Stuff to pimp your Windows Home Server

Hacking Windows Home Server is a blog dedicated to Microsoft's WHS technology. Brought to you by Donavon West, Microsoft MVP and author of LiveGadgets.net and donavon.com I'll also discuss the Hewlett-Packard HP MediaSmart Server EX470, EX475, EX485, EX487, the T7-HSA Tranquil Harmony Home Server and any other new Home Server hardware platforms that arise. You can also call this hacking or hackz. In any case I will show you some cool things to make your Microsoft Windows Home Server even sweeter.

A blog devoted to getting the most out of your
Windows Home Server by Microsoft MVP Donavon West.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Setting Virtual Memory after a RAM Upgrade

Once you have modified your EX470 with 2GB on RAM (from the default 512 MB), you may want to change the system virtual memory configuration options. The default is set to a minimum 720MB and a maximum of 1440 MB.

After reading on"the Internets", the consensus seems to be an initial amount of 1.5 times the physical memory with a maximum amount of 3 times. If your system has 2 GB (i.e. 2048 MB) use the values of 3072 MB and 6144 MB respectively.

Here's how:

  1. Remote desktop into your WHS machine (follow steps 2-4 here if you need help).
  2. Click Start then right-click on My Computer and click Properties.
  3. On the Advanced tab in the Performance section, click on the Settings button.
  4. Click the Advanced tab (yes, another Advanced tab) and under the Virtual memory section, click on the Change button.
  5. We'll want to delete the current page file, so select the No paging file radio button and click Set. Ignore any warning that may pop up.
  6. Then select the Custom size radio button and use 3072 for Initial size (MB) and 6144 for Maximum size (MB) and click Set again. image

That's it. Your page file will be set to the recommended values for a computer with 2 GB of memory

Fin. Why not comment on what you've just read or even Digg It!

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25 comments:

Steve Howard said...

I happily self-configure virtual memory for my PC and laptops, but why would we care to do this to a server,rather than leaving the server to do the job itself?

Donavon West said...

This is only an issue if you upgrade the RAM in your HP EX470/EX475. HP correctly set the virtual RAM settings for a system with 512 MB. When you change the RAM to 2GB then settings are no longer valid and we need to step in and correct them. You could certinly change the setting to "System managed size" if you wish.

Francisco said...

I upgraded my EX470 to 2 GB and preferred to turn off the virtual memory. I'm working this way for a week and I think the server is most responsive.

Donavon West said...

@Francisco - If you're running nothing else but the standard system stuff then your way is probably better. Thx for your comment.

Dave said...

I'd advise keeping the minimum and maximum size for each drive's pagefile the same, as Windows (technically amazing) growth of the pagefile during a paging operation can fail in normal operation if a conflicting operation is pending on that filesystem. This is because the VM pager doesn't have the luxury of waiting for the conflicting operation to complete before it completes the pagefile-growing operation.

In simple terms, you can see "out of virtual memory" or whatever popups before the maximum pagefile size is hit, due to by-design failure to grow the pagefile on demand. Moreover, even successful pagefile growth leads to hideous pagefile fragmentation. To avoid both issues, commit the full size (6Gb in your example) as the minimum and maximum pagefile size.

Francisco said...

Thank you, Dave. I've realized that when it is backing up a large amout of data, the page file (even if it is set to zero) starts to grow fast and the backup operation ends with an error. I created the page file agains, with 02 Gb, but I'll take your advice and change its size to 06 GB.
Francisco Lima

MH said...

First of all, great article & website..
Second, you are not correct when it comes to the memory sizing. Due to the way windows handles page files, you will run into a very fragmented page file leaving you with a "very" slow server over time. Ideally setting the size manually to the same size for max and min is the best practice across the industry (for windows systems). Yes, there is a chance of running out of PageFile space, but it is not likely on a 2GB server. I would recommend 1.5*2GB or 3GB min and max page file for your article. Remember that PageFile is used to “offload/simulate” physical RAM on a temporary basis. Once the task that requires extra memory finishes, system would typically re-use that space for another task, or clear it (not often).
Disabling page file might seem like a good idea with lots of memory, however Microsoft with its entire glory requires page file for some services/programs to function correctly. In short, turning page file off may make the server appear to function correctly and perhaps faster at the beginning, but it will leave you with a server more prone to crashes(not so good for a server holding your family pictures, photos, backups etc). I could write entire article on this subject alone.. but I don’t want to bore all of you to death ;-)

Pants said...

After reading some of the comments, I was going to reply about the bad advice, however, MH nailed it.

Turning off the page file is a bad idea, if you really want a to save disk space a small fixed sized page file is the way to go. How small is small, this depends on the maximum commit size you see through normal usage, but if you don't know what that means go with MH's suggestions.

Francisco said...

I didn't give any advice, bad or good, to anyone. I only said that I had turned off the virtual memory and that the server was more responsive. Later on, I got some problems with the backup routine, because of the absence of virtual memory, and I reported that I turned it on again.

