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Hi Tom

Ah Ok, I see, this is the same methodology I'm using. I generally turn off the swap file for a badly defragged drive, including any hibernation files etc if active or used on a laptop, then defrag (Disktrix UltimateDefrag, possibly the best I've used to date). After a good clean-up I then set the pagefile and any hibernation files if necessary.

With UD's FragProtect, this only has to be done every few months, and they are one of the few defraggers that can defrag and place the MFT at the beginning of the drive along with the folders entries, ahead of any data. But this has to be done with a reboot and MS pre-install mode (UD does it all automatically) to complete this task. And I've benched my drives on all of my systems, it certainly makes for very fast boot and shutdown times, and better stability.


Andrew Brown

On 31/07/2013 10:52 PM, Tom Davies wrote:
Hi :)
wrt Virtual Memory/pagefile.sys/Swap on Windows the trick seems to be to set it as a fixed value.

"System Properties" - Advanced tab - Performance (top 3rd) Settings - Performance Settings - Advanced tab here too - Virtual Memory (bottom section) Change
There will be about 3 pop-ups open around now.

Use the radio buttons there to change to a "Custom size". This really needs to be greater than Ram but not more than 2xRam (else it gets confused and may even reduce performance while tripping over it's own shoelaces). It has to be greater than Ram because when hibernating (perhaps sleeping too?) the contents of Ram gets written to Virtual Memory. But giving it too much just confuses space just confuses things so just under 2xRam is good but over that might get annoying. Make sure the same number is in both the top and bottom boxes. Often there is a recommendation for how much to set it too and it's usually not a bad idea to follow that advice. I've only seen it give a crazy suggestion once or twice out of hundreds of machines.

Ok, now it gets a bit fiddly. You have to click on the "Set" button before clicking on "Ok" otherwise it forgets and you have to re-type the numbers again. Then you click "Ok" on each of the pop-ups in turn. Again if you don't it's not harmful, just annoying because it forgets.

Of course if you have already been using your machine for a while then Virtual Memory is already quite fragmented so this will only 'stop' it getting worse. It wont improve things. Also when i say 'stop' it will continue to suffer normal system rot and there are other factors such as registry fragmentation that will continue. So, it fixes just 1 problem out of many.

When trying to resurrect an ancient and much used machine i would initially set Virtual Memory to 0. Then defrag quite a lot and then plonk a fairly huge file onto the system. Then reset the Virtual Memory to a respectable size and get rid of the huge file. In theory i hoped that would force all the Virtual Memory file to be contiguous and out of the way.

Gnu&Linux does NOT SUFFER from fragmentation until the drive is something like 96% full, not sure of the exact figure but definitely over 90% (it's always that extra just 1 episode/movie of Star Trek). Files might well be fragmented much lower than that despite the elegant way that files are carefully placed in Ext2,3,4 with plenty of room all around them to allow them to grow. There is a limit to how much that policy can really work of course. However even when files are fragmented there seems to be a better system for tracking where all the bits are so the read/write head can anticipate and plan ahead a bit better.

So what i find odd is that despite that Gnu&Linux doesn't use a Swap file by default! One of the main rules in Gnu&Linux is that for any 'rule' there is always at least 1 version or distro or something that deliberately breaks that rule but in the case of Swap i haven't found one yet. They all seem to follow it! They all seem to use a separate Swap partition or don't use Swap at all.

In Windows, which can't cope with fragmented files and couldn't (until fairly recently) defrag system files people insist on setting Virtual Memory to fragment as quickly as possible. Sometimes they set it to have a fixed lower amount and only vary the top-off but that still means the file gets read and re-written elsewhere and fragmented.

Normally by default it's set to keep changing size according to how much of it is needed. That sounds good in theory. When you need more memory it just expands to fill up more hard-drive space when you need less it releases some of it. You can get Gnu&Linux to use a swap-file just the same instead (or as well as) having a separate fixed swap partition. Unfortunately Windows file-systems such as the various Fats (vFat, Fat32 etc) and Ntfs are carefully designed to make sure files fragment quite quickly and end up with bits scattered all over the place.

Say you have file A that is 20units long and the next file B is 10. Then you delete A and write a file C that is 30 units. Now you have 20units of C followed by 10 units of B followed by the remaining 10 of C. If you now delete B and copy A back then you get 20 of C, followed by 10 of A followed by the 10 remaining of C and then the last 10 of A. So when you try reading a file the read/write head lurches around the drive trying to find the various shopped up parts of the file. If that file is a frequently accessed system file such as Virtual Memory then it can significantly reduce performance.

In Gnu&Linux it is reckoned that you can significantly increase performance by putting your system files, particularly your log files, on a different hard-drive from your data. i mean a proper hard-drive not just a different partition on the same physical device. The main reason for putting your data (all in /home) on a separate partition is not to do with routine performance. it's more about making the system more robust. it allows you to install a completely new OS without any risk to your data (but still back-up anyway of course). In theory you can have several different OSes all using the same /home although that gets a bit messy if they have the same DE. it works a bit better if you have 1 KDE one, 1 Gnome(ish), and maybe 1 of any of the rarer ones (does Unity count as 1 of the rarer ones? i'd say it does but i'm sure others disagree). Otherwise you find all your different OSes use the same wallpaper and look the same (big yawn that is) and you don't get the benefit of the different design teams interesting work.

