Windows 7 Paging File

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Windows 7 Paging File
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Chad Johnson
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April 22, 2011 - 4:23 pm
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Running Windows 7 Pro
Drive C: System Drive
Drive B: Scratch Drive

Windows is configured to use drive B for the pagefile.

On startup, I get the error that I attached. [attachment=0:3mgewojf]win7paging.png[/attachment:3mgewojf]

I'm confused on this as there are 12 GB of RAM in the system (I've thought about dropping the swap file all together) so it's not a lack of RAM. I have the SWAP file set to 20 GB. :/

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Jim Hillier
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April 22, 2011 - 5:25 pm
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Hey Zig - Apparently this is all to do with 'permissions'. MS has this to say about that error message:
[quote:wtxm96va]This error message may occur if Windows tries to create a paging file on an NTFS volume, but the System and Administrators accounts do not have the correct NTFS permissions on the volume. [/quote:wtxm96va]

Full MS article [url=http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315270:wtxm96va]HERE[/url:wtxm96va].

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Chad Johnson
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April 22, 2011 - 9:43 pm
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Yeah, I saw that article too...

Both SYSTEM, administrators, and my user account have full control to that drive.
Maybe it doesn't like the letter B?

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Jim Hillier
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April 22, 2011 - 10:53 pm
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LOL....who does!!

Have you tried running from the [hidden] full admin account....see if that makes any difference?

Open a command prompt as administrator and type in:[b:29bqgsfp] net user administrator /active:yes[/b:29bqgsfp] , then reboot.

[I realise you would already know how to do that Zig, just added it for anyone else who might be reading through the thread]

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David Hartsock
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April 23, 2011 - 4:48 pm
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Add a 300MB paging file to the OS drive/partition for memory dumps.

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Chad Johnson
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April 23, 2011 - 7:51 pm
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Add a 300MB paging file to the OS drive/partition for memory dumps.[/quote:3k94lsgt]

well that would be....dis-optimal. I'll try that and let you know...

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David Hartsock
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April 23, 2011 - 9:52 pm
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Windows Vista/7/2003/2008 need at least 300MB on the boot drive for crash dumps. I would think you could get away with a smaller page file on the second disk unless you plan on using photoshop, video editing, or running virtual machines.

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Chad Johnson
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April 24, 2011 - 12:10 am
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I've always run my systems with no paging file on the system drive. Who can read the dump files anyway?? Never had a problem until Win 7. :/

Ah well.

I run Photoshop, Virtual Box, VMWare, and do development - so the page file is a bit necessary, though I don't think I've ever come close to the 12 GB i have....

~shrug~

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Chad Johnson
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April 25, 2011 - 9:08 am
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For the record -- setting the swap file on drive C to 800 MB (it yelled up til then) solved the issue.

Thanks everyone.

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Jim Hillier
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April 25, 2011 - 5:51 pm
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Hey Zig - That's interesting, because conventional wisdom suggests that 300MB should do the job (as recommended by Dave)......now we know that is not necessarily the case!!

Anyway, glad to hear you got it sorted.

When I was Googling around on this subject I also came across some discussion on the pros and cons of doing away with the paging file altogether (as you mentioned). There were some comments that suggested one should always maintain a paging file because certain software specifically requires virtual memory in order for it to run successfully. Would that be correct?

Another question mate; why is it better to have the paging file on a separate hard drive? What advantages does that afford?

Cheers....Jim

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David Hartsock
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April 25, 2011 - 7:24 pm
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When I was Googling around on this subject I also came across some discussion on the pros and cons of doing away with the paging file altogether (as you mentioned). There were some comments that suggested one should always maintain a paging file because certain software specifically requires virtual memory in order for it to run successfully. Would that be correct?[/quote:3j5s9zb5]
Not really. Windows does the overall memory management. The real reason (with Win7/Vista/2008) is Windows will only dump to the system drive. Even if it hasn't made a system dump it needs that space.
Now, some software (photoshop) requires a "scratch" area, but it isn't related to the paging file and the user can generally specify the amount and location.
In the same vein there is software that allows you to set limits on the amount of RAM available to the program, but it is usually a percentage of total RAM - you can't ask for more than you have. Some software may also request more memory than it needs, but I think Windows, especially Win 7, does a good job of keeping things in check.

Another question mate; why is it better to have the paging file on a separate hard drive? What advantages does that afford?[/quote:3j5s9zb5]
Assuming the second drive is the same, or faster, speed having the paging file at the head of the second drive allows the file to be written to and read from at the same time as the primary. So if you are doing something intensive and the system needs to page out memory it doesn't have to wait for the system drive. Basically a performance improvement that is diminishing as more RAM is used and SSD's become more prevalent.

