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Trying to understand something about Pagefile.sys

By luvhuffer ยท 4 replies
Jan 31, 2008
  1. I don't really have a problem per say, but more of a question. I have my page file disabled with the system properties app. I also have disable Paging Executive activated in the registry. Yet I'm always showing between 280 and 700MB's being used when I look in Page File Usage in the task manager. The file Pagefile.sys isn't even installed on the system. Anyone that can tell me why I'm still seeing that? Enquiring minds want to know! <g>
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Assuming that you have disabled the pagefile indeed, it may mean the program data that is not put to swapfile, but left in the oroginal dll/exe file. I'm not so familiar with how Windows reports its pagefile usage

    When an OS decides to free up some RAM and starts to page something out, it checks where this memory page came from. If it came from an executable file or a library or some other file and was not modified, then it would be pointless to write the data to the swap file since the same data is intact in the original file anyway. So instead the OS simply frees this memory page and makes a note of which file to get the data back from if it is required. The memory page is "swapped out", but instead of the pagefile, the data is in its original source file.

    Why are you disabling your pagefile? Have you run some benchmarks to see whether this actually makes your system faster?
  3. luvhuffer

    luvhuffer TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 443

    Ya it makes it a little snappier. I haven't run any benchies but it's noticable for me. But nothing dramatic. And with 3 gigs of ram and the system pared down to run really lean, I don't really need it. And although I've heard that some programs need a swap file to run, I haven't had any problem with anything. Occasionally I'm playing with some hefty graphics files in the neighborhood of up to 20,000x10,000 pixels and even then I'm handling it OK. Like I said the memory it's showing in task manager being used isn't that much of a big deal. My computer knowledge is mostly experience, a lot of reading, and common sense, but no formal education, or training. And sometimes I get issues I just don't get, or questions I can't find answers to.
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    OK. Just forget what I said before.. After some research, it looks like Windows doesn't report memory-mapped files as pagefile. Also, the PF Usage thing in the Task Manager doesn't show the real pagefile usage - it shows how much page file would be needed if you emptied the system RAM (almost) completely. So even if you have no page file, the graph still tells you how much you would theoretically need if a monster hog program wanted to use all your RAM.

    And no, there is no way to find out the real pagefile usage from Task Manager.
  5. luvhuffer

    luvhuffer TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 443

    OK Thanks much for that. Appreciate the help!
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