Something i haven't really tried much, or at least can't remember the result, is putting all the Virtual Memory on a separate physical hard-drive. There is an option to split Virtual Memory across several different hard-drives/partitions some of which might be physically different drives but i'm not sure whether doing that is good or bad.

Errr, i haven't mentioned Bsd or Apple because i just haven't played around with them that much. They don't seem to slow down as much as Windows so i guess they have a similar set-up to Gnu&Linux or have some neat work-around that might not translate well to Gnu&Linux let alone Windows.

Regards from
Tom :)

    *From:* Andrew Brown <>
    *To:* Tom Davies <>
    *Cc:* Virgil Arrington <>;
    *Sent:* Wednesday, 31 July 2013, 8:48
    *Subject:* Re: [libreoffice-users] 4.0.3

    Hi Tom

    Interesting post. Agree, sometimes these software wars becomes
    as my late mother and father used to say and raised us with this
    "how do you know you don't like it if you have not tried it". This
    from our young years with foodstuffs that traditionally many young
    children don't / have never tried, up to the real things in life.
    But I
    am in a similiar vein in what MS charge for their O/S and Office
    when they are riddled with known and unknown bugs.

    At least I have always tried to keep an open mind, and thankfully was
    raised on other O/S's (not necessarily desktop/workstation
    friendly) and
    systems pre-dating MS. I cut my teeth on IBM VAX, Pick, LISP,
    COBOL, AT&T and SCO Unix, CP/M, BASIC and Xerox GEM, before the
    adventure into IBM and MS systems with the very first and crude
    DOS, and
    then Apple O/S starting some 36 years ago.

    I can with experience say I have tried them all, and why my entire
    business and home office is OSS and FOSS, even to desktop. I give my
    staff the choice of MS or FOSS, thankfully they all eventually
    to FOSS, which allows me to plow the monies recovered from ongoing
    unnecessary licensing fees into better, faster and more up to date
    hardware. Even to the level of my servers.

    To end off, the major difference I have between MS software and FOSS,
    and you covered briefly in your reply, is that when one discovers
    a bug,
    or has a problem, one can get a solution or have it fixed promptly
    without waiting for a major release or service pack, unlike
    and closed code. This is the same for malware, it takes so long
    for the
    commercial software to produce a fix and prevention compared to it
    almost being a non-entity in FOSS.

    I would be intrigued and grateful, if you could email me
    privately, your
    tweaks you do for the virtual memory slowdown of it's
    fragmentation (by
    the way MS refers to it as the pagefile). And that's another
    feather in
    FOSS's cap, one never has fragmentation or needs to defragment it,
    unlike MS. I might know or remember them, but it's not coming to
    as I type this.


    On 30/07/2013 03:27 PM, Tom Davies wrote:
    > Hi :)
    > I think disdain is possibly closer than hatred. I think bioth
    are quite far away from the reality though.  I think it's simply
    that people would rather develop tools that are more robust and
    less susceptible  to malware and slow-downs.
    > I think once you start using OpenSource tools you begin to
    realise that MS seem to have deliberately built-in vulnerabilities
    and their slow-downs.  FOSS doesn't seem to suffer anything like
    as much, although a bit of "system rot" is inevitable in almost
    any system.
    > I'm just installing Win7 on a handfull of machines and am able
    to make a couple of tweaks that prevent their "Virtual Memory"
    from getting so heavily fragmented.  In previous versions of their
    OS i have found it significantly reduces the slow-downs if you can
    do this early on.  On Win7 it takes an extra couple of clicks but
    it's still really easy.  I always wonder why the default is to set
    it to fragment as quickly as possible.  It's only with Win7 that
    their de-fragger tool can defrag system files such as the Virtual
    Memory (err that is Swap to Gnu&Linux geeks lol).
    > Regards from
    > Tom :)
    >> ________________________________
    >> From: Virgil Arrington <
    >> To: Amit Choudhary <
    <>>; <>
    >> Sent: Monday, 29 July 2013, 20:30
    >> Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] 4.0.3
    >> I certainly hope the primary motive for FOSS such as LO is not
    a disdain for
    >> MS. I personally don't care how much money MS makes. I hope the LO
    >> developers are motivated by a desire to produce a great product
    that can be
    >> used worldwide. Hatred usually doesn't provide a very effective
    motive for
    >> productive action.
    >> Virgil
    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: Amit Choudhary
    >> Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 10:47 AM
    >> To:
    >> Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] 4.0.3
    >> On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 8:14 PM, Amit Choudhary
    >> <
    <>> wrote:
    >>> On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 2:51 PM, Andrew Brown
    < <>> wrote:
    >>>> Hi Amit
    >>>> I understand where you are coming from, and the good news is,
    in your
    >>>> favour, that MS in both it's O/S and office suite are losing
    market share
    >>>> in a big way. Here's an article from Ubuntu founder and my
    >>>> Mark Shuttelworth on his take on MS and Ubuntu. I like his
    statement that
    >>>> the no.1 bug in Linux has now been
    >  fixed/closed, in that MS no longer
    >>>> dominates majority market share.
    >>> But the numbers don't lie. I checked MS revenues and profits on
    >>> and it doesn't look like MS is losing market
    share. MS
    >>> losing share might be an illusion.
    >> Period Ending           Jun 30, 2012
    >> Jun 30, 2011      Jun 30, 2010
    >> Net Income Applicable To Common Shares $16,978,000      $23,150,000
    >>        $18,760,000  (All numbers in thousands)
    >> Regards,
    >> Amit
    >> --
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