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At work we still have to use Windows XP 32bit. Slowly we're getting to Windows 7 but for now I'm stuck with Windows XP.

My problem is that Windows XP uses only 2 maybe 2.1GB of ram from my physical 3GB. As soon as I hit 2 GB usage, Windows XP starts to swap programs to disk just to stay at 2 GB of physical RAM usage. Can I somehow modify this behaviour?

I do have a 6 GB page file.

This is happening to me on a Lenovo Thinkpad T400, so I guess it cancels the possibility of a weird hardware configuration.

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you really cannot, the closest thing provided is the boot switches, trying to play with PAE and /3GB switch. PAE has to be set in the MB Bios too, and its use was discontinued in SP3 even though that kernal can be used anyways. the 3G switch only worked with limited MS programs. For me it was a fruitless waste of time and effort. It was better to find ways to reduce the working sizes, optomise the paging location and speed (think SSD), or to finnaly upgrade to 64bit. – Psycogeek Nov 10 '11 at 21:38
There is one last trick I am using, that is not known at all. It is not for paging file but for any program that will make its own "scratch disk" or temp location. You can set Extended memory in the bios, then use the PAE kernal, then use Datarams Ramdisk (free for the first 4g) this ramdisk is capable of using the memory beyond the 32Bit OS memory :-) So effectivly I am using 7.1G of Ram in a 32bit system. – Psycogeek Nov 10 '11 at 22:03
I thought that 32bit OS can use 3.1GB memory, and that the PAE switch needs to be used when i would have more than 3GB of ram. And even microsoft states that windows xp can use 4GB of physical ram:… – Gabriel Nov 11 '11 at 7:29
oh and in taskmanager i can see 3gb of ram, it's just windows doesn't go over 2gb – Gabriel Nov 11 '11 at 7:35
yes, that is all correct. the 3.?? plus the ammount used for the video ram allocation or something totalling 4G max ever. the PAE just uses the extended memory addressing, but doesnt change the fact that the OS is 32 bit. – Psycogeek Nov 11 '11 at 7:35
up vote 0 down vote accepted

XP will Page out programs that are minimised, that is one thing that has never made much sence. I actually just flip through windows as opposed to minimising because of that.

XP has 2 different settings for Cache Right click on "my Computer" and get into System Properties, Advanced tab, Performace button , Advanced tab, Memory Usage. make sure this is set to Programs not System Cache. Still doesnt matter because the system is still going to make use of some cache like it or not. Unconfirmed is the 3 settings seen in my registry for cache? I could not get anyone else to notice/confirm that it never switched back to the original Default number that was there after switched, or if it mattered .

Bring up the Task manager in the Performace tab ,Look at that "commit charge" stuff, it is supposed to clear up our understanding of what is going on , it never does , but then I dont understand it :-)

The "Page File Usage History" in task manager there does not determine the ammount of usable stuff tossed on disk already, only the virtual allocations. same link

The bigger your paging is , the bigger the virtual allocations CAN be made, I am NOT saying to kill it or way undersize it for your needs, but overdoing it encourages them :-) MS themselves refers us to here. (link dead) where explained in human terms was this tidbit.

A common recommendation is to make the page file 1.5 times the size of the installed RAM. This recommendation makes sense only for computers with small amounts of RAM (256 MB or less). For example, there is usually not much point in allocating a page file that is 96 GB if the computer has 64 GB of RAM. The objective in such RAM rich systems is to avoid using the pagefile at all by providing sufficient RAM that all virtual memory can be in RAM all the time. If the virtual memory in use exceeds the amount of installed RAM, performance will suffer and having a larger pagefile will not help this situation.

In short, if your not going to use THAT much memory, set the thing to a locked 512M. Many experts chiming in on paging with Enough memory on XP, have indicated that ammount works just fine. If you plan on opening some huge database or need this excessive allocations then plan accordingly.

There are other things, need more experts input.

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