Ubuntu – Sharing swap space between Windows and Ubuntu

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This Linux Swap Space Mini-HOWTO describes how to share swap space between Windows and Linux. **Do these instructions still apply to Ubuntu in 2011? How should I modify the steps for Ubuntu?

Is there a better approach to sharing swap space?**

Based on the HOWTO, it seems best to create a dedicated NTFS swap partition:

  • Dedicated so the swap file will be contiguous and remain unfragmented.
  • NTFS so both Windows and Ubuntu can read/write to it. (Or is FAT32 better for this purpose?)

Then, configure Ubuntu to prepare the swap space for use by Linux on start up; by Windows on shut down.

I want to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows 7 on my X301 laptop. However, my laptop only has a 64 GB SSD, so I would like to conserve as much disk space as possible.


update: There is an alternate method using a special driver for Windows that let you use a Linux swap partition for temporary storage like a RAM-disk, but it doesn't seem to be as good…

Best Answer

  • Windows' swap space is typically a pagefile.sys file stored on the drive. It is given an arbitrary size, and can use no more than that size.

    Ubuntu and Linux require a dedicated 'swap' partition or designated swap space. However, the swap space between Linux and Windows are not formatted correctly for each system to understand the other's swap space. This causes the limitation in the ability to share swap space. However, you don't need to share swap space. It acts on the premise of RAM: each bit of memory is filled with data and allocated as its needed. When the data there is not needed, it is marked as being able to be written over. This then means that some other program can come by and overwrite the last allocated area with new data. This cycle then continues.