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snoopy55

Virtual Memory on USB

45 posts in this topic

Silly Question: is there any such thing as USB-RAM-Drive? you know , the volatile type...

I could use that as slower ram-drive for paging, temporary folder & browser cache, etc... without have to sacrifice the real memory for ram-drive.

Something like this:

http://techreport.com/review/16255/acard-ans-9010-serial-ata-ram-disk

but made slower :w00t: by attaching it to the USB (2.0) bus? :unsure:

Possibly with the USB 3.0 they will make something....

jaclaz

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Well I guess I need to either put my older system back together and somehow show USB card able to be used as VM or replace my main drive on my newer system, load it with XP 32-bit and see if it is just the 64-bit version of XP that is the problem.

I apologize that my replies have not met everyones requirements. I'm use to thanking the people who reply for their help when the question is decided one way or the other, not every time I post.

Ponch, I have never seen evidence of a HD or my USB card being used as VM. Aside from a couple of programs working a bit easier with the USB card as VM, nothing showed up on the card.

Jaclaz, either I missed the part where I said I didn't like your answer or I wrote something that was misunderstood.

So, why don't we just leave things as they are and if I manage to find out some form of an answer, be it positive or negative, I'll post it. I have my brothers unused 1Tb drive which I can install into my system and load with XP 32-bit and see if I can do a USB VM.

What I am attempting may be silly and unneeded, but I believe that a lot of things people do with their computer systems are silly and unneeded. But I leave them to what they wish to do.

Now, just in this post I have most likely said things that are going to upset someone, so I will say right here, "I'm sorry for what I said.".

I'll be back with my results.

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What I am attempting may be silly and unneeded, but I believe that a lot of things people do with their computer systems are silly and unneeded. But I leave them to what they wish to do.

Mind you the good thing about freedom :thumbup is actually that of being free to do things that may seem silly and unneeded, as a matter of fact :):

Life is "trying things to see if they work".

But life is also a comedy, you have to choose roles :w00t:.

If you want to play ol' time expert like in

(and I used to be able to program in 8 different machine languages...........)

it's allright, but then you cannot seriously ignore how a pagefile should be on the faster (after RAM) storage subsystem you have available and that any "solid state" media has a "finite " amount of "write cycles" before it won't be working anymore.

Or you can play n00b (which is also OK), but then you should keep a "lower profile", follow this tutorial (or a similar one of this kind):

http://www.ehow.com/how_5887452_move-file-sd-card.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20100430151734/http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,1679935,00.asp

ignore any suggestions/info given on more "reliable" sources, like:

http://forum.ultrabooknews.com/showthread.php?35638-WinXP-page-file-moved-to-SD-card

http://serverfault.com/questions/46903/use-an-sd-card-for-your-page-file-windows-7

http://www.pocketables.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3416

http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardware-components-aftermarket-upgrades/371619-virtual-page-memory-sd-card.html

http://forums.xsreviews.co.uk/showthread.php?tid=5792

or, better, the already given:

http://reboot.pro/9461/

and be happy thinking that you can make a pagefile on a USB SD card without using a dedicated filter driver.

(BTW putting a pagefile on a SD card may happen on particular hardware, but it is very, very UNlikely and simply not possible if the connection to the card reader is USB)

JFYI, here is an illustrative article summing up the three filter drivers that are commonly used:

http://agnipulse.com/2012/03/filter-drivers-removable-media-fixed-disk-windows/

jaclaz

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First, let's put this thing of 'if you can do this you should be able to do this' to rest. You think maybe 5 strokes, epilepsy and a portion of my brain being surgically removed to keep me alive may have messed up my ability to understand what I tend to call 'foreign languages'?

Now, to settle a couple of more things. Yes, a USB card can be set up to be used as VM. At least on XP 32-bit.

post-363223-0-39804100-1352747596_thumb.

That is a Kingston DataTraveler DTI / 4GB on my wifes system for this shot. I have used it on my system for several years.

