First post, by Jo22

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Hi everyone,

After reading these threads:

Do you *need* a swap file with Win98 & 384/512MB RAM?

Do you *need* a swap file with Win98 & 384/512MB RAM (...continued)?

..I couldn't help but had to wonder: Is that memory enough?

In Windows 3.1 days, the swap file was said to be about four times the size of the physical RAM, at least.


So for 4MB of RAM, a 16MB swap file was allocated (if HDD space allowed for it).
Or it was 12MB in practice, if the system RAM was subtracted.

Doesn't this mean that, say, a 256MB RAM/256MB Swap configuration is basically insufficient?

Other users,however, talk about 2.5x being a minimum swap file size for Windows 9x.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/195 … mory-swap-file/

Also, what happens if the swap file cannot grow?
On a real drive, Windows re-allocated the swap file, if it ran out of memory.
Unless it's a permanent swap file (that was a Windows 3.1x thing).

This allowed the virtual memory to be almost endless
(ok, with the end of address space being a limit, say 4GB on x86, without using segmentation).

On a tiny RAM drive, that's not possible, unfortunately.
Applications will run out-of-memory thus, which is exactly why we did let swapfile be enabled in first place.

Any ideas welcome.

Best regards,

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 1 of 2, by chinny22

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Few things to consider
- Back when these OS's were currant we were running lower spec PC's. At first we ran Win95 on 8MB ram, these days I don't have a single computer with less then 16MB (and thats just running Win3x)
- More memory is a cheap way to hide average CPU performance, We pushed another year out of our 486 by increasing ram

The other thing is these guides of ram should be double or however much more of your physical ram were written when they were our daily drivers left on hours at a time probably with a a number of programs running and browsers slowly eating up memory.
These days we mostly fire the PC up play a single game for maybe a couple of hours and shut it down again. We just aren't as demanding on these old rigs as we were back then.

I used to disable the swap file on 9x rigs and they ran fine. Now I usually set it at 1 or 2 GB just to keep any program happy not that I ran into any compatibility issues and disk space is not really a concern anymore so why not?

Reply 2 of 2, by VDNKh

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A swap file is meant to be a substitute for RAM. If you have more RAM than you ever typically need, then a large swap file is redundant. I use a fixed 32 MB swap with 512 MB of RAM with:


just for compatibly with anything that might need to use it. Never had any issues with this setup. I suppose it could be smaller but I have plenty of space.