Page File Question

  Gaz_dc 13:21 30 Oct 05

I have a question about the different way Windows handles its page file to Linux handling its swap partition (will call both page file from now on).

I have noticed that Windows seems to use its page file a lot more than Linux does, even when there is RAM available. I am currently posting this from my Win XP machine with Task Manager open at the performance tab and have an older PC with Linux running the Performance Monitor. Windows shows 208MB RAM free out of 512MB and is using 271MB of swap. Linux is showing 254MB free, again out of 512MB, with 0 swap used.

Why is this? Is it just because, as I have heard, Linux is better at memory management?


  ACOLYTE 13:23 30 Oct 05

Maybe because windows has more background proceses running than linux does?and most of those use swap file instead od the system ram.

  Gaz_dc 13:27 30 Oct 05

That's certainly true about running more processes, but why use the page file when there is RAM free. Surely that slows the system down?

  ACOLYTE 13:31 30 Oct 05

It would i think slow it down more if all the ram was used as well as the page file.It would i think use more like 700Mb of ram maybe more to run the processes just with system ram,i am by no means sure on that but it seems windows wonts you to have some ram free to use as you see fit.

  Gaz_dc 14:04 30 Oct 05

Whilst on the subject of swap space, would there be any advantage in having it on a separate disk? I have 2 hard disks in my PC, 1 for Windows 1 for Linux. Would there be any point in having a swap partition for Linux on the Windows disk and vice versa? Does that even make any sense?! Obviously thinking more of Windows here, as Linux doesn't seem to need a swap partition with 512MB RAM to play with!

  ACOLYTE 14:11 30 Oct 05

Im not sure you can have 2 swop files,you only need 1 for the OS drive,obviosly if they are both OS's then they will have swap files for each,if they are on seperate Hard drives if they are dual booted on the same hard drive they would share the single one,i dont think you can just have 1 swop file for both disk's.I also dont think you can use another OS's swop file for another OS,but i havent used linux so i cant really say.

  PaulB2005 14:13 30 Oct 05

You can have more than one physical swap file but Windows just treats it as one file. This means you can use space across multiple drives.

  Gaz_dc 14:42 30 Oct 05

I wasn't thinking about having 2 swap files for 1 OS. I was thinking of having a FAT32 partition on the Linux hard disk for the Windows swap and a Linux partition on the Windows disk for the Linux swap. So that when booted into either OS, the swap is on a different drive. Would this reduce disk thrashing when accessing the disk and swap file at the same time?

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