Tune your Pagefile in 64bit Windows

I stumbled into an interesting problem.   Well it’s not a problem but it’s something I realized I should look at.

I got to deal with some servers with a LOT of ram (ok, 32gig in one and 72gig in the other) which is well… A LOT.

One of the problems I noticed was this WHOPPER of a pagefile on each one, since naturally the system generates a PageFile based upon your physical ram.

And that’s fine since the guys who designed the O/S have to assume WORST CASE ENTERPRISE USE of that system.

But I thought, “How do I tell what’s REALLY being used? Can I make sure the Pagefile is REALLY using all of that space on the disk?”

You can.  And it’s surprisingly very easy.

This article on Technet goes into tuning for Server 2003 and Windows XP with 64bit versions and with some minor changes (VERY minor) it works for 64 Bit versions of Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7 and Server 2008R2.

It’s something we need to look at as technicians and Administrators as we get into computers with larger than 4gigabyte physical ram installs.   Which are getting more common as memory gets cheap.

The article references “Performance Logs and Alerts” which has been replaced by the “Performance and Reliability” monitor in Vista/Server 2008 and the “Performance Monitor” in Windows 7/Server 2008R2.  But the technique is identical.

Now in the article, you can choose whichever method you’re most comfortable with.  I prefer #2 since it pretty much shows me “Worst case scenario” and very quickly.  that’s what I’m interested in.  The scenario of “Do I REALLY need to have a 72 gigabyte pagefile wasting valuable storage space?”

So under Administrative tools when you start up the new version of “Performance Monitor” you’ll see this, which really does look the same as it’s older counterpart.

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So when need to Right click on “Performance Monitor” tab and choose “Properties” to bring up this window.

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So at this point you can just follow the instructions.  Mind you, this is a live view of the situation at hand, but if you let it run, it should meet the need.

So click on “Data”, then “Add”.  In the List choose “PROCESS”.  In Windows 7 you will have to click on a little image to to the right of Process (see below)

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From this expanded list you must choose the counter called “Page File Bytes Peak” image

Once you have that selected click the “ADD” button image to bring the counter under “Added Counters”.  When completed it should look like this

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Click “OK” which will bring you back to the main configuration window.   A few more clicks and you’re done.  Click on the “Graph” image Tab next.

Change the “View” from “Line” to “Report” to just give you a summarized version of the data. image image

Once done you’ll have a view in the Window similiar to this that reflects the most PAGEFILE ram that has been used “Peak”, which means your file shouldn’t be too much larger than that.

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If the maximum is close to what you have and things are working fine?  Leave it alone of course.  But if you have say oh, a wasted 32 gig+ page file and you find the system never gets closer than 8 gig of that, you can probably go into your settings and trim it down by 20 gig.

If this is a server, you should seriously run this tests for a much longer time than it took to read this blog and definitely take all three methods into account.    But it should help out in wasted space and I think even performance somewhat.

Take it easy all

Sean
The Energized Tech

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