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Virtual Memory Question...



i have my virtual memory at "system managed size" and it is going slow. It takes like 3-5 seconds to load up Microsoft Word 2000 and before it was 1-2 seconds with WiN 2000.

Should i Set the initial and max size and if so, any suggestion to what the value be?

thanks, i'm a n00b in winXP Pro

my specs are:
p4 1.6
ASUS mobo
512 mb ddram PC2100
gforce 2 gts 32 mb ddr
Creative sound card


You have plenty of RAM to make Windows use that only and not yoru harddisk space. It should speed up things a bit.

Go here if you want to set that (and lots of other options) easily.


so if i have 512 mb ram
1.5 * 512 = 768 which is the initial
and max i have 768 * 3 = 2304 as the max

are these settings right ?

thanks for the help,


According to your formula, the more RAM you have, the more disk space you should allocate for a swap file. That does not make any sense at all. The more RAM you have, the more you can use and thus you will not need to make a slower virtual RAM on your hard disk. That is only helpfull if your amount of RAM isn't sufficient.

Even more senseless, you are saying that you will have your computer not let the swap file be any less than 768 MB! Now even if your computer doesn't need to swap at all, you will force it to use your slower hard disk instead of RAM, no matter how much is available.

As I said, in your case you can turn off virtual memory entirely, but if you insist, at least put the minimum to 0. (makes sense, doesn't it?) And the maximum whatever you like then, but the lower the better.


OSNN Senior Addict
I have asked about Virtual Memory before, but am still confused. I am running Win XP Pro. I get a message that my Virtual Memory is too low and that Windows is increasing it. This message only comes up when I am shutting my computer down. I know of three others running Pro, who get the same message. I have tried lots of settings including System Managed Size, but the message still comes up at shutdown. Windows does recommend 1.5 times RAM, but as stated above this does seem odd as increasing RAM would mean increasing Virtual Memory. Are any others getting this message on shutdown? If there is no other way around it is there an optrion not to show this message in the registry?


Device, here's why you have min and max the same, it doesn't become fragmented!
Device, here's why you don't disable the page file (XP calls it a page file, not virtual memory or swap file), some programs, like Adobe Photoshop require a page file.
Also, the more RAM you have, the more XP will use, having a large amount of RAM does not mean you will have gobs of unused RAM.
Device, if you want to do it your way that's fine but you're advice is poor advice for newbies.
The proper size page file is 1.5 times RAM, it should be static (min and max the same) and it should be on the fastest hard drive, if you have more than one physical drive.


Adobe Photoshop creates its own pagefile independently from Windows.

Having the minimum and maximum size the same to avoid it from becoming fragmented does sound logical and I had overlooked that fact.

But I still question why you would use hard disk space for temporary memory if you can use RAM, when RAM is so much faster.

I do use a page file, but that's because i have 256 MB of RAM. But I intend to upgrade and not use a page file at all.

But of course, to beatofangel, you can always turn it off. See how your system performs and keep an eye on your task manager. (ctrl+alt+del) If your RAM gets loaded, you can always set it back to pagefile use.


There is a lot of misconception about the Windows page file. Most of this confusion comes from the fact that Windows will use the pagefile as virtual RAM, IF you don't have enough RAM to store vital system/application info. This of course is slow since hard drive access is much slower than RAM access. However, the real problem in that situation is not having enough RAM. The pagefile is just a workaround.

The part that is misunderstood is that Windows (especially Windows NT based systems) are not completely stupid. If you have enough RAM Windows will use it properly. It will NOT write important data to the page file just because the page file happens to exist or is nice and big, or whatever. Just like any other OS, Windows will only use the page file for current data if it absolutely has too (due to lack of enough RAM). Otherwise, the page file is used to cache common data sets that are no longer needed in RAM (because that application might be closed for example), but might still be needed again later (like the next time you open that program). Bascially, when you have enough RAM to run your system, Windows uses the pagefile for what it's really intended for; a cache for RAM data blocks that are commonly used in your system, but are not needed at the moment. It is faster to load this info from the page file in a complete and ready state, than it is to read the files individually from all over the hard drive and re-process them.

With enough RAM you can disable the page file completely (though some programs are designed to use it no matter what), but it's not going to improve performance any. I disabled mine for about a month rescently just to see what would happen. Photoshop didn't like it being turned off, but aside from that I couldn't tell the difference. I now have it turned back on, and honestly I don't notice the performance increase, but I know that the pagefile is certainly not hurting anything either (other than taking up disk space).

The 1.5x your RAM rule is usually fine. Setting the min and max the same keeps the file as one big block on the drive so it doesn't get fragmented. If you have lots of RAM like 512+ you can set your page file smaller than 1.5x, but it will just be to free up disk space, not increase performance.

That's about as clear as I can make it with the lack of sleep I had last night. Hope this helps.

Dirk Diggler

I will have to agree fully with Raven on this one, I could never agree to a set formula on RAM. I have one and a quarter gigs of RAM and using that formula would mean a Paging File of just short of 2 gigs, plainly rediculous.


Questions R me
Hmm.. It may not have any relevance but I've installed about 10 MS Terminal Servers(NT 4.0 engine) and the recomendations to Page Files on these servers are 2.5 x your Physical memory - so if you have 1 GB RAM you make a page file of 2.5 GB.

But Terminal Servers are running as many machines in one so it needs a huge page file - you local pc does not need that much, I'd recommend that you set minimum and max page file to twice the amount of ram you have..

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