[SOLVED] 500GB NVMe SSD - Fixed permanent page file vs automatically managed

ShangWang

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Hi all,

I have 8GB of RAM, and although I should upgrade I would rather not buy another stick.

I was given advice on another thread saying that setting a permanent page file of 4096mb would be "faster" than setting my page file automatically.

It seems to be enough for running a game and a few browser tabs. The person said this would prevent a fragmented swap file and that if I wanted to change/increase the page file in the future I would:

  1. Set page file to 0 and boot into safe mode
  2. Set the page file again and restart normally
Is all of this information false?

Should I just set my page file back to automatically managed and I would suffer no repercussions on the system or performance when playing games whatsoever?
 
the Page File is not that tricky that you need to worry about safe mode or resetting to 0 before changing.
it can be altered on the fly with no issues.

while it used to seem to make more of an impact on performance in older iterations of Windows,
with more modern hardware and OSs i don't believe you will notice any impact on performance.
as long as it is set to a large enough amount you can just set it and forget about it.

using old DDR3 i always kept it twice the size of my RAM;
4GB = 8192MB Page File.
moving up to DDR4 i kept them matched;
16GB = 16384MB.
since moving up to 32GB RAM i have left it at 16384MB and no latency issues or any problem with any software have arisen.
 
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ShangWang

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the Page File is not that tricky that you need to worry about safe mode or resetting to 0 before changing.
it can be altered on the fly with no issues.

while it used to seem to make more of an impact on performance in older iterations of Windows,
with more modern hardware and OSs i don't believe you will notice any impact on performance.
as long as it is set to a large enough amount you can just set it and forget about it.

using old DDR3 i always kept it twice the size of my RAM;
4GB = 8192MB Page File.
moving up to DDR4 i kept them matched;
16GB = 16384MB.
since moving up to 32GB RAM i have left it at 16384MB and no latency issues or any problem with any software have arisen.
Thank you! In general do you think setting it and having it automatic makes pretty much no difference when playing games?

Let's say my page file was set to 1200mb automatically, but had to get set to something like 2100mb because I was playing a game and opened multiple tabs, would this cause any fragmentation or performance drop long term?
 
I would leave it as automatic and use something like WinDirStat to see how big it is. If it's too large to your liking, then you can reduce the size.

However, never set the page file to 0. This reduces the entire memory space to just how much physical RAM you have. This is a problem because when apps request memory from the OS, the OS will always give more than necessary because chances are, the app is going to request more memory. Even if the app doesn't use the space the OS reserved for it, it can still be swapped out in case another app needs data in physical memory. It's a lot cheaper to swap out a reserved portion of RAM that isn't being used because, well, there's nothing to swap.

If you set it to 0, depending on how memory is used in your use case, you can run into an issue where an app complains the system has no more memory despite there being free space in physical memory. It's because the OS reserved the rest for other apps and the OS will not unreserve memory.
 
I recently experienced an issue with Horizon Zero Dawn where my game was crashing after a random amount of time (15-30 mins). I actually traced it back to a full page file!? Like, I got an actual 'ran out of pagefile' error message in event viewer.
I was running with an 8GB page file and 16GBs of RAM and never had an issue before this. Once I changed my pagefile size to equal my RAM size the issue disappeared.

Note that I wasn't running anything else while playing - not one browser window.

This just goes to show how horribly HZD is optimized for PCs but it also shows that poor programming or a horrible port can gobble up way more memory than needed.

I would set it to a static value equal to your RAM size and let it be.
 
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ShangWang

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I would leave it as automatic and use something like WinDirStat to see how big it is. If it's too large to your liking, then you can reduce the size.

However, never set the page file to 0. This reduces the entire memory space to just how much physical RAM you have. This is a problem because when apps request memory from the OS, the OS will always give more than necessary because chances are, the app is going to request more memory. Even if the app doesn't use the space the OS reserved for it, it can still be swapped out in case another app needs data in physical memory. It's a lot cheaper to swap out a reserved portion of RAM that isn't being used because, well, there's nothing to swap.

If you set it to 0, depending on how memory is used in your use case, you can run into an issue where an app complains the system has no more memory despite there being free space in physical memory. It's because the OS reserved the rest for other apps and the OS will not unreserve memory.
I see, I don't think I need to install that program to see page file however, it updates when you check virtual memory.
 
are you that worried about disk space that you don't want to give up 4 or 8GB for the Page File?
if that is the situation i would just add a nice 2-4TB 2.5" SATA III SSD.

you'll have to experiment with benchmarking between games to see if that low of an amount or using the dynamic option will effect performance.
don't believe i've had it set to below 4096MB since Windows 95.
 
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ShangWang

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are you that worried about disk space that you don't want to give up 4 or 8GB for the Page File?
if that is the situation i would just add a nice 2-4TB 2.5" SATA III SSD.

you'll have to experiment with benchmarking between games to see if that low of an amount or using the dynamic option will effect performance.
don't believe i've had it set to below 4096MB since Windows 95.
I'm worried about how my system is using resources to sustain the 4096mb page file that I need to play games and run multiple tabs, whereas I only need 1024mb page file when I'm not playing games.

For this reason I think automatically managing a page file size is good in the case that windows will increase it only when necessary, but I do not know about the fragmentation/performance drop it has when doing so.

My system runs fine with just 4096mb page file size, but if you think automatically managed has no repercussions whatsoever please let me know.
 