Here is a Hitachi 61.4 GB hard drive attached to my present system, XP x64.

post-363223-0-19270400-1352747885_thumb.

And the VM settings ( the HD is named 'Old IDE' ).

post-363223-0-74756900-1352747942_thumb.

But, here is where I attempted to set up the Kingston as the VM.

post-363223-0-11217600-1352748108_thumb.

As noted before, it just does not show up.

Now, back to the last post........ I never said I was ignoring the fact that a hard drive is faster than the solid state USB card. I'm well aware of which is faster. I'm also aware that a hard drive has a limited life span, I've lost a few, including over 5000 photos of railroad equipment. Many present drives only have a 1 years warranty, which is why I just purchased and installed 2 1TB drives and a RAID controller card to handle them. One dies, I still have my work on the other.

And I'm not a NOOB, I've been building and working with computers since the early 80's. Just because I have never had a previous need to dig into the firmware of them only makes me uneducated with the firmware, not the whole thing. A person can build many systems, put a 20-year-old company on computer using a network ( a 2 wire network), rewrite programs, create maps for games, decipher and enlarge a game ( http://www.sidmeiersrailroads.net/portal.php ), and much more, without knowing what a 'pagefile' is and never having played in the Windows Registry.

I'll look over and READ the sites you listed. I'll do my best to shut down any present personal problems so I can understand them better.

You have my thanks for the time you spent doing the research. Minus the attacks you seem to enjoy throwing at me. (do you tend to attack all people that stand lower on the ladder than you?)

Now, a bit of my flipping thru the internet.

http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/qa-the-lifespan-of-a-flash-drive/ ( Quote: With proper care, a flash drive could last years. )

http://www.worldstart.com/flash-drive-lifespan/ ( Quote: some studies estimate that recent flash drives can tolerate millions of flashes before they wear out. ( note: newer hard drives have only a 1 year warranty ) )

A 16GB SEgoN Mini-Ding list for $13.99 and a 32Gb for $18.99. Much less than the replacement cost of a hard drive. ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0U90BU5037 )

And then there are these: http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=flash+drive+as+virtual+memory&oq=flash+drive+as+virtual+memory&gs_l=serp.3..0l2j0i5j0i5i30.491.6841.1.7016.17.9.0.8.8.0.192.1306.0j10.10.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.MmX6nbWJq2Y&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=a0e192af6a1c269e&bpcl=38093640&biw=1567&bih=769

No, I haven't read them......yet, but I plan to. I'm going to take a day off from rebuilding my house. But first I'll read the sites you posted.

Edited by snoopy55
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Ponch, I have never seen evidence of a HD or my USB card being used as VM. Aside from a couple of programs working a bit easier with the USB card as VM, nothing showed up on the card.

Is that not an evidence that it does not work ? If nothing shows up on the card, it's simply not used. :huh:

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Now, to settle a couple of more things. Yes, a USB card can be set up to be used as VM. At least on XP 32-bit.

Good, if you say so I am happy for you. :)

Just as a check (that by any remote chance what the Virtual Memory control panel does not actually represents fully what is happening):

Can you open that "USB card" in explorer and see if there is in its root (possibly hidden/system) a file named "pagefile.sys"?

Which size is it?

Can you resize the size of the pagefile (a few megabytes will do) in the Virtual Memory panel (and reboot) then check again the size of "pagefile.sys" on the "USB card"?

(please check as well the Hitachi 61.4 or 'Old IDE' for the same file in root and do the same test resizing it)

As I see it, if a pagefile.sys exists on the volume and it can be re-sized through the Virtual Memory control panel, a pagefile exists, otherwise it could mean that what you see in the Virtual Memory control panel might be deceiving)

If you happen to have one of those IDE to USB cnverters/enclosures, can you try placing the pagefile on the same Hitachi HD, this time connected through USB?

jaclaz

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Ponch, I have never seen evidence of a HD or my USB card being used as VM. Aside from a couple of programs working a bit easier with the USB card as VM, nothing showed up on the card.

