Windows XP Memory Tweak Guide Questions

By saberg ยท 11 replies
Jan 31, 2003
  1. I am using msinfo32.exe (aka System Information) to view Windows XP memory and page file statistics. Here is what is displayed:

    Total Physical Memory 512.00 MB
    Available Physical Memory 376.78 MB
    Total Virtual Memory 993.68 MB
    Available Virtual Memory 774.16 MB
    Paging File Space 482.21 MB

    I have not created a page file, but Windows seems to be helping me out.

    Does anyone know why this Paging File Space is created and if it's size can be controlled?

    I am guessing that Windows is automatically using some percentage of installed ram, and the only way to increase availble ram to applications is to increase physical ram.
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    OK, for starters, by default WinXP allocates 1.5x physical memory for the MAX pagefile size. The recommended size is also 1.5x physical memory, but most people will also recomend that you keep the MAX and MIN size the same. Experimenting will help you determine the best size according to your needs. You may find that you don't need a Pagefile at all, as many people with 512MB RAM or more can disable the pagefile. Others find that they only need a small pagefile while others still need larger ones due to the types of applications they run.

    To change the pagefile, you can right click My Computer, select Properties, in the dialog box select the Advanced Tab. Under Performance, click the Settings button, in the dialog box, select the Advanced Tab. Under Virtual Memory you can change the size and location of the Pagefile.
  3. saberg

    saberg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My questions are based on memory stats from System Information. Do you know of other utilities that will examine WinXP memory usage? If Windows defaults to creating a Page File Space of 1.5x memory, why is 482mb being reported instead of 512+256? I created a 128mb min/max page file and the results are:

    Total Physical Memory 512.00
    Available Physical Memory 378.78
    Total Virtual Memory 1.10GB
    Available Virtual Memory 902.55
    Page File Space 610.21
    Page File c:\pagefile.sys

    I do not see a need to create a page file unless other apps require it, since WinXP automatically creates a Page File Space. I would still like to explore the ability to control the size of this default Page File Space that is created.
  4. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Try using Norton's System Informnation or another similar app. Look at the info you posted first and that which you just posted. Seems to me with the changes you made, some of those numbers should have gone down and not up.
  5. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Try this as well, Open an Explorer window and in the menu go to Tools>Folder Options and click the View tab. Untick the "Do not show system files and folders" and uncheck "Hide protected Operating System files" Open Regedit and Navigate to the following key


    The value should be C:\pagefile.sys 336 336
    (where C: is the drive where it is located and the numbers are the min and max size)

    If that key doesn't match your new size, then there is a problem.

    Note: that key is hidden unless youy unhide everything, that is why I went through all that.
  6. NV30

    NV30 TS Rookie Posts: 275

    How can you tell if you need a certain size page file?
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    NV30 - In short if you have a fair amount of RAM, just turn it off completely, see if you get any low memory or out of memory messages when you are doing what you normally do with your computer. If you do then turn it back on - make the min and max size the same and just play with the size some to see what makes your system happy. Some applications will require that a pagefile exists so you won't be able to run them with it off.'

    Related Reading:
    Swap file
    Swap file partitioning
    768mb ram + WinXP + No pagefile = uber fast?
    Virtual Memory Setting
    Removing swap/pagefile in Win2000 w/ 512MB.... possible?

    If you want to know more check out those links above.
  8. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Good question! Check to see how much the system is using at different times, while running different apps. See what the most it uses is, then create the file at about that size, maybe a little larger. give yourself enough that you won't use it up but not so large as it is wasted. Then after you set it, see how the system performs, if it seems a little faster or can't really tell, then leave it, if it seems slower, then try a little larger, if no change, try a little smaller. As a general rule though, if you have less than 512MB RAM you should probably stick to 1.5x RAM.

    Doing normal tasks, I use only around 10-20MB of my pagefile. I have 1.5GB RAM. Using some graphics apps I run it up to over 200MB and have at times run it over 300MB. My pagefile size is set to 345MB.
  9. saberg

    saberg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, this is working properly. I know there are other threads relating to managing the page file in this forum and have read as much as I can find related to virtual memory. Still, I am wondering about this item called Page File Space that is created even if no page file is configured. If you configure a page file through the interface, that amount is simply added to the existing amount of page file space that is created automatically. It seems that the various registry tweaks mentioned in the Techspot published article by Thomas McGuire work in conjunction with the manual creation of pagefile.sys.

    I really think there are two separate issues at play here and the control of the automatically created page file space may not be possible.
  10. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    What I don't understand here is why is over 200M of virtual memory used when there is 378M free physical, faster, memory??
  11. saberg

    saberg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't think this discussion of the creation of a page file space if there is no pagefile.sys can be anything new. Please refer to the MSKB article 315270 which states
    Well, thank goodness for cheap ram.
  12. NV30

    NV30 TS Rookie Posts: 275

    I disabled the page file, Windows starts and shutdown at the normal rate and runs quicker!! Thanks guys! :) Just one more question, before my reformat if I went into standby all the fans etc would shut off, now the fan stays on. My PC isn't hot either.
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