Use a Larger Pagefile for Better Performance

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 24 March 2005 / Last Updated on 24 March 2005]

The default pagefile size isn't always enough for best performance, especially when you're running memory-hungry server apps.

While the default setting of 1.5 x RAM is sufficient for pagefile size for some server roles, if your machine is running disk- and memory-intensive applications like Exchange or SQL Server then you may want to increase the initial pagefile size to 2 x RAM or even larger. Microsoft doesn't recommend increasing the pagefile to more than 3 x RAM, however, and the maximum allowed size for any one instance of pagefile.sys on a machine is limited to 4GB. So, if you have a powerful machine with 4GB of RAM then you have to split the pagefile to overcome this limit. This splitting can be done in two ways: create separate pagefiles on different volumes (done in the usual way) or create multiple pagefiles on a single volume. (See KB 237740 for how to do this.) On a more modest machine with 1GB of RAM though, you would probably be best served to set the initial pagefile size to 2GB (2 x RAM) and the maximum pagefile size to 3GB (3 x RAM).

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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