virtual memory

  interlekt 20:53 08 Jul 2008

I have seen on windows xp/ vista that you can increase the virtual memory on the computer which in turn increases your overall RAM but at a slower speed i.e. MY computer/ properties/ advanced system settings/ advanced... However, reading online all I can see are a lot of positives about this, but there must be some negatives.

PLease can anyone explain why you would do this? what it actually means and what implications there might be if any? (In simple terms)


  Technotiger 21:10 08 Jul 2008

If you have only a limited amount of RAM, but a large hard-drive with loads of unused space, this space on the hard drive can be used as Virtual RAM to help some games run smoother. But that is just the very basic concept, as far as I understand it anyway. I am no expert though.

  Technotiger 21:13 08 Jul 2008

Or have a wade through this lot ... click here

  MarvintheAndroid 22:36 08 Jul 2008

If you don't have enough physical memory to run your applications, you can substitute "virtual memory" instead. However note the difference in read / write speed between RAM and HDD. Therefore in an ideal world you would want enough RAM to ensure that Windows never needs to use virtual memory at all.

Increasing the amount of virtual memory above the recommended setting will have no real effect unless your system is struggling. In that case it will help prevent crashes but will slow the system down.

I usually set the min and max to the same value, and leave them fixed. This can help to prevent fragmentation of the swap file.


  daba 00:00 09 Jul 2008

"I usually set the min and max to the same value, and leave them fixed. This can help to prevent fragmentation of the swap file."

This is a technique I have been using for well over 5 years now. I read somewhere long time ago that if Windows doesn't have to calculate how much Virtual Memory (hard disk space) to use, then it will run faster. However I still think fragmentation of the actual VM space will naturally occur. At that time I used to use Norton Utilities defragmenter, in which I could see that my VM swap-file was located roughly in the middle of the HDD, meaning that disk access time was optimal no matter where the read/write heads were.

It sorta made sense to me at the time, but I have read so many conflicting "expert" opinions I am none the wiser.

I have had no problems fixing Min and Max VM size to the same in Windows 98, 98SE, 2000Pro, and will try to do the same in my next OS.

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