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Windows 7 swap file size?



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#1 dbminter

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:54 PM

I'm about to date myself here. :) Back in the good ol' DOS days, more advanced PC users did all kinds of tricks with partition sizes and attributes to maximize Window's swapfile, both in terms of speed and access. One of the most common, and the one that I used, was to create a FAT partition that was only just slightly larger than the size intended for the swapfile and to set the cluster size to as high a value as allowed give the size, format, and file size limitations of the partition. What this did was created a swapfile that never changed size, thus never got fragmented, and the larger cluster size allowed for faster file access, as long the appropriate Windows swapfile settings were applied.


The recommended value WAY back then for the Windows swapfile size was 3 times the amount of your RAM. This was, of course, back when 1 GB of RAM was unheard of. Now, of course, we've got 4 GB as the cap for RAM size that can be accessible by 32 bit versions of Windows.


So, my question is, what is the recommended size of the swapfile? If we apply the 3 times the RAM of the old days, I have 4 GB of RAM, so, should I make a swapfile size of 12 GB? Also, is there a reasonable assumption that even though the Windows swapfile size can still be made 3 times the RAM, would the virtual memory still be capped at 4 GB like the RAM is for 32 bit versions of Windows. Thus, should I make my swapfile 4 GB large, like in the old days back when I had smaller RAM sizes? If I do make a 12 GB filesize, I will need it on an NTFS partition with a smaller cluster size, like 4.


There you have it. :) What should I set the size of the swapfile for now in these newer days of larger RAM sizes?

#2 Cynthia

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 10:47 PM

I'm lazy, so it let Windows decide it for me. :(

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#3 dbminter

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 11:39 PM

The annoying thing in Vista and Windows 7 is that you MUST have a swapfile, regardless of size, on the Windows root directory/Windows drive, even if you create a separate one that IS large enough on another drive. Something to do with Windows's error logging. The file must be present to dump log data to. Idiots! :angry:

#4 Mike89

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 06:35 PM

The annoying thing in Vista and Windows 7 is that you MUST have a swapfile, regardless of size, on the Windows root directory/Windows drive, even if you create a separate one that IS large enough on another drive. Something to do with Windows's error logging. The file must be present to dump log data to. Idiots!


This is just not true. I have two hard drives, first one into two partitions. The first partition is 50 gigs and that's where I installed Windows 7 (x64). Unlike a lot people who actually think everything is supposed to be installed in "C:\Program Files" (or "C:\Program Files (x86)" ) (because that's Microsoft's default), I put hardly anything there. Almost everything I install is outside that first partition.

Anyway I have never put a swapfile on the C drive. When you do this it screams that no dump file can be created on C drive (unless a minimum 200 mb swap file is there) but I don't need it and have never needed to use it. I've done this for years and never one problem.

This whole swap file/swap file size thing just bugs the absolute crap out of me. That's because the information you get when you start trying to get accurate info on it is so varied and so inconsistent it's not even funny. Even trying to get a straight answer from Microsoft is next to impossible. Everyone has their own view on what they THINK it means from what they've read. Most information you read now is based from 10 years ago (or more) and the views stated as fact from every Joe Blow computer expert are still from that period. It's like the "everyone is still using 128 mb of ram view". 1 1/2 times physical ram size still stated by Microsoft like back when we were still shooting the buffalo. So according to them if you have 512 kb of ram you need a 768 kb swap file. If you have 12 GIGS of physical memory you need a 18 GIG swap file. Microsoft really needs to get up to speed and educate their own people so we can get a straight accurate answer to the swap file issue.

I have 12 gigs of memory and have disabled the swap file completely. Before I did this I read for days on it and got absolutely no where. I don't know anymore on what's accurate than I did before I read. That's because there are so many different views/opinions/, (most stated as fact) that I'm just hard pressed to believe any of them anymore. I ended up saying hell with it and decided the only way to know is to try it myself and get my own real world testing results. So far no issues problems whatsoever. My system is perfectly happy with it's 12 gigs of memory (and no swap) in spite of Microsoft, or the naysayers that yell "turn it back on dude"!

Sorry for the rant. Whenever I read about the swap file, I just come away irritated cause I don't find answers I can depend on. It seems the "Joe", "Fred", and "Willy's" of the computer world are never going to agree.I don't think even Microsoft knows anymore (if they ever did) cause if they do, they sure aren't telling.

Edited by Mike89, 27 July 2011 - 07:26 PM.

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#5 dbminter

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 06:59 PM

You are right in that you don't have to have a swapfile on the Windows drive. You can use Windows just fine without it. You may not be able to write Windows dump logs, though. So, I enable it because I may need such a log someday. I've never had to yet, though. :)

#6 dbminter

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:39 PM

Of course, after I say that, I come across the very first time I needed to write a dump file and there was only 500 MB for a 600 MB dump. :rolleyes:




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