Adjusting Virtual Memory (Windows Pagefile) for increased SOLIDWORKS Performance

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE updated May 18, 2023

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We have found that explicitly setting a static size for the windows page file will assist SOLIDWORKS users upon systems where SOLIDWORKS is having difficulty with importing or exporting geometry, or handling larger assemblies.

The procedure illustrated below will raise the virtual memory ceiling onboard the system in question, and provide the operating system the extra room it needs to maneuver if it runs out of physical memory. The Virtual Memory is not used until the Physical RAM in the system has been exhausted and the system requires somewhere to hold additional information.

One of the tidbits we have discovered over the years is that SOLIDWORKS typically throws the demand for increased virtual memory at the Operating System very quickly, so quickly that it then takes time and CPU cycles for the operating system to allocate the needed amount of virtual memory, further slowing operations and often resulting in what appears to be a “Hung” SOLIDWORKS Session that is eventually “Killed” by the user via the Windows Task Manager.

Please also consider assessing the costs involved in increasing the Physical RAM on your system, as we have found this to be a very cost-effective and easy option to improve your overall performance and handle larger tasks within SOLIDWORKS.

SSD or NOT?

One item to highlight, having grown in prominence these last few years is the effect of a page file being located on an SSD drive which may be acting as the host drive for your Operating system and installation of SOLIDWORKS.

Before SSD technology was readily available you would have placed the page file on the Root of the main drive (C:\), without jeopardizing the long term safety of your HDD drive. The trade off here is that writing operations to a page file located on the HDD would have slowed performance as the HDD reacts much more slowly than RAM.

This is still true today with SSD drives however the performance is greatly increased due to the enhanced speed that SSD Drives offer. Prior fears regarding the Limited life span of SSD Drives have been put to rest by a number of independent tests. With the results being that there is a limited lifespan to SSD modern SSD Drives, however most designers will never see it during their careers.

If you are interested in reading about some of the testing performed on SSD Drives to determine the lifespan, please see the links provided at the bottom of the article.

How much RAM?

To properly adjust your virtual memory values, you will need to know how much physical memory, or RAM, is on the system.  You can find this by navigating to the System Information Dialog and locating the value for “Installed Physical Memory (RAM)”

The System Info Dialog can be found by typing “System Information” into the  Windows 11 search and opening the System Info dialog.

IMPORTANT: One question to research before attempting the following procedure is: Do I have sufficient Disk Space to make a change to the page file size?

With modern workstations and modern releases of SOLIDWORKS requiring Physical Memory (RAM) amounts of 16GB and higher, we suggest having a page file size set roughly equal to the the amount of Physical Memory (RAM) in the system up to a maximum of 64 GB. If you have more than 64GB of Physical Memory (RAM) in the system, specifying additional virtual memory (Page File Size) over and above 64GB is unlikely to yield any additional gains in performance.  If you have a small amount of Physical Memory (RAM) installed in the workstation (16GB) you may want to consider increasing the virtual memory (Page File Size) to 32GB for added maneuverability as needed.

Changing the Virtual Memory Values

  1. Open the Windows 11 System Properties Dialog by searching for and selecting  “View Advanced System Settings” using the Windows 11 Start Menu Search. This dialog may also be accessed by navigating via the Windows 11 settings app: System > About > Advanced System Settings
  2. Within the System Properties Dialog, navigate to the “Advanced” Tab, choose the “Settings…” button under the “Performance” area.
Adjusting Virtual Memory for SOLIDWORKS Performance

Accessing Virtual Memory

  1. Within the Performance Options Dialog, select the “Advanced” Tab, and find the “Change…” button under the “Virtual Memory” area.
  2. Uncheck the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” Option
  3. Select the drive where you have room and deem it appropriate to place the page file.
  4. Choose the “Custom Size” Radio Button.
  5. Enter a MAXIMUM value (Maximum Size) matching the amount of physical RAM you have in the system up to 64GB as a maximum.            (64GB would appear as 64000MB)
  6. Enter a MINIMUM value (Initial size) of 2GB less than the MAXIMUM value specified in the step above.                                                                (This will ensure that windows reporting and other diagnostic reports are correct)
  7. Choose the “Set” button
  8. Restart the Workstation to realize the changes to Virtual Memory.

 

If interested, please find some reference articles regarding SSD Lifespan testing as mentioned earlier,

(Thanks to Mark Johnson at Dassault Systems for directing us toward the reference material)

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2856052/grueling-endurance-test-blows-away-ssd-durability-fears.html

https://www.samsungsemiblog.com/memoryandssd/dispelling-myths-uncovering-truth-ssds/

Stay tuned to the Javelin Blog for many more tips regarding SOLIDWORKS and system performance!

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.