Is that not an evidence that it does not work ? If nothing shows up on the card, it's simply not used. :huh:

OK, I'll accept that as soon as someone shows me something on their hard drive that shows it is being used by the computer as VM. And I do not mean the settings screen.

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After a bit of experimenting I found some interesting facts.

To view the Pagefile.sys file along with checking "Show hidden files and folders" you must also uncheck "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" (you might have clarified this little much needed step Jaclaz )

XP 32-bit will give you the ability to use a USB card as VM, BUT that is not where is places the pagefile.sys. It uses your C: drive. I set the VM to 2048 and the pagefile.sys appeared on the C: drive as 2048K. When I changed the size in the VM window, the size of the pagefile.sys in drive C: also change to match it.

While I could not get XP x64 to use a USB card, it did allow me to use the external USB HD. But again, it placed the pagefile.sys on the C: drive and any changes to the size on the external was matched on the C: drive. Leave it to Microsoft.

One other interesting item.....if you do not set any VM on any drive, XP and XP x64 will put a pagefile on your C: drive, like it or not.

Ponch, it looks like Jaclaz has answered your question.

And Jaclaz, that drive was connected externally thru the USB

post-363223-0-25544300-1352772779_thumb.

So, now that I have discovered the real way that XP and XP x64 do VM on USB devices, I guess my question has been answered.

Now, off to read those websites.............

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Good :), so now everything is hopefully clear :yes: ,.not very different from what initially stated:

@snoopy55

The ability to put a pagefile on a USB stick is determined by a number of things (ways the OS "sees" the device).

What I find very strange (besides what you want to achieve) is what you report. :w00t:

A "normal" MS NT based OS won't allow having a pagefile on an "external" disk, let alone a "removable" one.

To allow this normally a filter driver is used ....

actually exactly as it was :whistle: .

JFYI, the working is more or less like this:

  • the Virtual Memory Control Panel is nothing but a nice GUI interface to a few keys in the Registry.
  • when you change settings in that, the corresponding keys in the Registry are actually changed.
  • at reboot *something else* reads those keys and does what is written on them, BUT IF what is written on them makes no sense (like making a pagefile on an "external" device), the *something* tries to do it's best, like interpreting that the user wants a pagefile of a given size and actually makes one, only it makes it on the first device it sees as fit.
  • on the other hand the *something* does not notify anyone about the interptretation it put into practice, leaving the related Registry keys "as they are", thus if you re-access the Virtual Memory control panel you see the same settings you input earlier

Seemingly the 64 bit version is a bit smarter and doesn't list the external drives in the Virtual Memory control panel, thus preventing this form of miscommunication between the System and the user.

The good news :thumbup are that the "Kingston DataTraveler DTI / 4GB" that you used for the last several years has not suffered ANY wear :w00t: due to the paging file rewrites and will probably last forever in that role ;).

Slightly OT, but JFYI:

jaclaz

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XP 32-bit will give you the ability to use a USB card as VM, BUT that is not where is places the pagefile.sys. It uses your C: drive.

You might want to rephrase that (for Googlers) as "XP 32-bit will not give you the ability to use a USB card as VM BUT leaves you with the deceiving impression that you can". And so your numerous statements (starting from the 1st post) that "it worked great!" are erroneous but your insistance and the impression we had that the fact you modify these settings indicates that you knew what effect it had (move bits of the pagefile.sys to an other volume) dragged this thread to a second page. :rolleyes:

Edited by Ponch
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Ponch - you evidently missed the first line of that post...... "After a bit of experimenting I found some interesting facts.". If I had known all of this in the first place I would never have bothered even building a cable to create a internal USB socket to plug the USB card into.

Jaclaz - to bad you didn't make that statement and make it clear for us "n00b" fools", or should I phrase that 'THIS "n00b" fool', a long time ago...... no, now that I think of it, you would have had to climb down your ladder to floor level, maybe even have to go into the basement, to answer it that way.