ShangWang

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I recently experienced an issue with Horizon Zero Dawn where my game was crashing after a random amount of time (15-30 mins). I actually traced it back to a full page file!? Like, I got an actual 'ran out of pagefile' error message in event viewer.
I was running with an 8GB page file and 16GBs of RAM and never had an issue before this. Once I changed my pagefile size to equal my RAM size the issue disappeared.

Note that I wasn't running anything else while playing - not one browser window.

This just goes to show how horribly HZD is optimized for PCs but it also shows that poor programming or a horrible port can gobble up way more memory than needed.

I would set it to a static value equal to your RAM size and let it be.
4096mb works for me, I don't play super demanding games and is good enough.

I read that larger page file sizes take some system resources to maintain, and since I don't need it to be any larger I'll let it be.

Unless automatic page file size works just as well without any performance issues, I would prefer using it.
 
For this reason I think automatically managing a page file size is good in the case that windows will increase it only when necessary, but I do not know about the fragmentation/performance drop it has when doing so.
If this is on an SSD, fragmentation is a non-issue. Also as long as you're not running out of physical memory space, using the page file likely won't result in any noticeable performance loss.
 
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ShangWang

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If this is on an SSD, fragmentation is a non-issue. Also as long as you're not running out of physical memory space, using the page file likely won't result in any noticeable performance loss.
I see, but I meant to ask if there is performance loss related to windows automatic size vs manual.
 
I read that larger page file sizes take some system resources to maintain, and since I don't need it to be any larger I'll let it be.
If by 'system resources' you mean extra CPU/memory resources, then that is incorrect. If by 'system resources' you mean more disk space, then yes, definitely.

Although it doesn't really matter, from a performance standpoint, nowadays, if you set your pagefile to 'system managed,' Windows will continually resize the pagefile to suit your needs. This resizing DOES take resources, albeit only a tiny bit. That is why I recommend a static sized pagefile equal to your RAM size. Windows doesn't have to 'work' at resizing it - it just writes to it when needed.
 
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Bob.B

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Hi all,

I have 8GB of RAM, and although I should upgrade I would rather not buy another stick.

I was given advice on another thread saying that setting a permanent page file of 4096mb would be "faster" than setting my page file automatically.

It seems to be enough for running a game and a few browser tabs. The person said this would prevent a fragmented swap file and that if I wanted to change/increase the page file in the future I would:

  1. Set page file to 0 and boot into safe mode
  2. Set the page file again and restart normally
Is all of this information false?

Should I just set my page file back to automatically managed and I would suffer no repercussions on the system or performance when playing games whatsoever?
Run your own test.
Play your games and play with the page file configs.
Set it to which ever way works best.
 

ShangWang

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Mar 26, 2021
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If by 'system resources' you mean extra CPU/memory resources, then that is incorrect. If by 'system resources' you mean more disk space, then yes, definitely.

Although it doesn't really matter, from a performance standpoint, nowadays, if you set your pagefile to 'system managed,' Windows will continually resize the pagefile to suit your needs. This resizing DOES take resources, albeit only a tiny bit. That is why I recommend a static sized pagefile equal to your RAM size. Windows doesn't have to 'work' at resizing it - it just writes to it when needed.
Just to confirm, it doesn't matter how big you make the page file, the only downside/resource being taken up is storage correct?
 

ShangWang

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It matters.
Bigger pagefile will impact system performance negatively. This is especially noticeable with pagefile placed on a mechanical HDD.
With pagefile on SSD this is less noticeable.
I mean for making the page file itself bigger, not actually using the full virtual memory. I thought it only took up storage and not system resources as said in the other post.
 
You want pagefile to be
as small as possible and​
as big as necessary.​
Setting it to system managed usually makes it unnecessary large.

Set it to manual, small initial size (1GB) and large max size (16GB).
Run your normal workload - web browser with max tabs you usually use, additional open software, game running.
Then check size of pagefile, how large it has grown.
Then increase initial size to match current size.
That's it.
 
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ShangWang

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You want pagefile to be
as small as possible and​
as big as necessary.​
Setting it to system managed usually makes it unnecessary large.

Set it to manual, small initial size (1GB) and large max size (16GB).
Run your normal workload - web browser with max tabs you usually use, additional open software, game running.
Then check size of pagefile, how large it has grown.
Then increase initial size to match current size.
That's it.
System managed works well for me, it actually has never gone past 4096mb from what I remember. Since I have a SSD and I believe it will only take up storage, I will set it to a static 4096-4096mb.

I don't think a permanent swap file will really do much but I have never ran out of memory with 4096mb page file, so I guess this will do. Thank you for the information.
 
Just to confirm, it doesn't matter how big you make the page file, the only downside/resource being taken up is storage correct?
Technically, incorrect.
If you use a system managed pagefile then the pagefile size is regularly changing. This 'resizing' of the pagefile does take extra CPU and drive resources.

If you use a static pagefile there is no resizing. The file is always one size regardless of how much of it is actually being used by Windows.
 
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ShangWang

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Technically, incorrect.
If you use a system managed pagefile then the pagefile size is regularly changing. This 'resizing' of the pagefile does take extra CPU and drive resources.

If you use a static pagefile there is no resizing. The file is always one size regardless of how much of it is actually being used by Windows.
Yep, makes sense thanks. However what I'm wondering is how the SIZE of the static page file can affect performance. Not talking about the system using the virtual memory at all.

Let's say 4GB vs a 16GB page file, the ONLY resource taken up is storage and that's it if it was static?
 

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