Page File Placement..

Published on: Author: Mike Hall Leave a comment

Page files do not exist purely to use up valuable hard drive real estate. Windows is not the only OS to use a page file. The page file is not part of some underhand Microsoft scheme to force you to go out and buy a larger hard drive.


The page file exists to help you, to extend your system beyond the set boundary of installed RAM. Data is placed in the page file if it is likely to be used again quickly but where storage in RAM would be a waste.


You should let Windows look after your page file, and not try to squash it into a tiny corner. Say after me “System Managed is good.. system managed is good.. system managed is good”.


OK, now remember that.


Traditionally, Windows will install the page file in with itself and it does this for good reason. C drive is where all of the action is, and the hard drive heads will not have to move far in order to access the page file. Accessing the page file will incur a time penalty, but it will be small.


If you place the page file in a separate partition on the same drive, the heads will now have to move further each time the page file is accessed, thus incurring a greater time penalty. OK so far?


I saw this suggested recently. The theory  was that the page file, being the centre partition, would be accessed really fast, but life is not like that.


partitions w text


The data file in use will be processed in the orange area until it is no longer required by the computer user. In normal use, the hard drive head will not be traversing constantly across from orange to blue, picking up and dropping stuff into the page file as it goes. There is no benefit in partitioning a hard drive as per the diagram above.


Where a single hard drive is installed, the page file should be left where Windows placed it originally.


If the diagram represented three separate physical drives, would that be any better? No, it wouldn’t because unless the page file drive was a small 4-6gb unit, there would be a tremendous waste of hard drive space, and if it was only that size, it would have to be an old unit with way slower access times than the boot drive. Any speed advantage in having separate heads reading and writing to the page file would be negated by the speed of the heads in the old drive.


Assuming a three partition per drive set up which aids organization and cuts down on format times in the event that a partition has to be rebuilt, a single drive installation would look like this..


partitions os data single 


and a dual drive installation would look like this..


partitions os data


partitions

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