To both of you - My sincerest apologies for wasting your time with a question that was really uncalled for on a forum like this that only calls to upper level, excuse me, the highest level, computer experts.

(i can't wait to see the replies to this one....... or should i bother...........)

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Well, I thought that my post #9, which I will re-quote for clarity:

@snoopy55

The ability to put a pagefile on a USB stick is determined by a number of things (ways the OS "sees" the device).

What I find very strange (besides what you want to achieve) is what you report. :w00t:

A "normal" MS NT based OS won't allow having a pagefile on an "external" disk, let alone a "removable" one.

To allow this normally a filter driver is used, see here for DiskMod:

http://reboot.pro/9461/

http://reboot.pro/9461/#entry86619/

which comes also in a 64 bit version, though tested only on later systems (Vista :ph34r: and 7) AFAICR.

jaclaz

was as plain as possible both in the terms used and in the concepts, and I don't see it as coming from any presumed "upper level" or "ladder", it represents a set of plain statements, coming from someone that not only - as it has later become evident - found those same facts before you did, but additionally provided relevant links/info specifically targeted to the matter leading to a possible solution.

It is not like I posted (and I actually could have posted this :whistle: , though I did NOT :angel):

You dumb n00b! :realmad: It's not possible to have a pagefile on a USB stick!

Where the heck did you learn that absurd notion? :w00t:

nor I did post (and again I could have done that) post a link to the known chocolate-covered banana issue:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com./jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/put-down-the-chocolate-covered-banana.html

I mantain that what was posted was:

  1. accurate
  2. written in plain enough English
  3. providing you a correct answer to the question you asked

As I see it the actual issue is/was simply that you were (BTW in perfect good faith :yes: ) so positively confident in your experience (both in the specific matter and in your general experience as machine language programmer or whatever) that you didn't contemplate in the least the possibility that your initial statement was the effect of your perceptions being deceived by the Virtual Memory control panel and more generally by the XP OS behaviour.

In another place, in another time, this was actually pre-coded in "Common Sense Advice", JFYI, point #f4.:

http://reboot.pro/82/

You may also want to notice how I never stated a particular experience in anything, nor a particular "superior" state (possibly the board "status" of Developer and the 10,000+ posts speak by themselves to this regard) whilst you stated:

....

and I used to be able to program in 8 different machine languages...........

And I'm not a NOOB, I've been building and working with computers since the early 80's.

so, if someone has attempted to, directly or indirectly, provide "credentials" to support his statements, and more loosely "self position" himself at a given level, that has not been me.

To be fair, you did post:

Just because I have never had a previous need to dig into the firmware of them only makes me uneducated with the firmware, not the whole thing. A person can build many systems, put a 20-year-old company on computer using a network ( a 2 wire network), rewrite programs, create maps for games, decipher and enlarge a game ( http://www.sidmeiersrailroads.net/portal.php ), and much more, without knowing what a 'pagefile' is and never having played in the Windows Registry.

which is exactly what has been demonstrated by the evolution of this thread, notwithstanding your good experience on other (albeit similarly technically oriented) fields/topics, you knew nothing about pagefiles and Virtual Memory and were tricked by the behaviour of the OS.

But now everything is (hopefully) clear and "cool", if any feathers were ruffled, they have been smoothed down again, and outside (at least here) though cold, the sun in shining....

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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No, your post did not explain anything. You simply said it could not happen. The view on my system showed that it was happening. Now, if you had stated that the OS was showing it on the USB but in actuality it was using the C: drive and lying to you, I would have said "Thanks, that clears up everything!!" and gone on my merry way. But you seemed to have expected me to just accept what you had to say with no full explanation. Full explanations can come in very handy for those of us who chose not to dig into the full depths of MS and how it works.

The first 5 replies did not try to answer my question, they simply said the drive may not meet the required specs, doing so would be a big error, RAM is a way to do it, something about a small partition, and sacrificing a USB device.

