Tip: Set your correct page file size... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • The default Page File size and setup on default installs of MS Windows Home Server are not optimal...

    Anyone who wishes to improve their server performance should do the following steps.


    How to check and change your Page File size and setup:

    - Click on the Start menu, right-click on the My Computer icon and choose Properties from the popup menu.

    - Click on the Advanced tab, then the Performance group Settings button.

    - Click on the Performance Options dialog's Advanced tab, look down at the Virtual memory group.  If the Total paging file size for all drives is NOT at least 1.5 times the installed RAM, you should change it.  In fact you should actually check the current settings and if there is only the default Page file on the C: [SYS] partition, you really should change the settings.

    - Click on the Change button, you will notice that the default Paging file is on the C: [SYS] drive.  Most likely it will be something like Initial = 2046 MB and Maximum = 4092 MB.  Since the WHS setup by default only provides a 20GB [SYS] partition, you should probably leave this as is so that you don't run out of boot partition space if you decide to install a few applications in the future.  If you have modified your OS boot partition size to be larger than the default 20GB, you should update the Page file on the [SYS] partition to be 1.5x/3x as outlined below.

    - The proper optimal settings for 2003 32-bit Initial and Maximum are: Initial = 1.5 times the reported installed physical RAM, and Maximum = 3 times the Initial value.  So for a system that has 4GB of physical RAM that reports 3.99GB, the Initial should be 6127MB (note that the Recommended value on the dialog is almost always correct, and the Initial value should be set to this), and then the Maximum should be set to 3 times the Initial, or in this case 3x6127 = 18381MB.

    - In the case of a default WHS install, where the C: [SYS] partition is only 20GB, you should add a second Page file to another partition on the system that is correctly sized to 1.5x/3x.  This Page file should also preferably be on a different physical hard drive if you have more than one drive in the computer.

    - Make sure the "Custom size" option is selected, select another partition such as D: [DATA], or preferably another partition on another physical drive, change the Initial and Maximum sizes appropriately for your system (you can usually go with Initial = Recommended which is 1.5x installed physical RAM, and Maximum = 3x the Initial value), then click on the Set button.  You will see that the drive listing will update to show the new Paging file setup.

    - Click on the OK buttons back through all of the dialogs.

    - You don't have to reboot with newer OSs, but I recommend doing a reboot when done.


    Note that there are a few additional bits of information on this.

    You may now notice that Windows reports a combined value of its default smaller Page file on the C: [SYS] partition and your corrected optimal Page file on another partition, possibly D: [DATA].  This is correct.  Windows will automatically use the best defined Paging file using internal algorithms, and will in this case choose to page to the optimal Page file you added.

    A Paging file on Server OS's is still required on the boot partition for crash-dump reasons, so you should not set the Page file on the C: [SYS] partition to "no paging file".  However, Paging files should be located on an additional partition, preferably a different physical drive, and preferably a partition dedicated strictly to the paging file only, so that it does not become fragmented.  However, I have not tested to see if the WHS DE will pool a separate dedicated Page file partition, which will reduce the benefit of creating a dedicated Page file partition.


    See these MSKB articles:

    - Configuring paging files for optimization and recovery in Windows Server 2003, in Windows 2000, and in Windows NT



    - RAM, Virtual Memory, Pagefile and all that stuff



    I can reference plenty more MSKB articles if anyone has any questions regarding this.


    Note that if/when WHS becomes 64-bit, the paging setup changes from this recommended 1.5x/3x setup.  In this case, a test run through performance counters should be used to determine the optimal page file for your specific needs.


    See MSKB: How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP




    Sunday, August 31, 2008 6:53 AM