Image from Flickr user sebleedelisle

While many users are more than happy with the performance of their Chromebooks, there’s a handy little tweak that could make your life a little bit better if you’re a RAM hungry user – you can add a swap partition.

What is a swap partition?

A swap partition is a way to give some of your hard drive space to the Operating System, allowing it to use that space as additional RAM. While there’s more to it than that, from a basic user’s perspective the net effect of creating a swap partition has is just that – more RAM.

There are some guidelines around this and, ideally speaking, the swap partition would be created at installation of the OS. Accepted wisdom is that you should have a minimum swap space equivalent to the amount of physical RAM you have in the machine, although that assumes you’ve got the drive space to spare. Regardless of how much space you do allow the system to use for swap, you should still see a performance increase!

OK, how do I add a swap partition to my Chromebook?

Open a terminal screen (ctrl-alt-t) and type: swap enable XXXX, where XXXX is the number of megabytes of your hard drive or SSD space you’re willing to commit to the swap partition. For example, to activate a 1 GB (1024 megabytes) swap partition you’d type swap enable 1024.

ChromeOS expects the size of the swap partition to be either 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4500 or 6000 megabytes. If you use a different number, it’ll respond with an error message.

Screenshot 2013-04-18 at 10.44.55

Once you’ve activated your swap partition, it’s important to reboot the machine for the partition to be enabled.

To reverse the process and disable the swap partition, follow the same steps to open a terminal window and type swap disable. You’ll need to reboot again to fully disable the swap partition.

Be aware also that the swap space is persistent, so unless you specifically disable the swap, it will remain in place even through reboots until you do disable it.

Note: This feature is experimental, and is not officially supported by ChromeOS at this time. Much like rooting and changing ROM on your Android devices, you’re doing this at your own risk.

Have you added a swap partition to your Chromebook? Let us know how you went in the comments section!

    1 Comment
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    Enabling swap size of 2000 really helped my Acer C7 Chromebook a lot. Pages load and stay loaded, enabling faster performance within the browser all around. I’d like to add 4-8GB RAM to the existing 2GB and enable a larger swap. I wouldn’t notice quite the gain from additional swap as I would with the RAM itself, but more RAM capability can’t hurt any.