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Changing the default paging file size on large-memory computers

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Changing the default paging file size on large-memory computers

If you have 4 gigabytes (GB) or more of memory on your server, you may want to change the default size of your paging file. On x86-based computers with 4 GB or more of physical memory there should be a paging file sufficiently large to capture a kernel memory dump. This is true even if there is little use of the paging file due to the majority of the memory being used by an Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) application.

When setting up the paging file on a large memory system, make the minimum and maximum page file sizes the same (for example, set Initial size (MB) to 2,050 MB and set Maximum size (MB) to 2,050 MB). This prevents the page file from getting fragmented on the hard drive, which might cause problems when writing a kernel memory dump to disk. A paging file size of at least 2,050 MB is the minimum size necessary for computers with 4 GB or more of physical memory to capture a complete kernel memory dump. The paging file can be much larger (up to three times the physical RAM is typical) if the system is being used for application consolidation. For instructions on changing the paging file size, see Change the size of the virtual memory paging file.

In computers with eight or more processors that have the maximum amount of RAM installed, you might be able to gain some incremental performance improvement by splitting the paging file into multiple paging files. Each paging file must be on a separate physical disk and for reliability, each disk should be part of a hardware RAID-5 volume.

For more information about dividing the paging file into multiple paging files, see "Troubleshooting Performance" at the Microsoft Windows Resource Kits Web site.


  • This topic does not apply to Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

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