Page File vs. Virtual Memory in Windows XP

I had heard that Virtual Memory and the Pagefile are one in the same.  Recently I did a system info on my machine and found the following…

 

Total Physical Memory           4,096.00 MB

Available Physical Memory     2.49 GB

Total Virtual Memory              2.00 GB

Available Virtual Memory       1.96 GB

Page File Space                      11.61 B

Page File                                C:\pagefile.sys

 

 

The list above shows them separate and when I change Virtual memory size in System Properties, the Page File Space in above list changes but so matter what I change it to, the Total Virtual Memory in above list stays at 2.00 GB and the Available Virtual Memory stays at 1.96 GB…  

 

It appears that XP considers them separate from Page File memory so how does one change Virtual Memory?

 

Thanks for any info
 

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Last updated March 26, 2018 Views 1,107 Applies to:

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Hi W.Otto,

 

You may refer the following articles for more information on Page File and Virtual Memory in Windows XP:

 

How to set performance options in Windows XP

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308417

 

To change the size of the virtual memory paging file

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/sysdm_advancd_perform_change_vmpagefile.mspx?mfr=true

 

How to configure paging files for optimization and recovery in Windows XP

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314482

 

What is the Page File for anyway?

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2007/12/14/what-is-the-page-file-for-anyway.aspx

 

Hope this information is helpful.

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Thanks for your reply Imran.

 

I have read thru all the recommended articles but none of then explain why my “Total Virtual Memory” is different than my “Page File Space”.

 

All the articles imply they are the same item – my original question remains if they are the same, why are the two values different?

 

When I change the Page File value, the “Total Virtual Memory” value always remains at 2.00 GB   WHY?

 

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There are two commonly used interpretations of the meaning of Virtual Memory. One equates to the pagefile and another to the pagefile plus RAM. This can confuse at times.

Most pagefiles are set up either by letting Windows manage the pagefile, which means the agefile expands or contracts as the demand for memory changes or the user sets fixed minimum and / or maximum pagefile limits. My preference is for a fixed minimum = maximum pagefile but the let Windows Manage option is very popular. You can set no pagefile but this is generally unwise because some programmes require a pagefile to run even if there is plenty of free RAM.

There are a number of explanations as to why you cannot change the size of your pagefile. After selecting your pagefile settings you need to click on Set, followed by Apply and restart your computer for the new setting to be applied. Clicking on Apply is commonly overlooked. As with many system changes you need to be empowered as an Administrator to change pagefile settings. Windows commonly uses a multiple of RAM to create recommendations for pagefile sizes and this can trip you up. Another factor that can come into play is the available free disk space. It is this which causes warnings about low memory.

An Article on the pagefile created in 2004 which will help your understanding:
http://aumha.org/win5/a/xpvm.php

Gerry
Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England
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Thanks for your reply Gerry,

I can and have changed the Page File space in System Properties BUT When I change the Page File value, the “Total Virtual Memory” value always remains at 2.00 GB   WHY?

 

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You can sometimes tell a lot a system from a Disk Defragmenter report. Open Disk Defragmenter and click on Analyse. Select View Report and click on Save As and Save. Now find VolumeC.txt in your My Documents Folder. Open the file, and place the cursor anywhere in the file, select Edit, Select All to highlight all text and copy and paste into the body of your message. Do this before running Disk Defragmenter as it is more informative.

Gerry
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Gerry,

There is no VolumeC.txt file on my computer anywhere.

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Select Start, Control Panel, Folder Options, View, Advanced Settings and verify that the box before "Show hidden files and folders" is checked and "Hide protected operating system files" is unchecked. You may need to scroll down to see the second item. You should also make certain that the box before "Hide extensions for known file types" is not checked.

 

Gerry
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Gerry, Sorry but I did not follow your steps properly on the email of the 16th.

