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swap space vs virtual memory?

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by tinman4130, Apr 7, 2004.

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  1. tinman4130

    tinman4130 Thread Starter

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    I hope this is in the right forum....

    Can someone please explain ,in terms a newbie can understand, the difference between swap space and virtual memory?

    Thanks...
     
  2. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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  3. LONGHAIR

    LONGHAIR

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    Same thing, it may also be refered to as "Swap File".
     
  4. tinman4130

    tinman4130 Thread Starter

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  5. tinman4130

    tinman4130 Thread Starter

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  6. WhitPhil

    WhitPhil Gone but never forgotten Trusted Advisor

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    In reality, that isn't true although almost every web site and forum use the words interchangeably.

    Simplistically, Virtual memory is the concept that allows Windows to run a program, and allow that program to believe that it has access to 4GBs of memory (2 each of ram and swap). All Windows programs run from this virtual model even if the swapfile is not required.
    (see etaf's link above)

    The Swap File itself, is what allows this concept to actually be implemented.
     
  7. tinman4130

    tinman4130 Thread Starter

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    Thanks WhitPhil-- I thought I now understood the concept, so I went into the aida32 utility to use my newfound knowledge and got confused again.
    I've enclosed part of a report from the utility. Can anyone explain what the numbers mean?
    Physical memory:
    Total 255 MB
    Used 254 MB
    Free 0 MB
    Utilization 100%


    Swap space:
    Total 1792 MB
    Used 190 MB
    Free 1602 MB
    Utilization 11 %

    Virtual memory:
    Total 2047 MB
    Used 444 MB
    Free 1603 MB
    Utilization 22 %

    If the Virtual memory is the area set aside on the hard disk for page swapping, does the 100% utilization of the 255 MB of RAM mean that the Physical memory is "overfull" by the amount of "Used" Virtual memory?
    And why is the Swap space larger than the Physical memory which,as I understand it, it was meant to serve?
    Obviously, I'm missing something here. Is there anyone willing to try to point me in the right direction?
    Thanks.
     
  8. brushmaster1

    brushmaster1

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    The "virtual memory" that Aida refers to is actually TOTAL memory (physical RAM + virtual memory). Thus: 1792 MB swap file + 255 MB Ram = 2047 MB.

    Onca all your physical RAM is in use, Windows then begins to utilize the swap file. In this case, all your RAM is in use, plus another 190MB in your swap file.

    The swap file is larger than the physicaal RAM for a very simple reason; it gives Windows much more space in which to load programs and data. Take a hypothetical case... Windows 95 running on only 8 MB of RAM (this was actually the case when I got my first Win 95 system). With only 8 MB RAM, Windows can barely load...without virtual memory, you would be able to run NO programs (in my case it was so extreme that merely moving the mouse would cause the hard drive light to come on!) By using the swap file, Windows is able to load and run programs that simply won't fit into your physical RAM. On the machine I'm using as an illustration, I actually did a lot of graphics work (a very RAM-intensive operation)...it was slow, but it got the job done (needless to say, I added more RAM as soon as possible).
     
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