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For a Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 version of this article, see 197379
The paging file (Pagefile.sys) is a hidden file on your computer's hard disk that Windows XP uses as if it were random access memory (RAM). The paging file and physical memory comprise virtual memory. By default, Windows stores the paging file on the boot partition (the partition that contains the operating system and its support files). The default, or recommended, paging file size is equal to 1.5 times the total amount of RAM. This article discusses how you can configure the paging file for system optimization and recovery.
To enhance performance, move the paging file to a different partition. When the paging file is on the boot partition, Windows must perform disk reading and writing requests on both the system folder and the paging file. When the paging file is moved to a different partition, there is less competition between reading and writing requests.
However, if you completely remove the paging file from the boot partition, Windows cannot create a dump file (Memory.dmp) in which to write debugging information in the event that a kernel mode STOP error message occurs. This can lead to extended downtime if a debug procedure is necessary to troubleshoot the STOP error message.
The optimal solution is to create one paging file that is, by default, stored on the boot partition, and then create one paging file on another, less frequently accessed partition. Additionally, it is optimal to create the second paging file so that it exists on its own partition, with no data or operating-system-specific files. By design, Windows uses the paging file on the less frequently accessed partition over the paging file on the more heavily accessed boot partition. An internal algorithm is used to determine which paging file to use for virtual memory management.
When you place a paging file on its own partition, the paging file does not become fragmented, and this counts as another definite advantage. If a paging file resides on a partition that contains other data, it may experience fragmentation as it expands to satisfy the extra virtual memory that is required. An unfragmented paging file leads to faster virtual memory access and greater likelihood of a dump-file capture that is free of significant errors.
If you follow the preceding recommendations, you meet the following paging file configuration goals for optimization and recovery:
For additional information about how to move the paging file in Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307886For additional information about how to set performance options in Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307886/ )HOW TO: Move the Paging File in Windows XP
308417For additional information about how to configure recovery techniques in Windows XP, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308417/ )HOW TO: Set Performance Options
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307973/ )HOW TO: Configure Recovery Techniques in Windows XP
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