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Optimizing Your Swapfile – Step 3

Step 3 - Introducing Your Swapfile to a Clean Drive

Alright, this is the final, and probably easiest, since we have done this already, step. You must now place your swapfile on the fastest performing hard drive, which we have defragmented and even left open space for the swapfile in the previous step. This is where it gets fun, because this is where the performance kicks in.

First off, we have to tell the computer that the swapfile should be located on the fastest hard drive. In case you don't remember how to do this, we will go through the motions here. First, open the System properties (Start --> right click Computer --> click Properties --> click Advanced System Settings --> click Continue on UAC--> click Settings on the Performance pane). Alright, now click the Advanced tab, and then the Change button on the Virtual Memory pane. Have you got something that look like this?

Virtual Memory Window

If you recall, you set the swap file by clicking the slowest drive and then entering a value into Initial and Maximum on the custom pagefile. Now we need to remove the old swapfile that we set on the slow drive and put it on the fastest drive. For uni-drive people, this simply means to set your drive to a fixed swapfile size so skip to the next section.

OK. For those with multiple drives, you want to click the slower drive and click the No Paging File radio button and then click the Set button. Now you want to click the faster drive and type 2048 (unless you want to use the Windows recommended size, as long as you have enough free space at the beginning via our mathematical calculation in the last step) in the Initial Size text box and then 2048 in the Maximum Size text box. The reason you want to set a fixed size is so that the file never shrinks or grows., this means that it is finite and will always perform as you wish it to. Setting it at a both minimal and maximum of 2048 will guarantee you will have a minimum and maximum of 2 gigabytes. As I mentioned before, this is more than enough for most users. If you chose to go with the Windows recommended number, make sure that you left enough room at the start of the drive via the JkDefragGUI Free space option. Now, once you have set your swapfile values, whatever they may be, click Set. You will now have to reboot again after clicking OK to all of the windows. Do so, and we are done! Enjoy your new found swapfile performance!

For uni-drive people, or those with one drive, simply open the System Properties window (Start --> right click Computer --> Properties --> click Advanced System Settings --> click Continue on UAC --> click Settings under Performance --> Click Advanced tab --> Click Change under Virtual Memory pane). Now set your Initial and Maximum sizes for your drive under the Custom Size radio button to 2048, for both text boxes. Hit OK on all screens and reboot. Woohoo! You have now optimized you swapfile on a uni-drive system as well!

One final thing left to do, and that is to turn System Restore back on. Simply click Start, right click Computer, click Properties. In the System window on the left pane click system protection and then click Continue on the UAC window. For those with one drive, simply put a check mark in the box corresponding to your hard drive. For those with multiple hard drives you will probably want to set the slower drive as the one to hold the restore points, which will keep file access to the faster drive to even more of a minimum keeping your swapfile performing as best it can.

For the uber-geeks, like me, you may want to do something special. I won't walk you through the entire process, because if you're an uber-geek, this was child's play, but I will tell you how to set yourself up with the best, and I mean absolutely best, performing swapfile. This, of course, bases it's roots in the UN*X and UN*X like system's history. If you are serious about performance, you will want to set up  at least two partitions in a Windows (or other) environment. Set up the small partition first, let's say 2048 MB. Do not allow Windows Setup to format the drive. Then set up the secondary partition using the rest of the hard drive (or partition, accordingly, whatever). Now install Windows to the second partition. When you are done installing and at the Desktop, use Disk Manager to format the first small partition. Then simply put the swapfile on the small hard drive and you are in business. Does this work to increase performance? You betcha!  This is because the swapfile is always at the beginning of the hard drive and the hard drive you set it up on, or partition for that matter, is never even used by Windows. Of course, this is designed for people setting up a new system. My tutorial for doing this with an existing partition, however, works almost as well! Enjoy!


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