Optimize Windows virtual memory in Windows 2000 Server

Adding multiple page files is a way to optimize Windows 2000's Virtual Memory Manager. Here are the steps you'll need to follow.

Optimizing the virtual memory of Windows 2000 Server can help you increase system performance.

Virtual Memory Manager (VMM) provides applications with a virtual address instead of a physical memory address. It does this by translating the virtual address into a physical address when an application attempts to access memory.

When you installed Windows 2000, it created the paging file PAGEFILE.SYS in the boot partition's root directory. Unfortunately, this creates problems because Windows 2000 generally performs simultaneous disk I/O on the system directory and the page file. Moving the page file to a different physical hard disk helps Windows 2000 handle multiple I/O requests more efficiently.

Configuring the system to have multiple paging files allows the system to make multiple simultaneous I/O requests to the various hard disks, which increases the speed of I/O requests to the paging file. However, using multiple paging files spread across multiple partitions on the same drive diminishes system performance, because the hard disk must move constantly between partitions when handling paging requests. You should spread multiple paging files across multiple partitions only if you only have one physical disk and you do not have a partition large enough to store an entire paging file.

If possible, locate the page file on its own separate hard drive or partition -- this will prevent the file from becoming fragmented. To add multiple page files:

  1. Go to Control Panel and double-click on the System icon.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab and select the Performance button.
  3. Click Change to display the Windows Virtual Memory Configuration window.
  4. Set the initial size and the maximum size for a drive.
  5. Click Set to store the new values.
  6. Repeat the above steps on the next drive.
  7. Click OK twice to exit.
  8. Restart the server.

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in November 2006

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