I cant find any documentation or articles online online for this...

how does Windows handle page files on multiple hard drives? Does windows treat them as a concatenation, writing to one till its full then moving to the next? Or does it treat them like a stripe, writing to each one incrementally? Does it write to the first one free? Or perhaps some other method?

  • 2
    Very good question. My guess is Microsoft treats them as two separate page files and uses the drive that isn't in use. There is no way Microsoft would risk splitting whole pages among the drives. – surfasb Jan 18 '12 at 3:37
  • Best speed would be to write to both, but not to split pages up, I think. – soandos Jan 18 '12 at 3:42
  • From what I can see when I search on Google (no authentic links though), it seems to treat them like a stripe, which makes sense if you think about it. Though it's all guesswork. – user3463 Jan 18 '12 at 4:55
  • there is a test on the web (I couldnt find it) thier benchmark for a system that was starved to need paging to disk, was tiny tiny bits faster , not worth it for me. social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/hu/winservergen/thread/… – Psycogeek Jan 18 '12 at 6:03

The most relevant information I could find was an article on optimal configuration of the page file under Windows XP.

The article states that Windows will use the page file located on the volume with the least activity. This means that there is no pattern defined.

So, it is arguable that the most likely way that Windows handles multiple page files is by maintaining a table of where each memory page is located. Where a page winds up depends largely on which volume was least active when it got paged out.

  • interesting article. However does this still hold true? – Keltari Jan 18 '12 at 14:46
  • There's no guarantee that this theory holds true at all, even for XP. It is based entirely on supposition. – Andrew Lambert Jan 18 '12 at 17:40
  • It's doubtful they've changed their handling of multiple page files. I'd bet it still holds true. The memory manager isn't exactly something you make wholesale changes to every version. – surfasb Jan 18 '12 at 20:36
  • @surfasb True, but as I said this is only speculation to begin with. – Andrew Lambert Jan 18 '12 at 21:33
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    This isn't supposition. It's straight out of Windows Internals. The "table of where each memory page is located" is simply the page tables. – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 27 '14 at 22:22

In Windows 8.1 for me it totally ignores the second drive and only swap onto the first one.

Not really useful. That's why I got here since I was googling on it.

  • How are you measuring this? I'm not doubting you, just wondering what tool you're using. Perfmon is one way to do it (Pagefile object, % usage counter). – Jamie Hanrahan Aug 30 '14 at 19:42

Concerning Windows 7 x64 and Windows 10 x64 splitting the pagefile system does nothing as in a raid0 like condition. It is first grabbed, first served by the least active drive. The rule for Windows x64 is a pagefile 1.5 times the size. I am operating a machine that has 64 gigs and I don't even need a pagefile that size. Setting up a fast drive to handle all my windows temp files, ie cache files, and one single pagefile works great. The purpose of this drive is only for the use of windows and adobe temp services. I run applications on a powerful three drive raid0 and my os is on an SSD. There are people who believe that a pagefile is not necessary but these folks don't live in a powerfully creative world where powerful applications must have a pagefile such as the newer adobe cc 2017 tools and 3D CAD machines.

What is interesting Microsoft states a minimum 300 MB pagefile should be set up on the primary drive, your OS drive and the brunt on another drive. Adobe says that temp and pagefiles should be located other than an os drive or the application drive. They have been saying this since the beginning of time.

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