GB for an SSD, so it seems.

    I hope the 1GB fixed size is enough, otherwise I'll increase it.
    So far there were no issues (VirtualBox VM's were running not using more than 2GB so far), as you said, there is a possibility but depends on memory usage.

    Cheers!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #13


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center



    Thank you for the details.

    In the end I set the paging to 1GB, better not taking any risks.
    I read something about it online and you seem to confirm this.

    The pagefile is better set on an SSD since more reads are involved, all goes well.
    The system managed pagefile for 16GB RAM is bigger than 8GB if put on a HDD but it's about 5GB for an SSD, so it seems.

    I hope the 1GB fixed size is enough, otherwise I'll increase it.
    So far there were no issues (VirtualBox VM's were running not using more than 2GB so far), as you said, there is a possibility but depends on memory usage.

    Cheers!
    You can Google this if you wish.
    The rule of thumb is the page file should be upped to 1 times your amount of Ram.
    If you decide to up it.

    I have 4 GBs Ram so I set my page file to 6 GBs.
    4 x 1 = 6

    That is considered a safe ammount.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #14


    First: This has morphed into a great thread.

    I'm aware of the 1 1/2 X principle, but that goes back a long time and I would like to think that Windows' memory management is more sophisticated by now.

    Original reason for asking is that simple File Manager operations, like opening Task Manager, opening a Control Panel item take a long time - as much as 10 seconds - on a malware-free machine. I thought perhaps the paging file might be behind it, but evidentally not.
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  5. #15


    Setting the initial pagefile to 1.5 X RAM size is a very old idea and was modified in Vista and later. Now with larger RAM size the pagefile will only be equal to RAM size. This reflected the fact that RAM sizes are much larger now than when XP was released. XP would run (not well) with only 64 MB RAM and it needed a substantial pagefile.

    The size of pagefile that is needed (for memory management purposes) depends almost entirely on the workload. But since Windows has no idea what the workload is and the pagefile size must be set to something, it sets the initial size to something related to RAM size. The idea is to ensure that the size will be adequate and with a reasonable workload that will almost always be the case. With a large RAM size and a modest workload it may well be larger than necessary but that will have no issues, other than wasting what is usually an insignificant amount of disk space. Of course with an SSD it may not be insignificant and in that case the pagefile size can usually be reduced.

    Edit: Pagefile access should not normally impact performance unless you are seriously short on RAM. The pagefile is not some kind of overflow area used only when RAM runs short. It is used in an ongoing role as a place to store data that has not been recently used. Freed from the burden of holding static data more is available for more important purposes. This usually improves performance.
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  6. #16


    Redmond
    Posts : 651
    Windows 8.1 x64


    In actuality, the 1.5 times was actually obsolete with XP/2003 if your system had more than 1GB of RAM (you can check the size of the paging file on XP or 2003 if it's set to let Windows manage - it will be 1x RAM if RAM is > 1GB), but yes it's a relic from NT4 and older days when systems didn't have resources available to do work without requiring the additional backing of a paging file. The paging file allows for a larger commit limit (most folks don't run their systems out of RAM these days without an app displaying a memory leak of some kind) as all committed pages must be backed, and it allows for capturing a memory dump if a DedicatedDumpFile location is not configured in the registry. It is also for paging out dirty memory pages (pages on the Modified or Standby lists, basically) if memory pressure exists, although on large RAM systems used for everyday use I don't see this except in rare cases anymore.

    There are some apps (mostly older, but they exist) that will complain if they don't find a paging file, but they're also rare. In my experience, 1GB is a good size for systems with 32GB of RAM or less to capture a kernel memory dump, although in certain scenarios this may need to be tweaked if the kernel memory footprint grows larger - I see this on heavily used file servers and Hyper-V servers, for instance). There's not a hard and fast number, of course, as kernel memory footprint is somewhat dynamic since Vista and the advent of 64bit Windows, but if you're running 32GB of RAM or less on a "normal" system for home or business use, 1GB is most often more than enough to capture a kernel memory dump and allow the memory manager to keep things working properly otherwise.
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  7. #17


    Ohio
    Posts : 473
    Windows 8 Pro


    I could be wrong on what I say, but I honestly believe that Microsoft could do away with the Page File (which used to be called Swap File)if they wanted to. I believe that the reason MS originally came up with the Swap File was because RAM was so expensive. At one time if you had 4GB of RAM it was considered a lot. So instead of using installed RAM they came up with the Swap File which would use disk space instead of RAM. Now that we have so much installed RAM, it makes me wonder if the Page File is really necessary.Having said that, I realize that I could be incorrect in my easement of things.I would like someone else's thinking on this. I promise that I will not be offended if someone tells me that I am not entirely correct. I'm used to it--my wife tells me that all the time.
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  8. #18


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    I migrated straight from XP Pro to Windows 8 Pro.

    Thanks for all the info on Ram & Pagefile size.
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  9. #19


    I could be wrong on what I say, but I honestly believe that Microsoft could do away with the Page File (which used to be called Swap File)if they wanted to. I believe that the reason MS originally came up with the Swap File was because RAM was so expensive. At one time if you had 4GB of RAM it was considered a lot. So instead of using installed RAM they came up with the Swap File which would use disk space instead of RAM. Now that we have so much installed RAM, it makes me wonder if the Page File is really necessary.Having said that, I realize that I could be incorrect in my easement of things.I would like someone else's thinking on this. I promise that I will not be offended if someone tells me that I am not entirely correct. I'm used to it--my wife tells me that all the time.
    Microsoft could of course do away with the pagefile if they wished. But with technology as it current stands, and is likely to be in the foreseeable future, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. It provides too many advantages at too low a cost.

    In the System dialog box Microsoft describes the pagefile as:
    "A paging file is an area on the hard disk that Windows uses as if it were RAM."
    It isn't that the statement is really wrong, just that people have taken such an extremely literal interpretation of what is actually a very crude description. I believe that Microsoft has taken a great deal of unwarranted criticism because of that one statement.

    The way in which the pagefile is actually used is really very complex. It optimizes the use of RAM, however much you might have. I will not attempt to describe the operation of the pagefile beyond what I already have in this thread. When you really understand this the value of the pagefile becomes very clear.
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  10. #20


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Good posts.

    Today, the 1.5x rule doesn't apply anymore. As I said, from examples, system managed for 16GB ram is just 8GB on a HDD and 5GB on a SSD. So the pagefile is size-aware (not too big please) and also ssd-aware (smaller if you can).

    The file swapfile.sys is for the hybrid boot and has nothing (or almost nothing) to do with the pagefile.sys....

    But this is what I wanted to hear:
    Quote Originally Posted by cluberti View Post
    There are some apps (mostly older, but they exist) that will complain if they don't find a paging file, but they're also rare. In my experience, 1GB is a good size for systems with 32GB of RAM or less to capture a kernel memory dump, although in certain scenarios this may need to be tweaked if the kernel memory footprint grows larger - I see this on heavily used file servers and Hyper-V servers, for instance). There's not a hard and fast number, of course, as kernel memory footprint is somewhat dynamic since Vista and the advent of 64bit Windows, but if you're running 32GB of RAM or less on a "normal" system for home or business use, 1GB is most often more than enough to capture a kernel memory dump and allow the memory manager to keep things working properly otherwise.
    1GB works fine for 16GB ram, it's confirmed.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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"System Managed" Paging File Seems Low
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