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DisablePagingExecutive: What's the worst that can happen?

By Dawn1113 ยท 12 replies
Feb 25, 2012
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  1. Hi. Need help deciding.

    I've got a new system running 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate on an SSD. I'm testing some optimizations right now and came across this registry tweak on the internet. I tried playing the Battlefield 3 singleplayer campaign with paging executive disabled and gameplay was smoother, faster. Frame transitions seemed less obvious. Also, other applications seemed to load and respond much quicker.

    But I cannot discount placebo without further testing and actual measurements with Fraps, I guess. I'm worried, however, about the possible ill effects. Apart from games, I will only be using this PC for internet browsing and work-related stuff (mostly MS Word, MS Excel, Powerpoint). I have 8gb of RAM on my machine.

    Does anyone out there have any experience using this registry tweak? What is the very worst thing that can happen if I go on testing my machine with paging executive disabled? If I do decide to test further, I can always re-enable paging executive again by restoring the original "0" value in the registry?

    Thank you in advance for your time and effort.
  2. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    I haven't tried it on any machines other than mine, but when I had, this is what happened:
    I once unexpectedly needed more RAM than I had (I was running too many rainbowtables at once), and my PC crashed. I enabled PagingExecutive, ran the application again, with all other apps open as before, and it didn't crash.

    And BTW, You call 8GB "only"? I am shocked. Almost too shocked for words. That's often more than necessary, even for Skyrim. Why exactly do you need more than 8 GB of RAM?
  3. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 322   +65

    Thank you for your reply. An application crash doesn't sound too bad for my purposes. If that is the worst case scenario, then I just might go on experimenting with the tweak. It'd be good if I had a little more input, though. I've read about people running into problems with file corruption, albeit most of them were using XP. How'd you think that could happen? From what I've read, the tweak prevents the OS from rolling out certain executable codes to a pagefile on disk and retains them in RAM. I'm assuming that keeping the codes in RAM, where they can be accessed more quickly, explains the performance increase. Exactly which those codes are, I don't know. I'm trying to read up on it but most of the material out there are for people who are knowledgeable about these things. Nothing the novice can digest without busting a fuse.

    As for the word "only", I used it in relation to the tweak. My brother tells me 8gb RAM isn't enough to merit any kind of registry alteration relating to memory management. I really don't know how much is enough in this case. :eek: Maybe I should edit that word out. Heh-heh.
  4. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Your brother is right. 'Cause then not only the kernel but ALL processes would be loaded into RAM. That means if you exceed your RAM, you are as well in deep trouble. As for corruption, it never happened to me, but it can happen because of RAM being volatile. I don't have much knowledge on that.
    So you can experiment, but I recommend you backup all your important files into a flash drive or the like. Better be safe than sorry.
  5. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 322   +65

    Just in the nick of time there. I was just about to go offline and go through my msconfig routine for singleplayer games. Darn. I was really getting used to playing BF3 with paging executive disabled. I hadn't thought about RAM becoming volatile with everything loaded onto it. That makes sense.

    I think I'll proceed very slowly with this, if at all. Maybe I'll read up a little more and do some more research. The posts and literature I've found on the net about this tweak are mostly inconclusive and relatively dated -- and the "tech-speak" can at times be impenetrable.

    Thanks very much for your tip. I do appreciate it.
  6. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    My pleasure. :)
  7. Basic

    Basic TS Rookie

    Just to clarify, RAM is always considered volatile as its contents is destroyed when power is lost (or at least within a few seconds).

    There's a difference between volatility and reliability... If anything stored in RAM changes while the system is powered up without the operating system intentionally changing it, that's a hardware fault and will cause problems no matter where you're storing your kernel. Most likely, it would cause the process using that memory to either behave in an unexpected way or crash entirely. Of course, depending on where the problem is, that could be an application or the Operating System itself.

    That said, even if - worst-case - you had a bad stick of RAM, all that would happen is that the copy in memory would be corrupted and your system would most likely BSOD. If that happens, rebooting would load a fresh copy from disk into RAM - so no long-term harm (of course, you'd need to replace the RAM)

    I can't comment on what other risks there may be with preventing executive paging but the fact that RAM is volatile shouldn't be a consideration.

    You may be interested to know that Visual Studio (Microsoft's flagship software development tool) actually requires executive paging to be disabled for some of its profiling tools to work properly on x64 systems (Specifically, the Concurrency Visualiser).
  8. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 322   +65

    Hi, Basic. Welcome to Techspot.

    Marnomancer and I discussed the subject of this thread not long ago. I likewise consulted two other very knowledgeable TS friends of mine; and, like you, all three were ultimately in agreement that I probably won't do any real damage to my system by disabling executive paging. (Pardon the bad sentence construction. :))

    I've had it disabled for four months running now. I haven't noticed any real improvements. It did seem like my system responded a little faster in the beginning, but now I suspect that was just probably placebo. It hadn't occurred to me to restore the registry value.

    Anyways, thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated.
  9. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Yeah, and a somewhat-long while ago, I even gave a full A-OK to disable it. :)
    Being on a *nix, I'm running at vm.swappiness=0, but am still using only 10.2% of my 2 GB RAM.
    So as long as you have 1 GB+ of RAM, feel free to disable it.
  10. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Not according to Microsoft:

    (emphasis mine)

    I have a feeling Windows being "rendered unstable" means just what normally happens when it runs out of memory - slowdown followed by prompts to close apps that consume most of RAM.
  11. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,800   +460

    Been using it for years (disable page executive). Never had problems. Not sure if it helps at all either. My work machine has 12GB memory (and I comfortably use 8+GB all the time). Home machine has 16GB ram and I probably use 3-4GB most of the time there!
  12. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Yes, I became aware of that not long after I posted it. I think I cleared that out in the PM conversation though, but didn't correct the post.
    Thanks for pointing out. Saved some effort.
  13. chriscbd_19

    chriscbd_19 TS Rookie

    Disablepagingexecutive is a pretty good tweak in my opinion just as long as you have about a gig of ram or more. but you should still adjust the virtual memory on your computer.

    (disablepagingexecutive if the value is 0 then the page file is purging the files. when the valueis set to 1 then the pagefile keeps the info stored)

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