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How much space should be left free on your main hdd? - Page 2

post #11 of 33
I don't run paging files / restore none of that garbage, that's what RAM is for.
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post #12 of 33
leave space for pagefile + 2gb at least, windows is weird when you have less than 1gb free even without pagefile

but come on, please disable that dumb pagefile, it is some crap from the past
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post #13 of 33
The more data you have on your hard drive at least linearly decreases your hard drive performances, if not more. In a perfect world where all your files were perfectly defragged and accessed sequencially, reading out file after file becomes linearly slower because the instantaneous velocity of a bit on the hard drive is r*rpm, and files are written on the outside of the drive (when r is largest), so as r shrinks (you've added files to the hard drive), v shrinks.

Now, in the real world, files are not accessed sequentially, and they are not defragged. This necessitates that the head move back and forth across the platter to get to all the data. This can greatly decrease hard drive performance.

What's the point of all this, you say?

#1, make sure you keep your hard drive defragged. There's nothing that will compromise your speed more than a fragmented hard drive.

#2, Use a more advanced defrag program, like O&O defrag, to sort your files. You don't need to, for example, access documents or movies that quickly. And if you do, they'll primarily be sequential reads. Therefore, have those files moved to the inside of the platter, and have your OS and program files, which you access a lot, moved to the outside of the platter. Then, if you write new files, they'll be written to the middle of the platter, where the speed won't be as compromised.

In other words, it's much more about how the files are distributed on your hard drive than how many you have.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
I did do a bit of reading about recently and it seems like you may get errors with some programs if you completely disable the pagefile... You guys think performance would be better if i lowered the pagefile size? maybe i should set it back to automatic. I'm not sure i understand the pagefile well enough and its going a bit off the point of my original question, but i have to say you lot have made me intrigued about it now!
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ET900 View Post

I did do a bit of reading about recently and it seems like you may get errors with some programs if you completely disable the pagefile... You guys think performance would be better if i lowered the pagefile size? maybe i should set it back to automatic. I'm not sure i understand the pagefile well enough and its going a bit off the point of my original question, but i have to say you lot have made me intrigued about it now!

the page file is used as temporary RAM in situations where the programs being loaded up exceed the amount of RAM available. The computer then writes data from programs idling or in the background the the HDD to free up space in RAM. Like I said earlier this was only an issue when 512MB or 1 GB RAM was common place but programs could use considerably more. Now however we rarely see these conditions making the page file not really necessary
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post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick2253 View Post

The more data you have on your hard drive at least linearly decreases your hard drive performances, if not more. In a perfect world where all your files were perfectly defragged and accessed sequencially, reading out file after file becomes linearly slower because the instantaneous velocity of a bit on the hard drive is r*rpm, and files are written on the outside of the drive (when r is largest), so as r shrinks (you've added files to the hard drive), v shrinks.
Now, in the real world, files are not accessed sequentially, and they are not defragged. This necessitates that the head move back and forth across the platter to get to all the data. This can greatly decrease hard drive performance.
What's the point of all this, you say?
#1, make sure you keep your hard drive defragged. There's nothing that will compromise your speed more than a fragmented hard drive.
#2, Use a more advanced defrag program, like O&O defrag, to sort your files. You don't need to, for example, access documents or movies that quickly. And if you do, they'll primarily be sequential reads. Therefore, have those files moved to the inside of the platter, and have your OS and program files, which you access a lot, moved to the outside of the platter. Then, if you write new files, they'll be written to the middle of the platter, where the speed won't be as compromised.
In other words, it's much more about how the files are distributed on your hard drive than how many you have.

yeh i get ya. i do usually defrag my hdd after installing a large program or after updating graphics drivers. so it gets done every month. i understand how a fragmented drive can cause more work for the drive which leads to slower read times and wears the drive out quicker. but the stuff with the inside and outside of the drive was kinda new to me, hadn't really thought to much about that and didn't even realise you could defrag in such a sophisticated way! i'm gonna check out that defrag tool you mentioned. great info - thanks thumb.gif
post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by selectstriker2 View Post

the page file is used as temporary RAM in situations where the programs being loaded up exceed the amount of RAM available. The computer then writes data from programs idling or in the background the the HDD to free up space in RAM. Like I said earlier this was only an issue when 512MB or 1 GB RAM was common place but programs could use considerably more. Now however we rarely see these conditions making the page file not really necessary

yeh thats pretty much how i figured it. so its good to have some amount of pagefile really. i guess i dont need 12gb though lol! thanks man smile.gif
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by selectstriker2 View Post

In today's world with 4/8/16 GB of RAM the need for a page file is really non existent. I don't have a pagefile on my sig rig currently and haven't had any issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMD_Freak View Post

I don't run paging files / restore none of that garbage, that's what RAM is for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixor View Post

leave space for pagefile + 2gb at least, windows is weird when you have less than 1gb free even without pagefile
but come on, please disable that dumb pagefile, it is some crap from the past

I know this is a common myth floating around here and elsewhere, but the paging file is not just some "old crap from the past." The paging file is a highly useful and performance boosting tool. The oversimplified purpose of the paging file is to cache files that are stored in the RAM so that the RAM can be used for other stuff. But in theory, even if you had infinity RAM, you'd want a paging file. But why?

Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX all have incredibly complex and competent memory managers. It's their job to manage the memory allocation between the CPU cache, the RAM, and the hard drive cache (the paging file). As your computer is processing tasks, it is swapping data back and forth between these memories in order to optimize system performance. Ultimately, for anything to be calculated, it has to end up in the CPU cache, which gets fed directly to the processor for processing.

So how does the paging file add value?

Any time you open a program in Windows, it needs to allocate memory so it can do its thing. The problem is how it gets data into that memory. Ultimately, the computer has to read the data from the hard drive. If the program was recently opened, then Windows may have that data already cached in memory, but if the program was opened a few days back, or you used a memory-hungry application in the meantime, likely all that data will have to be read from the hard drive. If you have a paging file, however, Windows will store that data to the paging file in a nice sequential manner. Then, when you open the program, yes you'll have to read the data from the hard drive, but it will be in a place and manner that allows Windows to quickly put it into the memory. This is especially true for programs like Microsoft Word. And if you have common documents you open frequently, then those documents will also be stored in the paging file for easy access.

So why would I need a paging file if I have infinity ram?

Even if you have infinity ram, you'll probably be shutting the computer down once in a while. This is where superfetch and the paging file harmonize to create performance bliss. Superfetch's purpose is to quickly and painlessly fill the RAM with those programs that you use frequently--especially on startup. This is why you'd find cached data for your AV and firewall programs, steam (if it starts on boot), Skype, X-fire, etc, and most importantly your OS. Now, that's all well and good, but what about programs you don't use frequently? That's where the paging file comes it. It basically acts as a super fetch for the programs you've most recently used. This way, if you are working on, say, your thesis, the paging file would be storing the data related to your document editor and your thesis document. Now, those will be quickly and easily available for the memory to grab.

But I still need more convincing!

It really comes down to this: In the worst case scenario with a paging file, your memory is full, and therefore Windows writes stuff to the paging file to free up space in the memory. In the normal case, Windows is going along with almost no need for a paging file, but as programs minimize and/or are closed, it (as a background process) writes that memory data to the paging file. If the RAM is needed again, it will clear those memory blocks for a new program. If the program comes back, then either it will get its old memory allocation back, or it will quickly get its paged data pulled into memory. In the worst case scenario without a paging file, your memory is full and programs start to crash left and right because they are out of memory. In the normal case, Windows just chugs along without the paging file, but as programs close, it just sits there. When a new program needs that memory space, it clears it and provides it to the new program. When that old program comes back, it has to repopulate the memory with reading from the HDD and re-processing the data to determine the correct values in the memory.

For this to happen, you really don't need a paging file much larger than 2 to 4 GB. The old adage about 1.5X your memory was because memory was rare, and the paging file was used primarily as a live cache to the RAM. But since it rarely is used for that purpose anymore, and even if it is, the need will be small, the paging file doesn't need to be very big. Basically, the benefits are numerous, and the only downside is a "wasted" 2-4GB of space. But with hard drive space as cheap as it is, is it really that much of a loss?
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Nick2253 that was some good info. This is why I still thought it necessary to have some amount of pagefile. It can help free up ram when needed and in some cases make your system respond quicker. It's nice to have that buffer zone there and it doesn't hurt to have a bit of space dedicated to it for when it's needed. I was pretty sure that it was an integral part of superfetch also which is a nice feature of windows. So i will continue to use a pagefile but im just gonna let the system manage it automatically . I can't see how it will slow my computer down having it there!

So back to the original question - I know we need a certain amount of space free for the pagefile, defragging and being able to move data around. But does anyone know of other reasons you need to leave free space? I still don't quite understand why the computer will slow down if i've left free space for the things already mentioned. What else would actually cause it to slow down? Thanks!
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ET900 View Post

I was pretty sure that it was an integral part of superfetch also which is a nice feature of windows.
Superfetch and the paging file have nothing to do with each other, and each will operate without the other, but they play complementary roles in helping optimize memory allocation at bootup.
Quote:
So i will continue to use a pagefile but im just gonna let the system manage it automatically . I can't see how it will slow my computer down having it there!
I would recommend against letting the system manage it automatically. If the paging file is allowed to dynamically allocate, it will become fragmented, which will decrease its utility. It will still be beneficial, but a fragmented paging file is far less effective.
Quote:
So back to the original question - I know we need a certain amount of space free for the pagefile, defragging and being able to move data around. But does anyone know of other reasons you need to leave free space? I still don't quite understand why the computer will slow down if i've left free space for the things already mentioned. What else would actually cause it to slow down? Thanks!

The operating system and programs are almost constantly reading and writing data to the hard drive. Be it logs, saves, or those kind of files. You can actually monitor that to see exactly what's happening with DiskMon (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896646). If your OS hard drive is full, or nearly so, then this data will be written on the inside edge of the platter, which is very slow. These temporary files are an integral part of OS functionality.

You don't actually need to leave space for the paging file. If you statically allocate say 4GB, then that's all it needs. The paging file will always take up 4GB, and that's that. Any writes the OS needs to do with the paging file will be done in that 4GB of space. In theory, if you had a paging file on a completely full (non-OS) hard drive, then you could use it and not notice any slowdowns.

The recommendation for defrag is 15%, so I recommend leaving about that. The minimum recommended size is the size of the largest file on your hard drive, though defrag would still work in the case where you only had a single sector free (it would just be really, really slow).
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