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Page File XP

N/A

Page File XP

Reformatted my friend's XP computer a couple of weeks ago - everything fine. Suddenly it is on a go slow and had the message last night about virtual memory and Windows increasing page file. My friend thinks that it started to play up on Friday 13th after an update so I am tempted to do a system restore but this will mess up the Kaspersky a bit, although it will rectify itself. Before I do this can anyone please enlighten me further as I haven't a clue what is amiss?
14 REPLIES
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Page File XP

Info on the page file here:
http://www.theeldergeek.com/paging_file.htm
(Note there are several pages accessed from a menu at the bottom of the page).
Also
http://tweakhound.com/xp/xptweaks/supertweaks5.htm
Regards,
Neil
N/A

Re: Page File XP

Thank you for the links. Will take a look at them but not sure if I will be able to understand.  Embarrassed
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Page File XP

Quote from: poppy
had the message last night about virtual memory

Can you be more specific about the message?
The commonest cause of such messages is lack of real memory (ram) or shortage of disk space.
Windows XP has grown over the years and an absolute minimum ram these days for a working system with Antivirus etc. is 512MB. If you start adding software utilities iPlayer iTunes etc. etc then at least 1GB.
N/A

Re: Page File XP

Yes, I thought about the RAM as it only has 256 which is rather low for XP and we have discussed adding some but just deciding whether to bother as she now has a Vista laptop.
What I can't fathom is that it was working absolutely great when I first reformatted a couple of weeks ago. I can't decide whether to do a system restore to before the 13th. Do you think that it is worth it?
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: Page File XP

Hi Poppy
Have you tried switching to system managed to see if that improves things at all so it can grow and shrink dynamically?
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Page File XP

Quote from: poppy
the RAM as it only has 256 which is rather low for XP

No. It's just plain woefully inadequate. Cry
I'm surprised it's actually useable at all. Shocked
Unless it's a rather unusual system upgrade it to 1GB for about £10 to £20.
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: Page File XP

Would agree though you need to up the RAM but adjusting the VM settings might help but it will be paging an awful lot.
decomplexity
Rising Star
Posts: 492
Thanks: 26
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Page File XP

Memory is very cheap; just visit Crucial's website, run their analysis tool and see.
Add some, then download and run page file defragger (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897426.aspx)  -  a normal defragmentation utility cannot defrag pagefile.sys
Zen from May 17. PN Business account from 2004 - 2017
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Page File XP

Quote from: decomplexity
Memory is very cheap

Absolutely.
I'll be brutally honest; my job is fixing computer/network problems.
If someone asked me to do any work on an XP system with only 256MB memory I would agree/arrange a memory upgrade and do nothing whatsoever on that system until it was fitted.
The only possible exception might be if it was RDRAM-based and there was an extremely urgent need to continue to use it.
N/A

Re: Page File XP

Thank you for all your help and advice. I ran the Crucial scanning tool some months ago so my friend does have the print out somewhere.
I would probably opt for a 1GB module to make it 1256  if she thinks it is worth doing. It is just odd that performance has suddenly deteriorated. Not sure about the system managed thingy.
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Page File XP

I bought some memory from 7 Day Shop a couple of weeks ago (after running the Crucial tool mentioned above):
http://www.7dayshop.com/
Some 1GB modules are less than 12 quid there, though you may have to pay a bit more depending on type.
Regards,
Neil
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: Page File XP

Ignore the 'system managed thingy' - the message you got (and posted in your opening comment) already makes it clear that Windows is already responsible for controlling the page file size. Wink
Have you got your head around what the page file is yet poppy?
Basically, its used for stuff that the computer needs whilst running, but can't fit into RAM.
Its stored on the hard drive, which is slower to access that RAM is, so there is already a performance hit there (a fairly significant one too!)
Secondly, since the hard drive needs to be used for storing files etc, this reduces its performance further, as each of the two processes has to queue in order to be able to read/write to/from the HDD.
The answer is to put up with a system that will just get slower and slower as time goes on, or add more RAM.
1GB would be fine if its a little used machine, but its worth weighing up the cost - its probably not much more to go to 2 or even 3GB - Whatever you do though, its not worth going to more than 3GB on XP, Windows can only use 3GB anyway.
techguy
Grafter
Posts: 2,540
Registered: 12-09-2008

Re: Page File XP

Yeah fair point James
StickyMick
Grafter
Posts: 325
Registered: 29-11-2008

Re: Page File XP

My fathers machine, which is an old Fujitsu Siemens with only 256Mb of RAM just would not boot sometimes. When it did the drive continued to thrash for almost 20 minutes, then it was painfully slow to do anything.
As the machine isn't connected to the net, I removed PCCillin anti-virus and installed FreeRAM XP Pro. It's made a big difference, but it's still no substitute for physical RAM.
It was a nightmare when XP was released. Whereas Win 98 would happily bob along on 256Mb, people like PCWorld and the other box shifters went round their entire stock upgrading these old 256Mb 98 machines to XP, some of which had integrated graphics so they took up to 128Mb of that 256. So maybe these things booted up OK, but they were completely inadequate for anything.