Positioning a windows swap partition

Hey all,
My question has to do with exact positioning of my swap partition for Windows Vista x64 (I still don't have it and I'm not sure if it's going to be Ultimate or Home Premium - depends on what I can afford with my expensive new gaming computer).

I'm getting a 1T HDD, so space is really not an issue - if it wouldn't be utterly foolish I'd even waste 100G on the swap lol. Of course I'm not going to do that.
I'll have 6G (3x2G) of RAM with the possible future-evolvement of up to 24G (not probable that I'll reach it anytime soon though). And so I'm thinking of setting a 12G swap partition, of which only 2 to 10G will be allowed to be used for the pagefile.sys at first. Why waste 2G? just in case I expand my RAM.

This HDD will be divided into three partitions:
- 50G for the Windows Vista x64 + Programs (not including games of course).
- 12G for the Swap partition.
- All the rest for Data (and games).

On a side note: Should I dedicate more space for the Windows & Programs? (if your answer is less rather than more then it's ok... I'll risk 50G ^_^).

Now my issue is not whether or not to use a swap partition; It's how to position each of these partitions?
Should the scheme be:

|----- & ----|-Swap-|-Data-|

Because Windows is very stubborn about being in the first Gig or so of the drive right? (at least it used to be)

Or should it be:


Because it's so told all over the internet on many forums that the swap works better (even if just slightly?) when it's the closest to the beginning of the drive as possible?

I've already received much help in these NeoSmart forums, by the way. Cheers on that :grinning:

I'll also have an older 320G HDD but I really rather not putting the swap of windows there, because it's going to be a full Ext3 Drive for Ubuntu Linux.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Windows doesn't have to be at the front of the disk since XP/NT.
Whatever's at the front of the disk will benefit from a slight access speed advantage, but if it's accessed by an OS on the same disk, there will be head contention as the disk has to seek between C:\ and the swap partition.
Windows sets maximum pagefile size to 3xRAM, but you can have more allocated. It doesn't normally get to use the higher end, and having unused space there will make the heads have to travel even further to get back to C:\.
It would be more efficient to put Windows swap at the front of your Linux HDD and Linux Swap at the front of the Windows HDD. That way there's no head contention when you run either OS, but I doubt that the human brain would even be able to detect the performance gains of going to so much trouble.
If you've got 6Gb (with more to come) and you're not multi-tasking several huge apps together, I doubt either system is doing much swapping anyway.
What I plan to multitask is at best a high-end game, explorer\firefox & a program like Photoshop (or in Ubuntu's case GIMP).
Then again this is the very top of my multitasking. But still, I have time 'till my computer arrives so I'm putting it to use trying to figure out the very best of ways to set up my drives.

So you're basically saying, that the plan of putting both swaps at the beginning of the HDDs is best?
even considering the empty space twards the end of the swap partition(s)?
Or did you say mean the very opposite? The empty space thing confused me a bit.

If it really is better - I'll put each swap on the oposite HDD as you suggested. If I understood your explenation - this will resolve the empty space issue, right?
Though it seems a bit strange to me (only because it brakes the idea of having one full-NTFS and one full-Ext3 HDD).

On second thought, rereading your post I realize something...
The swap will rarely be accessed, so the OS will benefit more from getting the boost at the beginning of the HDD... was that your point to begin with?
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The point really, is that the only person who's really going to see a performance benefit from an optimally placed swap on a separate HDD, is someone running something like XP on an old box with 128Mb RAM, where the system's going to be forced into regular swapping of memory because it's using all of the RAM all of the time.
With 6Gb, your system is not going to be doing much swapping, so I'd design the HDD partitioning with other considerations having higher priority, and pretty much leave swap to default the way the system installs it.
I have 6Gb too, and installed Ubuntu without any swap space (for some reason the install kept failing till I removed the attempt to include a swap partition). I intended to create a swap file later (you can do that in Linux too, just like Windows), but I haven't done yet, and 9.04 is running just fine without one.
I used to have my pagefile on the backup HDD since ME when I was running with the 512Mb max, and it stayed there through XP and Vista as my RAM increased to 2Gb, but I moved it back with the OS when I was cloning/shuffling partitions to reorganize my HDDs (and increased RAM to 6Gb), where it's been ever since without me noticing any difference.
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If you're going to be installing lots of games in your Vista partition, I would suggest having more than 50 GBs...:wink: The games these days are getting to be pretty big (10-16 GBs with some, if IIRC). If I were you, I would devote a large portion of your 1TB HDD (such as 100 GBs) to install games on, and/or all the rest of your programs. You could also make a separate partition for your user data if you want, so that way programs and data remain separate...


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I keep XP, Vista, XP apps, Vista apps, W7, Ubuntu and user data in 7 partitions (user data biggest and visible from all. (If I ever do more than experimental stuff with W7 or Linux, they'll get their own apps partitions too)
That enables Vista and W7 to be hidden and protected from XP, whilst leaving the data freely available to be accessed, altered, backed-up from wherever I happen to be.
I try to keep the OS partitions as vanilla as possible, with only WUD really changing them substantially, but even so the recent reorganization I mentioned was to give Vista 50Gb instead of the 25Gb I was finding it hard to manage with (restore points seldom lasted more than a few hours before being replaced)
If you're thinking of allowing 3rd party software to install in C:, I'd agree with Jake on the space allocation.
I always used this scheme when regarding games, windows, and programs.
Games go in the Data partition for several reasons. Of course they don't go in the Windows partition.
As for Programs, it might be an interesting idea to put them in their own partition, but it can get confusing when also installing MS programs. I simply use my own "Appz" folder inside the default windows "Program Files" folder and leave it at that.

You got me curious about one thing though... Doesn't your HDD get a bit slower when having 7 partitions on it?
You got me curious about one thing though... Doesn't your HDD get a bit slower when having 7 partitions on it?
I have 7 primaries (because of a special 3rd party boot manager that allows this), one extended, and three logical partitions, all on a single HDD, and have never experienced my HDD being any slower than when it had less. :smile: It still reads and writes data as fast as it did before. So I don't think the amount of partitions affect the speed of data transfer that much. I believe it has more to do with how much RPM (revolutions per minute) your hard drive has.
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The partitions are spread across 2 HDDs (so are the OSs).
Far from being slower, if you can keep the OS clean and unfragmented, you'll speed up access.
If you use the standard historic "C:\ disk with everything on it" that still seems to be deep in the psyche of companies like Adobe who can't get their heads around the fact that people install apps elsewhere, you'll end up with bits of the OS spread all around, and even a defrag won't necessarily help because the individual files might be defragmented but they're still mixed amongst all kinds of other 3rd party apps and data.
I keep the apps on their own partition to keep them from getting mixed in with the OS and slowing it down.
With plenty of RAM, that's not really the primary concern though. By keeping the HDDs tidy you stop the head-thrashing that a randomly scrambled HDD has to perform.
That keeps the possibility of a head-crash lower and prolongs the disk life and reliability.
(Remember you're talking to an old timer here. I come from an age where disk-wrecks were a regular and expensive occurrence)
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