Pagefile views and request for advice

Discussion in 'Windows XP Help and Support' started by FlierXP, Sep 3, 2023.

  1. FlierXP

    FlierXP

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    Hello
    I’ve been getting lockups over last few weeks, and I’ve put in a new 850w. PSU in my windows XP computer that is used to run the flight simulator FSX.
    Fs Commander and Fs Recorder also run with it.

    It had run it quite well for a number of years. The config file hasn’t changed, it gave /gives 30 fps except when pushed by certain intense scenery etc .

    The computer is not connected to the internet.

    Since the new PSU, the computer boots up faster.
    System information shows it has 2.99gb RAM. I.e. 3 bars of memory.

    Now, since the new PSU, I get stuttering and sound degradation etc when the sim is asked a lot of it - I.e airliners over cities etc.
    The light on front of computer suggests that the HDD is being accessed for virtual memory, and is too slow - as it would be compared with the RAM.
    Thus I examined the Pagefile settings which I reset at 4096 custom.

    Things seemed to improve worse!,,,

    So, I did system restore to see what it had been before the PSU change. It showed 3076 (3 x 1024)

    The sim ran much better, almost like its old self.

    Apparent conclusion ? So long as the Pagefile is such that it stops the HDD being accessed for virtual memory, the sim runs OK. The spluttering is caused when the HDD is accessed!

    I don’t want to go to having no Pagefile, like some people apparently do,on the basis that this way their computer runs faster. Enough people warn against this, saying there could be crashes or whatever.
    But it seems to me that if I set the custom setting to 2048, both minimum and maximum, I would run on my RAM without HDD interference, yet still have some Pagefile.

    I will try that to see what happens, but I would like views from those of you who are likely to be much more au fait with PAGEFILE than I am.

    Main question is…….would I be doing anything foolhardy?

    Thanks
     
    FlierXP, Sep 3, 2023
    #1
  2. FlierXP

    Elizabeth23

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    Elizabeth23, Sep 4, 2023
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  3. FlierXP

    TMTGTR

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    Great Post Flier!

    I'm not a gamer, (well solitaire and Yahtzee, heh heh)

    But I do a lot of HD audio work and video work on XP machines.

    In audio, sound cards offer the ability to change the memory buffer size
    Basically the smaller the buffer the faster to hear what you record against the existing tracks.
    When playing back and adding digital signal processing you enlarge the buffer.
    The audio starts a little later but the tracks are all in sync and the computer can run the signal processing (echo, chorus etc. even reverb-depending)

    But I digress.

    One option is to have a second hard drive and place the paging file on a dedicated partition (The outermost first partition preferred). This is what I do standard on all my dedicated audio and video workstations.

    I strip these machines of any un-needed peripherals (e.g. Ethernet) and tweak for optimal performance.

    Still digressing.

    I quote from the Ultra Defrag v 6.12 manual tips and tricks section:

    "How to improve system performance significantly-
    First of all we recommend to disable the Windows paging file. It expands RAM, but works much slower. If you need more memory than physically installed, buy more for the best performance.
    Then, if you’d like to keep some files close to the beginning of the disk because of the highest speed of this area, don’t ask the disk defragmenter for this job: just repartition the disk and use the first partition to keep the most frequently
    accessed files while the second one - for backups, videos, music and other stuff tolerant for a bit slower access.

    How frequently to defragment-
    Defragment files whenever you think their fragmentation slows your system down. It really does make sense to defragment the system drive from time to time and optimize it after massive updates. On the other hand, data drives rarely
    benefit from defragmentation, especially when they are filled by music and videos..."

    I recommend ultra defrag v 6.12

    All that said I do not turn off my paging file on workstations, but I do turn it off on my office computers with the 2.99 gig ram limit. No problems. That MIGHT do the trick for your gaming. Every computer has different needs though.
     
    TMTGTR, Sep 4, 2023
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  4. FlierXP

    FlierXP

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    Thank you for your replies.
    Elizabeth…..thanks for the link. Lots of reading, much over my head:).
    Maybe I’ll try your setting-1500-, though I thought it had to be in multiples of 1024?

    TMTGTR…only got one HDD, not planning on another.
    I close other programs that start, e.g game commander etc . Now thinking of further options,
    I have more than half of my 999gb HDD as free space , having just recovered 100 go by deleting some Fraps movies. Maybe that will help also.

    Can I ask about processes. Back in the day I did use Black. Vipers website giving advice on what background processes to close to improve performance.
    From what I have just read, these unused processes are what the Pagefile gets sent, and if I understand things correctly then if I stop these processes loading on startup, my computer’s performance will improve.?
    As I am not connected to the internet there are some resource hungry processes for me to prevent starting, yes?
    If I leave System restore alone I think I’ll give BV. ‘S Advice a go.

    one last question…If I used no paging file, what is the worst thing that my computer could do?
    Blow up ( joke); close down and not able to restart? What?
    What I’m asking is……If I try a no paging file, can I still restart my computer and go back in and set one to prevent such a repeat shutdown?

    thanks
     
    FlierXP, Sep 4, 2023
    #4
  5. FlierXP

    secpar

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    Does the motherboard have AMD's cool and quiet? Is it otherwise got some form of throttling on the PSU?

