Windows - do I absolutely NEED pagefile?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by bellgamin, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    I am setting up a used laptop that I just inherited. The previous owner alloted 14000MB to pagefile & somehow it now holds 8760MB of whatever.

    This laptop has 8GB Ram and I won't use it for anything complex or demanding such as streaming movies & such. Thus, I don't see why I need pagefile but (admittedly) I am not a Windows expert. (However, I do know how properly to eliminate pagefile & also how to set it up.)

    Do I really need pagefile? If so, why -- & how much MB should I allot it?
     
  2. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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  3. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    As @Krusty said, it's best just to leave it enabled and let Windows automatically manage it.

    Page File.png
     
  4. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    With modern hardware with 8 GB of RAM or more... then, nope, it's not really needed. That's typically enough memory to support a reasonable number of concurrent apps without requiring virtual memory support; but it won't really hurt you to devote some space to it either. Honestly, even reading Microsoft's support article, one of the main reasons to continue to have it enabled is to back a crash dump if and when needed...

    How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows
     
  5. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I usually don't disable pagefile even with a lot of memory. With 8 GB of memory I would set my pagefile 2-4 GB for just-in-case situations.
     
  6. guest

    guest Guest

    i touch nothing, Windows' resources management is perfectly fine by default. We are not on Win98-XP where such tweaks and other tools were necessary.
     
  7. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I would set it to 3-4GB.
    On W7 here I have 16GB RAM & pagefile.sys is 5GB & working well.

    Pagefile.sys doesn't seem like it's needed but believe me if it's disabled rarely but every so often it'll produce BSODs.
     
  8. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    When I got this laptop it was slow as molasses. I did a defrag (with Puran) & it showed a "before fragmentation" of 64%. After the defrag it still showed 36% fragemented. So I killed pagefile (8760MB) & hibernate file (9214MB). Then I cleaned up services & startup a bit, after which I ran Puran again. Fragmentation dropped to 1%, & the laptop came to life.

    Based on a majority of your suggestions, I put in a new pagefile with min/max both set at 5000MB but left out the hibernate file (I'm always plugged in with this laptop -- I use a different one for travel). The laptop zips right along now.

    As for protection from crashes, I image often & have more that 3 months of images on-hand.

    I wish I could contact this laptop's previous owner so I could tactfully ask how he screwed it up so much. I bought it used but it's brand-new in appearance. The guy likely dumped it because it was terribly slow. Took over 5 minutes to boot-up & ran very slow once it got up. Now it's running fast and clean with a following wind.

    Again thanks for all your kind & instructive comments. :thumb::thumb:
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  9. Willy2

    Willy2 Registered Member

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    - Pagefile needed ? Look at what Resource Monitor reports. If the amount of FREE memory remains low (say lower than 10% for a long time) then I would increase the size of the page file. Reversely, if the amount of free memory is and remains high (say 50% or higher) for a LONG time then I would reduce the size of the pagefile or disable it.
    - Defragmentation ? I would use the build-in Windows defragment tool every now and then. It's intelligent enough to know that it needs to put all Windows system files at the beginning of the drive. This will help to decrease the start-up time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  10. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    Get rid of both pagefile & disable hibernate & indexing

    You WILL notice a decent difference :)
     
  11. Buddel

    Buddel Registered Member

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    +1
    I would leave pagefile.sys alone. No need to "tweak" or even remove this file.
     
  12. Special

    Special Registered Member

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    A Pagefile does nothing 99.9% of the time, but will causes heavy amount of "writes" to your SSD on every reboot, especially if you leave Windows to hand the size of it (x2 RAM amount). So enjoy accelerating the killing/slowing down of your SSD I guess, every bit of data being written to a NAND cell, the cell is slightly degraded.
     
  13. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    Yeah, good point about SSD's. I would definitely turn off the pagefile with an SSD.
     
  14. Buddel

    Buddel Registered Member

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    Hm... I would have thought modern SSDs are more robust these days. Maybe pagefile.sys slows things down a bit (if it is noticeable at all), but it's hard to imagine that it "kills" a SSD.
     