Your reply then states that "The ability to put a pagefile on a USB stick is determined by a number of things (ways the OS "sees" the device)." which appears to be a partial explanation, then the strangeness of what I'm wanting to do and then that the OS won't allow me to do what I had done (in appearance on my system)

I then get attacked for my silly choice of words.

And it tends to go on and on.

Then, when I figure out where the OS is actually storing the pagefile.sys that it shows on the VM screen it is putting on the USB card, I get a "DUUUUHHHHHH, that's what I've been telling you all along"

I'm the administrator of a forum myself, and I have learned from experience what I stated years ago: (referring to map making) Sometimes, people like you and I tend to forget what we had to go thru when we first did these . "It is so simple that it just couldn't have been hard and what is this guys problem that he can't seem to just whip those maps out?"

Do not expect everyone to know and understand everything you do. Explain yourself. To say "What you are doing cannot be done, believe me" don't get it. Why can it not be done, and what is really happening would simplify things greatly. Sort of what a n00b like me did after I took the time to look into exactly what my system was doing as far as placement of the pagefile.sys

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...and finally (to attempt to polish off this "who's better than who" nonsense...

jaclaz and I have also had a "go" before and it actually means... NOTHING!!! We have the highest respect for each other. BTW, I know more MAINFRAME languages than you, but it does NOT mean I may know more HARDWARE than you, nor does it mean I am BETTER at said languages than you. There is something called SHARING INFO - be aware that SOME of it may be erroneous (as you found out) on either end.

In view of that, just let it go and pay more attention to the information and the phrasing (don't be touchy)...

P.S. VM is "kind of" a misnomer in general context - you mean it as "Virtual Memory", I use it as "Virtual Machine". I've always referenced it as Paging File, since this term is also applicable to Mainframes (ye olde IBM monsters). Also, one may have (erroneously) "assumed" since you're not a "n00b' that you would have known about the Explorer settings... ;)

Welcome to our world. :w00t:

edit - hi-lited a key point...

edit2 - clarification - LOGICALLY, the Page File can't "exist" on a Device that won't exist until defined (USB drivers loaded)... true? Hence the "filters"...

Edited by submix8c
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Sort of what a n00b like me did after I took the time to look into exactly what my system was doing as far as placement of the pagefile.sys

... possibly because jaclaz hinted the procedure to do this kind of tests.... :whistle:

To hopefully close this issue, once and for all, my post was not meant to be an "everything you ever wanted to know about pagefile and Virtual Memory and you never dared to ask" kind of post/tutorial/guide, it was a simple, plain answer to the question you asked, meant as a three step procedure:

  1. hinting the possibility that your initial beliefs were not entirely correct:
    What I find very strange (besides what you want to achieve) is what you report.
  2. stating the actual facts:
    The ability to put a pagefile on a USB stick is determined by a number of things (ways the OS "sees" the device).
    ....
    A "normal" MS NT based OS won't allow having a pagefile on an "external" disk, let alone a "removable" one.
  3. providing a possible solution or anyway iinformation corroborating the previously exposed facts:
    To allow this normally a filter driver is used, see here for DiskMod:
    http://reboot.pro/9461/
    http://reboot.pro/9461/#entry86619/
    which comes also in a 64 bit version, though tested only on later systems (Vista and 7) AFAICR.

Now, re-reading the post for the nth time, following your critics on it, I am actually patting myself on the shoulder for having been able to sum up so well in a few lines all the essential points.

Now let's play "what if" ....

  • Could I have been more verbose and explicit? Yes :yes:.
  • Am I actually obliged by signed agreement to be more verbose and explicit when attempting to help people for free on the forum? No. :no:
  • Could you have been more "open" to suggestions (since you came here asking for them)? Yes :yes: .
  • Could you have been more convinced (as said I believe in perfect good faith) of your experience with Virtual Memory? No. :no:
  • Was such experience with Virtual Memory on 32 bit XP representing actual facts? No. :no:

Now, that is anyway the past, the actual issue has been cleared, let's get over it, OK?

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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