    I had found that AMD's cool and quiet in Windows XP allowed for anomalous pops in recording audio (when I worked in radio). Disabling in the BIOS fixed the issue.

    If you have any sort of power saving features on, it may be worth turning those off and seeing the results.
     
    secpar, Sep 4, 2023
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  6. FlierXP

    FlierXP

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    Sorry, not fully understanding. I have Intel processor. This is an old system circa 2006, I.e. Coolermaster centurion 5 case.
    Power saving features? Such as?
     
    FlierXP, Sep 4, 2023
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  7. FlierXP

    TMTGTR

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    TMTGTR, Sep 5, 2023
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  8. FlierXP

    tekkaman

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    I think the paging should left alone at 3076 as it was originally. If the computer is working fine and only the game is running slower maybe the video card or cpu is overheating.
     
    tekkaman, Sep 6, 2023
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  9. FlierXP

    Borg

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    Disable page file if you have lot of RAM. That superuser.com thread is mostly junk.
    People seems to NOT have clue about that.
    Win2000/XP/2003 very badly manages their swap. Instead of start swapping when you reach certain free RAM threshold, they do it all the time to have as much free RAM as possible to be ready for hard load that mostly never comes. Maybe this had more sense 20 years ago when RAM was expensive, but these days just useless most of the time. Too bad Microsoft didnt implemented Registry knobs how to control how/when RAM is swapped out into SWAP file. If you have 4GB RAM I strongly recommand disable page file, system will be much snappier. You will also not get constant I/O on disk when pages are swapped into disk.

    I myself run Win2003 with 16GB of RAM (pretty much at limits, more RAM would actually hurt, PTE exhaustion) and no swap. System works great :)

    Code:
    Free Memory:            15.39G   (96%)
    Free System PTEs:       140800
    System Cache:           713.05M
    Commit:                 342.91M  (2%)
    PF Usage:               ---
    Paged Pool:             30.86M
    Nonpaged Pool:          17.74M
    
     
    Borg, Sep 6, 2023
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  10. FlierXP

    FlierXP

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    well Borg, appreciate your post, (but some of my questions don’t get answered, ) but this Pagefile thingy does bring out polarised views.
    No one who advocates using “no Pagefile” has yet said what happens if the computer does not like that setting. What does the computer do, just shut down.? Or, shut down and cause big problems?, what problems? Or can I easily restart the computer and then remove the no,pagefile setting and put in a Pagefile setting to avoid that sort of shutdown.?
    Nobody seems to tell me, despite asking. I would try a “no pagefile” setting if I can easily recover from it with no harm done. It’s a no brainier to try it, in that circumstance, but I do not want to irrevocably bugger up the computer .
    So, people, are their reliable views on that please..?
     
    FlierXP, Sep 7, 2023
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  11. FlierXP

    Borg

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    Nothing will happen. You do NOT even need to reboot usually. So you can safely disable the pagefile. Later if your system will start to behave weirdly because not enough memory (I suggest to get some decent resource manager for XP), you can reenable swap file back. But as I said, XP cannot normally use more that 4GB RAM, so even if you have pagefile, you will not be able to use more memory. Checkout taskmanager Total Commit and Commit limit.
    If you run en_US version of XP, you can check my post about SysRes grapher in General Forums.
     
    Borg, Sep 7, 2023
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  12. FlierXP

    TMTGTR

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    Very valid points to keep in mind in the event the pagefile theory has no effect.

    You are right. some people (as in Me) will sometimes dance around a direct answer because they don't want the liability of being the one whom gave advice that crapped the system. That said, consider that I do not know much less did I put together your computer. No two computers are the same and I presume everyone has seen "something" go wrong on a tweak on a computer that never happened before doing same on other computers because there was a variable not taken into account etc.

    So here it goes... disable the pagefile and see. As Borg gives a very concise explanation and includes the importanat historical fact that at the turn of the century RAM was very expensive (it was all a fraud, the RAM companies colluded to price fix; I got a law suite class action settlement check!).

    In Fact this thread is inspiring me to disable pagefile on my home theater 4GB XP. Tonight I'll check my DAW studio computer to see if I disabled pagefile in that already. I'll report back.

    THAT said... I take no responsibility for the advice given. I have never heard of an un-recoverable crash from disabling page file. I have done it and am typing on a machine with no pagefile.

    I do believe that to set changes made to pagefile you must reboot though (according to XP pop-up)

    But picture this: let's say the no pagefile experiment shows you can run XP fine without it, but still your gaming has problems...
    At least we have isolated one variable. Tekkaman does bring up the specter of other variables.
    The new PSU (Might) add or subtract just a tiny enough voltage to make the difference on a failing GPU or CPU. I have seen this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2023
    TMTGTR, Sep 7, 2023
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  13. FlierXP

    Borg

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    Ill post here, for a curiosity.
    Today, my Win2003 system become a bit unstable. Ive done my backup today (incremental, not much data was copies, around 30-40GB maybe) to my spare disk.
    Unfortunately, software I use (kinda nice) does not use COPY_FILE_NO_BUFFERING so write went thro SystemCache, eating up all my RAM (16GB). This actually should not be a problem because when other apps request memory, cache will be trimmed. But.. I noticed that creating new processes nearly hung (was super slow), other disk access was as well super slow. Syncing was still in progress, doing around 80MB/s constantly trashing my SystemCache. Once syncing was done and there was no I/O load anymore, system regained stability. Kinda shame that you cannon limit how much RAM will be used for SystemCache.
     
