Swap file question

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Keiko1981
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Swap file question

Post by Keiko1981 » May 26th, '09, 14:03

I'm wondering what is it that makes the size of the swap file change? Is it the number of programs open, how much the computer works?
After booting up I think my swap file is about 600-650MB at most I've seen it being about 1GB.

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Post by ethidda » May 26th, '09, 14:10

It's the number of programs open, in a sense. Each program needs a little RAM, and when you run out of ram, the computer fakes it by pretending things written on the swap file are also part of RAM. (This is why it's also the Virtual Paging Memory.) I'm assuming you're using windows, because in linux (and therefore probably in Mac), it's a fixed size (usually 2-4 gigs) that you partition out ahead of time so "bad things" don't happen when your disk is completely full. Using that much swap slows your computer down significantly, especially if you are constantly switching between programs. You should consider running less programs at one time or installing more RAM.

Although, it's probably a good idea to get a second opinion on this since I haven't used windows in quite a while.

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Post by Keiko1981 » May 26th, '09, 14:50

ethidda wrote:It's the number of programs open, in a sense. Each program needs a little RAM, and when you run out of ram, the computer fakes it by pretending things written on the swap file are also part of RAM. (This is why it's also the Virtual Paging Memory.) I'm assuming you're using windows, because in linux (and therefore probably in Mac), it's a fixed size (usually 2-4 gigs) that you partition out ahead of time so "bad things" don't happen when your disk is completely full. Using that much swap slows your computer down significantly, especially if you are constantly switching between programs. You should consider running less programs at one time or installing more RAM.

Although, it's probably a good idea to get a second opinion on this since I haven't used windows in quite a while.
Thank you for all the information. I use Windows XP Professional.and got 2,75GB in RAM

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Post by aNToK » May 26th, '09, 15:57

Best thing to do is normally to set the swap file size to 1 1/2 times the amount of ram on your system. Helps keep your disk from thrashing around constantly resizing the thing.
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Post by aNToK » May 26th, '09, 16:46

btw, unless you're running 64-bit Windows, more than 3 gigs of ram will not have a noticeable effect on your system.
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Post by Keiko1981 » May 26th, '09, 16:55

aNToK I leave the settings as they are, I don't want to make some mistakes.
I was just curious what was make the swap file change, I think I got the answer now. :)

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Post by aNToK » May 26th, '09, 17:21

That's fine. Any performance gains you might get are very minimal in real-world performance anyway. It's more useful when you don't have much ram and a slower system. Only real difference is that your hard drive might last a tiny bit longer due to less read/write cycles, but that depends so much on how you use it that you'll never know the difference.
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