The pagefile has two main uses:
a. to "help" in case of high RAM usage (more than available RAM)
b. to make a dump of memory in case of crash
Some programs however, as an example some Adobe ones, will *want* the presence of a pagefile in order to even start.
There are three theories on which everyone is arguing about since years:
1) the pagefile is better left alone and MS (actually the Windows OS) can manage it fine
2) the pagefile makes little sense if there is *enough* RAM but since it is needed by some program the best thing is to have one FIXED size (NOT system managed) as small as possible.
3) the pagefile makes no sense whatsoever if there is *enough* RAM
Since I don't use any program that actually wants a pagefile I have run Windows 2K and XP systems without a pagefile just fine, JFYI:
but it's not something that should be done at home.
Making a Dynamic pagefile makes anyway very little (please read as "no") sense.
If you believe that you need a full RAM dump on crash you need to set it's fixed size to at least the size of RAM the system has.
Please understand how all the people that can actually use the info in a several Gb RAM dump for troubleshooting can be counted on your fingers.
The good ol' rule of the thumb about 1.5 to 2.5x the amount of RAM makes no sense whatsoever (it was accurate enough when systems had 128, 256 or 512 Mb of RAM, but not nowadays with 3 or more GB of RAM).
Given that on the same modern machine that has *enough* RAM there is also *enough* space on hard disk, a FIXED size pagefile 500 Mb or 1 Gb in size is more than enough (unless you really-really want to save space on hard disk) but making one the size of the RAM wouldn't make any harm (if not taking up a few more Gb's), and as well using a "magic formula" like 1.5 x RAM will do the same, only taking even some more space on disk.
Still given that the machine has *enough* RAM, there will be NO difference whatsoever in performance with *any* of the settings, the pagefile will never be actually used if not in case of crash.
The advice to set it as fixed derives from the fact that in some cases of crash a dynamic pagefile will expand possibly overwriting some areas of the disk where some data needed for recovery resides (a very remote possibility, but still a possibility) and anyway it will take more time to crash (while you can't do anything about it).
JFYI, there are people that believe to be smart to put the pagefile on a RAMdisk (on systems with plenty of RAM), something that, in the words of Mark Russinovich, is ridiculous:
The new rule of the thumb is "try the system, if you never hit the max amount of RAM you have you are good to go, if you consistently go over it, add more RAM, settings of the pagefile make not any difference in real life if there is *enough* RAM".
Edited by jaclaz, 22 June 2015 - 12:07 AM.