Now we have success.  The text from the VolumeC.txt log follows:

 

Volume (C:)
    Volume size                                = 112 GB
    Cluster size                               = 4 KB
    Used space                                 = 91.13 GB
    Free space                                 = 20.65 GB
    Percent free space                         = 18 %

Volume fragmentation
    Total fragmentation                        = 26 %
    File fragmentation                         = 53 %
    Free space fragmentation                   = 0 %

File fragmentation
    Total files                                = 85,031
    Average file size                          = 1 MB
    Total fragmented files                     = 5
    Total excess fragments                     = 130
    Average fragments per file                 = 1.00

Pagefile fragmentation
    Pagefile size                              = 48.83 GB
    Total fragments                            = 2

Folder fragmentation
    Total folders                              = 6,209
    Fragmented folders                         = 1
    Excess folder fragments                    = 0

Master File Table (MFT) fragmentation
    Total MFT size                             = 90 MB
    MFT record count                           = 91,806
    Percent MFT in use                         = 99 %
    Total MFT fragments                        = 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fragments       File Size       Most fragmented files
4               1 MB            \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\AVG2012\Chjw\c88d0a488d08e18.dat
3               1 MB            \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\AVG2012\Chjw\1228e56b28e54e73.dat
______________________________________________

 

ONE ADDED NOTE -  My system runs Diskeeper 2009 thus it is always defragmented.

 

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Pagefile size = 48.83 GB

This is not right!
I would reset the pagefile to no pagefile and restart the computer. After it has restarted check whether the system has no pagefile and reset it to a minimum = maximum pagefile of 3 gb. Restart the computer again andpost a further Disk Defragmenter report.

 

Gerry
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Gerry,

I reset the pagefile...  first to no file then to 3000mb.... See text below:

 

System Info – 03/24/12     After Reset of Pagefile to NO pagefile

 

OS Name          Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600

OS Manufacturer            Microsoft Corporation

System Name   OWNER-6B512DE26

System Manufacturer     INTEL_

System Model   DG41RQ__

System Type     X86-based PC

Processor         x86 Family 6 Model 23 Stepping 10 GenuineIntel ~2699 Mhz

BIOS Version/Date         Intel Corp. RQG4110H.86A.0009.2009.0108.1005, 1/8/2009

SMBIOS Version           2.4

Windows Directory         C:\WINDOWS

System Directory           C:\WINDOWS\system32

Boot Device       \Device\HarddiskVolume1

Locale   United States

Hardware Abstraction Layer        Version = "5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)"

User Name        OWNER-6B512DE26\Fred

Time Zone         Eastern Daylight Time

Total Physical Memory          4,096.00 MB

Available Physical Memory   2.28 GB

Total Virtual Memory             2.00 GB

Available Virtual Memory      1.96 GB

Page File Space                    2.81 GB

 

 

System Info – 03/24/12    After Reset of Pagefile to 3000 MB

 

OS Name          Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600

OS Manufacturer            Microsoft Corporation

System Name   OWNER-6B512DE26

System Manufacturer     INTEL_

System Model   DG41RQ__

System Type     X86-based PC

Processor         x86 Family 6 Model 23 Stepping 10 GenuineIntel ~2699 Mhz

BIOS Version/Date         Intel Corp. RQG4110H.86A.0009.2009.0108.1005, 1/8/2009

SMBIOS Version           2.4

Windows Directory         C:\WINDOWS

System Directory           C:\WINDOWS\system32

Boot Device       \Device\HarddiskVolume1

Locale   United States

Hardware Abstraction Layer        Version = "5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)"

User Name        OWNER-6B512DE26\Fred

Time Zone         Eastern Daylight Time

Total Physical Memory          4,096.00 MB

Available Physical Memory   2.46 GB

Total Virtual Memory             2.00 GB

Available Virtual Memory      1.96 GB

Page File Space                    5.74 GB

Page File          C:\pagefile.sys

 

NOTE - still same problem, no matter what the pagefile is set to the "Total Virtual Memory" and "Available Virtual Memory" values DO NOT CHANGE!

Thus Virtual Memory and Pagefile memory are not the same.

 

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