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Virtual memory

Discussion in 'All About Tech' started by Arch, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. Arch

    Arch ‫‬**‪‫‬**҉‫‬**‪‫‬**҉ ‫‬*

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    Is it a bad thing to disable virtual memory on Windows XP?

    Like 99.9% people out there with the Windows operating system, virtual memory is enabled by default. Recently, switching between applications (say from Firefox to Photoshop) in the taskbar had been incredibly slow. I suspect that it has to do with virtual memory looking through its swap file to find the memory related to Photoshop, because I can hear the hard drive working. Right now, I disabled virtual memory and programs have been running fine so far. I do understand that operating systems recommend people using virtual memory, but recently, the prices of RAM have been inexpensive and plentiful that virtual memory doesn’t seem to be a necessary thing. Besides, it slows down my computer significantly. I haven’t found any articles from googling that discussed about disabling virtual memory. Besides taking up physical memory on RAM, are there any other disadvantages in having no virtual memory?

    Here’s my current PC setup if anyone’s curious:
    P4 2.53 GHz
    512 MB RAM
    120 GB Hard drive.
    Windows XP SP1
     
  2. DE

    DE vote bnp

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    There are many advantages to having virtual memory, and it's pretty essential - what happens if you need more data in RAM than you can handle? You get errors and your programs crash. XP's pretty intelligent about how it doles out virtual memory, and it keeps frequently accessed bits of memory in RAM as opposed to on disk to reduce disk access and increase general speed. I've honestly never noticed any performance differences after disabling my page file.

    I just set it to a system managed size on both of my disks. XP automatically load balances between drives as they're used, to maximise the performance of the page file :)
     
  3. Phrozenspite

    Phrozenspite Inhuman nihilist

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    you definitely don't have enough memory to disable it in xp... if you had 1.5-2 gigs of ram i'd say disable it
     
  4. Arch

    Arch ‫‬**‪‫‬**҉‫‬**‪‫‬**҉ ‫‬*

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    I haven't been running any memory intensive applications lately, but I do want to get 1-2 GBs of RAM when I do.
     
  5. LDGuy

    LDGuy The other guy

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    Even so, I reckon to stay on the safe side I would enable VM, purely because you could lose something important. I would much prefer firefox to be a little slow every so often than to be in danger of losing a big important document/other project of some kind if i forgot to turn on VM and the 'puter crashed.

    But, I guess the general answer would be to get more RAM anyway. It solves all of these problems.
     
  6. DE

    DE vote bnp

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    You don't get slowdowns with paged memory, because the OS is intelligent enough to know when to page things to disk and when not.
     
  7. Arch

    Arch ‫‬**‪‫‬**҉‫‬**‪‫‬**҉ ‫‬*

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    I actually do. I got these "disk thrashing" noise whenever I run a bunch of applications and the wait time to switch between the applications runs about 5-15 seconds.
     
  8. Phrozenspite

    Phrozenspite Inhuman nihilist

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    You do if your on for extended periods of times without reboots, or if you do intensive gaming
     
  9. Arch

    Arch ‫‬**‪‫‬**҉‫‬**‪‫‬**҉ ‫‬*

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    Very true, although I don't do intensive gaming.
     

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