John said...

Is it possible and or optimal to place the page file on a USB stick. As in the memory boost option on Vista.

Marcust99 said...

Thanks for the great How To. Installing the new RAM was a snap. Performance has increased dramatically (512 is way too low for what's essentially a WIN2K3 SP2 OS). I personally set my pagefile to min 2048 and max 2048, the exact amount of Physical RAM (even though Windows is reporting 2063) installed. I echo what MH said...

Jack F. said...

This worked very easily. I was surprised at how easy it was to take it apart. I had thought about waiting to do both the RAM and the processor at the same time, but it was so simple, I can easily upgrade the processor at a later date. By the way, what are the major advantages of upgrading the processor? Is it work $70 (including tax and shipping!)?

Blibbersnatcher said...

Do you leave the "D Data" drive settings alone? I noticed it presently is set to No Paging File. I'm not supposed to mirror the C settings and change that also to 3072mb, am I?

Confused,

Robb

Jack F. said...

There only needs to be one paging file. It is a system file that helps speed things up for memory-intensive tasks. The mirroring is for data files as a means to create a dual backup. There is no need to back up a paging file and I don't think that there would be a speed advantage to having two page files. On a desktop computer you might do something like that to speed up your processing, but I don't think that it is necessary on a server.

Allen said...

I just did the memory install using your instructions and photos. Took 18 minutes from grabbing the box to putting it back in service. I did not have any 'tight screws' problems and no motherboard wiggling was needed. Totally cookbook, no problems at all. Set Virtual Memory to 3022 min and max. Home Server console login is MUCH faster and all other functions are noticeably faster as well. What was HP thinking with 512MB? I had 480MB available and always had 520 or 580MB required, so it was always page faulting to virtual memory on disk... Not anymore thanks to you!

idg said...

Thanks man. This helps and is in fact compulsory. Yes I got exited just like everybody else that Microsoft have done something good. Think again. You don't teach old dogs new tricks. This whole setup is a total CRAP. If you (yes YOU) read this remember that is good learning from your own experience but is a lot CHEAPER to learn fro other people's mistakes. This whole setup is a DOG. Anything you do takes minutes. 1.8Ghz CPU 2Gb of RAM and the thing is just a DOG. Anything you do takes for ever. I keep asking is it coming back. You can have at least 2 bears in between any click that you click in the console. For me it worked for two days and than the console stopped to connect. MIcrosoft have released a tool for TROUBLESHOOTING the console connector. Troubleshooting? so they knew there would be problems with the connector? OK I downloaded the trouble shooter. It went for some 26 minutes, and came back with responses. Access this web page for answers. The web page has a link to download the troubleshooter that I just used.
Absolute crap.. Payed already some $1000 and I ended up with a beautiful, very fashionable piece of crap. With this money I could make a double power double anything PC to do the job.... BTW I am not a Linux aficionado but I think I start to understand why some people ARE.

MS you've done it again. You have correctly seen a good niche in the market and quickly fill it with CRAP.

Woodstock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

I just upgraded the RAM in my EX470 and would have done the proc at the same time, but the LE-1640 is no longer available and was wondering something. Why shouldn't I just throw in a faster multi-core processor (i.e. 3.2Ghz etc.)???? Can you update this with a new recommendation for recent additions to the WHS community?

Harry Sandhu said...

Hi
I just upgraded to 2Gb and changes the page file. After a reboot my server has gone into cyclic reboots. What should i be doing now to fix it. I have already done a complete system restore and now this issue. Is there an easier fix to this.

Jimmy said...

Upgrade was very easy, thanks for the instructions. Performance was definitely noticed! Now it has plenty of RAM. I don't hear the HD working so hard reading the paging file to keep up with me switching between applications.

Zack said...

just a comment on the C and D virtual memory settings someone mentioned. It probably isn't a good idea to have more than one page file, although if someone knows a reason or scenario where you would let me know. However, you might have a good reason to decide that you would rather have your page file on a different drive than your main OS files. Having your page file on a different drive or HD controller could speed up read and write access to it or to your other OS files by reducing the contention that you usually have by having everything on 1 drive. There may be reasons not to do this, so don't take it as advise but it might be something to reasearch if anyone is interested.

George said...

I upgraded the memory on my MSS with the (G.Skill 2GB) which was and the last step was to change my Virtual Memory page file size. I followed the instructions step by step and everything looks correct except where it displays what is currently allocated. Mine says 3072MB while the OP shows 2027MB.
Any thoughts on this?

isaac said...

A little late to the game. I have owned my EX475 for a few years now.. finally discovered the potential. Thanks for the instructions, worked perfectly.

Michael said...

Thanks for the instructions. Hardware upgrade went fine but I can't seem to get the paging file option. When I remote into the server I don't get a "my computer" I get a server console icon which starts up WHS Console. Is there an alternative path to get to the paging settings or is it handled automatically in the current version of WHS?

Thanks for the helpful site!

djiesoft said...

i feel not too big influence to rise the performance...

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