  15. Buddel

    Buddel Registered Member

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    I've just got rid of all this for testing purposes. I haven't noticed a difference yet. Hm...
     
  16. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

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    It's hard to see the value of something when the highest praise that can be given is 'paging doesn't slow Windows down that much.' If it had a significant useful purpose, then who cares about the loss of a few percentage points of performance. But most users don't really need it 99% of the time due to relatively expansive RAM (as compared to the 90's when virtual memory was devised in order to deal with systems with only 256 MB of RAM); and for...
    • 0.5% of the time it's for a crash dump that likely won't get submitted or reviewed anyway, so who cares; and
    • the final 0.5% of time it is for situations where the memory system is under duress; and while paging might prevent a memory allocation error and an immediate application crash, it alternatively often leaves you with an extremely unresponsive system subjected to page file thrashing.
    Personally, I prefer the memory allocation error over the page thrashing & unresponsive system.

    As for SSD's, a write is still a write. And every byte written is consuming drive lifetime. Yeah, sure, maybe modern SSD lifetimes are measured in TBW (Terabytes Written) that generally exceed most users needs... yet, nevertheless, why waste write cycles for something with minimal value add, imho.
     
  17. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    @Alec That's the best explanation of Pagefile I've ever read.
     
  18. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    In my opinion, the best way to deal with SSDs is to treat them exactly like hard drives and do absolutely nothing at all to minimise disk usage. Modern SSDs can handle such a large amount of writes, that I think it is pointless to try and limit disk usage by disabling the page file, or doing any other tweaks. If anyone wants to do things like this, that's up to them, but it's definitely not needed.

    The only two things I would consider with SSDs, are the following. When you buy a SSD and regularly afterwards, check for firmware updates, as they sometimes include important bug fixes. Don't defrag them with third party defrag tools. Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly safe to defrag them, but due to way they work, fragmentation doesn't degrade performance like it does for hard drives. As a result, any performance increase from defragging, should be very minimal at best, so it's pretty much pointless. An exception to this, is that some third party defrag tools now has specific defrag modes for SSDs. Sometimes this can increase performance, but most likely the drive is going to be very fast without defragging. It's important to note too, that Windows itself defrags SSDs. It is smart enough to know the difference between hard drives and SSDs and treat them differently. There is no reason to disable the scheduled defrag task.
    https://www.hanselman.com/blog/TheRealAndCompleteStoryDoesWindowsDefragmentYourSSD.aspx
     
  19. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    @Alec -- Nice explanation. Here's a big bouquet of beautiful bluebonnets to you, bro! :thumb:
     
  20. Willy2

    Willy2 Registered Member

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    - Is there a simple way to determine how much data has been written to the pagefile ? Or is there a program that keeps track of that ? Is there a way to determine what % of the pagefile is in use ? That would help the user to make a decision whether or not it's usefull to disable the page file.
    - Perhaps one of the developers of Microsoft has written an article on this topic ?
     
  21. guest

    guest Guest

    I have a monitor that calculate my swap usage, which is around 40%, not sure if it is really accurate but when I opened several heavy applications at same time, the percentage skyrocketed.
     
  22. Statler

    Statler Registered Member

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    I got my PC seven years ago, with an SSD drive for C: and two HDD drives. Over the years I had to replace three HDD drives due to failure, the only drive still running is the SSD. And I have my page file on the SSD.
     
  23. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    Quote from here - https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/e7/2009/05/05/support-and-qa-for-solid-state-drives/

     
  24. itman

    itman Registered Member

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    Win 10 will actually inform you of the recommended page file size:

    Page_File.png
     
  25. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    I just let Windows handle the pagefile as I assume at this point they know the OS better than I. They also know what an SSD is and I'm sure at this point they know how to handle one. If you're going to buy one don't be afraid to use it. No good reason to negate the benefits of it. Buy one, use it, back it up, replace it if it dies. Buy a good one. If it dies before the warranty is up get the replacement. If it outlasts the warranty you got your money's worth. Mechanical drives are so cheaply made these days they won't likely outlast a good SSD.
     
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