    Borg, Sep 7, 2023
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  14. FlierXP

    secpar

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    I'm on XP 64 and I turned off pagefile. I have 32gb of RAM, however. I don't really use pagefile on any of my computers running XP, 32 bits included.
     
    secpar, Sep 7, 2023
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  15. FlierXP

    we3fan

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    Hi Flier,
    I have 2 laptops:
    Asus from 2006, 3GB RAM, XP Pro, SSD + HDD (pagefile is here), main PC.
    HP from 2008, 3GB RAM, XP Pro, SSD only, NO pagefile, weak GPU, makes a lot of noise when CPU reaches only 50C hmm, test PC.

    I disabled pagefile on Asus, opened 8 YouTube tabs - BSOD happened 2 times hmm.
    I enabled pagefile on Asus, opened 15 YouTube tabs - NO BSOD, all good. So I *must* use pagefile on Asus.

    I disabled pagefile on HP, opened 15 YouTube tabs - NO BSOD, all good. So I don't have to use pagefile on HP (for now).


    The worst it could happen if you disable pagefile is BSOD (blue screen of death), but you can easily recover and Restart after that.
    Depending on your hardware and usage habits a BSOD might never happen, you can try disabling pagefile for some time and see how your PC behaves, then enable pagefile for some time. Then compare your overall experience with and without pagefile, then YOU will know what is best for YOUR hardware and usage habits.

    Hope this helps.
     
    we3fan, Sep 9, 2023
    #15
  16. FlierXP

    Borg

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    Did you had taskmgr open when doing those experiments? :)
    Or even better.. if you run WinXP en_US my perf.rb or gperf.rb so you can see
    performance counters. I wonder how PF Usage went up and what was the Commit limit.
    If commit limit can be above 4GB then nice cheating by Microsoft.

    Yeah, web today is very very heavy.. sad.
    For example, my Linux AntiX VM that have 3GB RAM and 2 cores (I have just i5-2400)
    choks on some heavy webpages.

    Anyway, I think I will boot my old laptop with P3 633 and 256MB RAM.
    It will be much easier to choke it memory compared to my main desktop.
    (Same OS on both computers).
     
    Borg, Sep 9, 2023
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  17. FlierXP

    secpar

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    Disabling Pagefile does no direct harm to the computer. It's impact, if reasonably equipped (i.e. 4GB or more) is of null effect.

    Something to ask of yourself:
    What does a Pagefile do? What is a swap file?

    Do you even know?

    If you don't know, then don't mess with it: just trust that Microsoft has your best interest in mind... right?


    You get a slower computer after awhile, maybe. Every once awhile, a computer needs a reboot, and when you reboot a slow computer, it somehow seems faster... right?
     
    secpar, Sep 9, 2023
    #17
  18. FlierXP

    we3fan

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    Hi @Borg
    I didn't have taskmgr opened unfortunately, but I think the BSOD on Asus with no pagefile happened when "RAM used" was about 85-90%.

    What really surprised me was that with NO pagefile both laptops with same amount of RAM (3GB) behaved differently:
    BSOD with 8 YouTube tabs on Asus (many programs installed)
    No problem with 15 YouTube tabs on HP (clean install)
    I guess on different hardware we get different results, I have many programs installed and few more processes running on Asus versus clean install on HP - not sure if that was the reason for the BSOD on Asus.

    By perf.rb, do you mean this program?
    https://www.xpforums.com/threads/sysres-grapher-gperf-rb.934585/
    It looks nice, I could try it and see if I can troubleshoot the NO-pagefile Asus BSOD sometime.
     
    we3fan, Sep 10, 2023
    #18
  19. FlierXP

    Borg

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    Yeah, thats it. But a bit of warning. Your windows needs to have
    system locate set to en_US. Anything other will simply not work.
    Thank you microsoft for your dumb localization. All other locales should be aliases
    to en_US, but no.. they did direct translation.

    Anyway, if you are skilled enough, you can actually edit perf.rb or gperf.rb
    and translate those performance counters to your locale and it should work.

    As for your BSOD, well. HW should not affect it too much. RAM is RAM after all.
    Clean install vs old install might be issue indeed, but still I think results vary too much.
    Maybe RAM is broken on ASUS? Check out memtest to be 100% sure.
    Anyway, without any perf counters running to see what is really going on,
    its just guessing.. Good luck!
     
    Borg, Sep 10, 2023
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  20. FlierXP

    we3fan

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    Thanks, I appreciate it. :)

    By system locale en_US, do you mean:
    Regional and Language Options > Advanced > Language for non-Unicode programs > English (United States)
    It has to be English (United States) here correct?
     
    we3fan, Sep 11, 2023
    #20
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