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2011-12-09

A: Optimizing Windows and Page File Adjustment

If the Performance Monitor/System Monitor indicates that the Paging File % Usage is consistently near 100% or the Memory Pages/Sec counter is consistently higher than 5, add RAM to improve performance.   low levels of usage of the Paging File % Usage and Memory Pages/Sec counters indicate adequate memory.

The performance of the paging file can be improved by

    • Setting its minimum and maximum sizes to the same amount.

    • Moving the paging file to a physical disk (or disk partition) that is not used as much as others.

    • Using a striped volume for the paging file. A striped volume is identical areas of disk space stored on two or more dynamic disks that are referred to as a single drive letter. Create a striped volume with the Windows XP Disk Management tool.

    • Creating multiple paging files on multiple physical disks in the system.

    • Moving the paging file away from the boot drive.

To adjust the location and size of the paging file in Windows, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Open the System Properties window.

    • For XP: Click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties or open the Control Panel and click the System icon, then the Advanced tab.

    • For Vista: Click Start, right-click Computer, and select Properties. Then click Advanced System Settings under Tasks.

    Step 2.   Click the Settings button in the Performance Options box.

    Step 3. Click the Advanced tab and then the Change button.

    Step 4. Choose the initial and maximum sizes you want to use for the paging file and its location (see Figure 13-54). Click Set and then click OK to finish. (In Vista, you will have to deselect the Automatically Manage Paging File Size checkbox first.)

   Step 5. If you make any changes to size or location, you must restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

    Note For the longest time the default settings for the paging file were Initial size = 1.5 × RAM, and Maximum size = 3 × RAM. This was a good rule of thumb for a while. However the rule might not work so well with the increasing need for fast memory, and the resulting increase of RAM in today’s computers. For example, a Windows XP computer with 4 GB of RAM might be set this way: Initial size = 1/2; RAM, and Maximum size = RAM. It will all depend on the system you are running and the applications being utilized.

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