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Jim Hillier
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April 25, 2011 - 8:45 pm
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Thanks Dave.

So you are saying that, generally speaking, if there is plenty of physical memory (RAM) available then there is no real [major] advantages to having the paging file on a separate drive?

The paging file (virtual memory) is a bit of an enigma for a lot of users, there seems to be differing opinions on calculating size, methods for management, etc. A basic explanation (in layman's terms) would make for an enlightening and interesting article methinks.

Cheers....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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April 25, 2011 - 10:09 pm
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I agree. That would be a neat article.

According to my research....Windows required 800 MB because it's a 64 bit kernel. ~shrug~

I've always put one on another drive rather than the system drive. It made a difference years ago, not so much anymore. I don't even know if I use it (probably not looking at my RAM stats).

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David Hartsock
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April 26, 2011 - 5:22 am
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So you are saying that, generally speaking, if there is plenty of physical memory (RAM) available then there is no real [major] advantages to having the paging file on a separate drive?[/quote:4u7ot8qx]
Welllllll...
If I had a separate physical drive (not just a partition) and I needed a page file I would have the majority of it on a second drive with the required minimum on the system drive. There are a lot of qualifiers though. How much memory? What applications? If you have 6GB of RAM and only surf the web, check email, and watch YouTube videos it is not likely that you are using the page file. If you use Photoshop, manipulate large images, edit video, or run CAD programs with the same memory you are much more likely to use the page file. If the computer doesn't use the page file it has no ill effects - the computer won't use it just because it's there. What the paging file actually does is allow you to use your drive as virtual physical RAM. If you do not have a paging file and run out of memory what happens? Your computer crashes. That said, I think most people need one and it is best (the majority of) placed on a separate physical drive.

The paging file (virtual memory) is a bit of an enigma for a lot of users,[/quote:4u7ot8qx]
Me too!
there seems to be differing opinions on calculating size, methods for management, etc.[/quote:4u7ot8qx]
Yes, but I think the wild speculation of years past is winding down with Win7. I'm pretty sure almost everyone would be safe with a min/max of 1.5 x RAM paging file and if they have multiple drives to put the paging file on the second drive and a small paging file on the system drive.
A lot of people talk about not needing a paging file with SSD drives. The paging file isn't about the drive, but about physical memory (RAM), so I don't understand that logic. The only reason would be the large number of writes/reads, but they still need the minimum on the system drive to keep everything happy.
If you need to waste some time you can open the Performance Monitor and add Paging File Usage and/or Paging File Usage Peak to the monitored counters. Start using all the programs you think use a ton of memory/cpu and open lots of them at the same time. You can actually see the page file use and make an educated setting - and it adds to your geek cred!
A basic explanation (in layman's terms) would make for an enlightening and interesting article methinks. [/quote:4u7ot8qx]
That sounds like a lot of work!

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Jim Hillier
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April 26, 2011 - 7:43 am
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Yep, I'm hearing you mate. But all that doesn't really explain what distinct advantages there are to having the paging file on a separate hard drive. I realise there is the possible advantage of saving space on the main drive, plus there [i:2fp198g2]might[/i:2fp198g2] be a very minor performance enhancement .....but other than that?

I am running Win7 [64-bit] and Vista [32-bit] in a dual boot system with 4GB RAM and the paging file on the main drive managed by Windows. I often "manipulate" very large video files; conversion, editing etc., and have never experienced any problems [speed issues included].

I tried moving the page file to a second internal hard drive once [yes, to a completely separate HDD not just a separate partition] and there was no noticeable performance increases. There may have been a very minor improvement, but certainly nothing that was measurable by human perception.......well, not by my perception anyway.

It seems to be me that maintaining the paging file on a separate HDD might just be one of those geeky old wives tale type thingees....if you'll pardon all the technical jargon. LOL
Possibly something that has been perpetuated since the old 20 - 40GB hard drive/256 - 512MB RAM days? But in these days of huge capacity HDD's and mega-RAM I really doubt there would be any significant impact.

Of course, I may be waaay wrong [I often am], but in the face of very little evidence to the contrary I'll continue the role of skeptic....or just playing devil's advocate maybe.

[quote:2fp198g2]That sounds like a lot of work![/quote:2fp198g2]
Yes it does mate. Just the kind of thing to keep a very nice, clever young feller out of mischief.

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