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Optimizing the performance of your Windows machine with pagefile tweaks

I you have an extra harddrive laying around or multiple harddrives in your computer this little tweak could help your computer run faster. the Pagefile on windows machines also called virtual memory is an area of the harddrive or harddrives that the computer uses as memory when your actual physical memory (R.A.M.) runs out. We typicaly use part of our main hard drive for virtual memory but this is not correct way to get maximum performance out of our Windows machines.

If you have a small harddrive laying around that you can dedicate specifically to virtual memory that is the best, however even if you use your second harddrive for storing data it is benificial to also allocate some space for vitual memory. The general rule for how much space to allocate is 1.5 X the amount of RAM you have so if you have 2 gigs of RAM then you want about 3 gigs of allocated space for your pagefile. You will have to adjust it based on your system of course.

Ok now we know how much space is best but how should we go about allocating the space and where? Windows does in fact have an easy way to manage your pagefile ( again this is the space allocated for virtual memory ) Ill show you how to go about changing it. First things first though we need to know what drive WINDOWS is installed on typically this is the only harddrive in the machine. To be more acurate we wil luse the administration center to check which PHYSICAL harddrives are available If you have a small one you can add to your system go ahead and add it before doing this also Format the harddrive to a NTFS filing system.

Check the physical harddrives and drive letters

Just because you have a C and D drive in My Computer doesnt mean you have two seperate harddrives in your computer alot of times a large harddrive will be seperated into two seperate partitions this makes it show up as two drives in My Computer on your system. What we really want for the pagefile to work best is to have it on a totally seperate physical harddrive. To see what drives we have in our system and how they are partitioned ( seperated ) we need to go into Start >> Control Panel >> Administrative Tools >> Computer Management >> Storage >> Disk Management (Local)
NOTE: If you don't see Administrative Tools in control panel hit SWITCH TO CLASSIC VIEW
I have two hardrives so here is what mine looks like

Now that we are in there we can see on the left each disk is labeled Disk 0, Disk 1 , Disk 2 and so on If we have two drives only disk 0 and disk 1 will show this is what we are hoping for for better performance
At this point we should know for sure how many disks we haveand are ready to move the pagefile around a bit for better performance out of our machine.

Go to Control Panel >> System >> the Advanced TAB on top >> under performance go to Settings >> choose the Advanced TAB on top

As you can see on my machine there are two drives C and E the pagefile is set to run on drive C This is giving me slow performance when my machine gets low on physical memory or RAM. To change this I have opened the window you see on the right hand side of the above picture.
I need to end up with my pagefile on my drive E. This may be a different number on your machine. Windows is installed on drive C on my machine if Windows was installed to drive E I would alternativly use the other drive. If you dont know what drive Windows is on then go to Start >> Run now type in "cmd" without the quotes

in the window that pops up type in

cd %SystemRoot%

In my case it takes me to the directory C:\WINDOWS>

This tells me that windows is installed on the C drive in the WINDOWS directory

If yours said E:\Windows> That would mean it was on the E drive in the WINDOWS directory

Ok back to moving the pagefile

If we highlight the secondary drive E drive in my case then we see there is no pagefiling the best thing to do is choose custom and copy the initial size and maximum size from our main hardrive that windows is on to the fields for the secondary drive. In my case the initial size is 1908 MB and the maximum size is 3816. If you are going to change these then make the initial size 1.5 X the amount of installed RAM on your system and the other as big as you want really. If you have dedicated a small harddrive to being used for pagefiling only then make it the size of the whole harddrive otherwise its just a matter of how much space you are willing to give up to be used as virtual memory.

Now just hit SET

ok we are almost done but not yet we have a pagefile on our second drive but the pagefile for the first drive is still there we have to get rid of it, well almost. Highlight the primary drive C in my case then choose no paging file again hit SET

we should end up with something similiar to this

Now if everything looks good we hit OK to finish it up.

At this point it will ask you to restart your computer you will want to do this to allow the new changes to take effect.

There have been reports that Windows may complain of no page filing if you have the harddrives setup like this I have experienced no problems but if you do have a problem simply set the primary drive to custom size with initial and maximum size of 2 MB.

This speeds up our system because while the computer reads one harddrive for files it can read/write to another harddrive for virtual memory. One other thing to consider is hardrives do have different read/write speeds the faster it can read/write to the harddrive the better it will perform. Anyone needing help can leave a comment and I will help you work though it.

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