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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements | Operating System Performance Optimization ]

Eliminate Swap File Resizing

The swap file is a file on the hard disk that is used for virtual memory paging. When a multitasking system such as Windows has too much information for it all to be held in memory at once, some of it is stored in the swap file until it is needed.

The swap file in some operating systems is fixed in size; you create a swap file of whatever size makes most sense based on various factors and then the file remains that size until you change it. However, in Windows 95, by default the swap file changes size. Windows 95 will make it larger when it needs more virtual memory swap space, and smaller when it needs less.

Note: Windows 3.x does not resize its permanent swap file.

Resizing is a good idea in principle; it is intended to conserve disk space. The problem is that this impacts performance negatively, in some cases severely. In fact, any time virtual memory is used, performance suffers, but it is even worse when the size of the file is being adjusted at the same time. With hard disk space relatively cheap these days, most people would prefer a faster machine to saving 50 MB of disk space. The savings are mostly an illusion anyway, since you really need that space to be available for Windows whenever it wants it. However, if you are very tight on disk space, you may need to leave the resizing on.

Eliminating resizing is simply a matter of customizing the swap file settings. Set the minimum and maximum swap file sizes to the same number, and resizing will be disabled. See this section for the swap file customization procedure.

Tip: Eliminating resizing also eliminates fragmentation of the swap file, which further degrades system performance.

Next: Optimize Swap File Size


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