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Configuring Virtual Memory Settings

Virtual memory is fixed disk space that is reserved for the temporary storage of items that can no longer be held in the server’s RAM. In the Windows Server 2008 environment, the virtual memory is referred to as the paging file (for a look at monitoring page file use, go to Hour 24.

Microsoft recommends that the virtual memory or paging file be equivalent to 1.5 times the RAM installed on the server (however, Windows Server 2008 sets the pagefule to System Manage Size, which could be less than the recommended size, particularly on a server with over 2GB of RAM). If you use programs that use large amounts of memory, you can increase the paging file size beyond the recommendation.

To view virtual memory settings (and other advanced settings in the System Properties dialog box), follow these steps:

1. In the Control Panel, click the System and Maintenance link.

2. In the System and Maintenance window, click the System link. The System window opens.

3. Click the Advanced System Settings task (in the Task pane on the left side of the window) to open the System Properties dialog box; select the Advanced tab (see Figure 3.10).

Figure 3.10. The Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box.

4. The Advanced tab provides access to memory settings, user profiles, and startup and recovery settings. To access virtual memory settings, click Settings in the Performance box of the Advanced tab.

5. The Performance Options dialog box appears. Click the Advanced tab.

6. In the virtual memory box on the Advanced tab, click the Change button. The Virtual Memory dialog box appears (see Figure 3.11).

Figure 3.11. The Virtual Memory dialog box.

7. By default, the virtual memory or page file size is managed automatically. You can clear the Automatically Manage Paging File Size for All Drives check box and then specify a custom size by providing an initial size and a maximum size. After making your changes (or leaving everything as it was), click the OK button. You can close the other open dialog boxes by clicking OK on each.

In terms of optimizing the page file size and other performance settings, it probably makes sense to run your server with the default performance settings, including the virtual memory size. You can then use the Reliability and Performance tools in the Server Manager to track the server performance. You can then fine-tune settings as needed.

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