How to Permanently Disable Swap in Linux

Swapping or swap space represents a physical memory page that lives on top of disk partition or a special disk file used for extending the RAM memory of a system when the physical memory fills up.

Using this method of extending RAM resources, inactive memory pages are frequently dumped into the swap area when no RAM is available. However, do to the spinning speed of classical hard disks, swap space is way lower in transfer speeds and access time compared to RAM.

On newer machines with fast SSD hard disks, reserving a small partition for swapping can greatly improve access time and speed transfer compared to classical HDD, but the speed is still more magnitudes lower than RAM memory. Some suggest that the swap space should be set as twice the amount of machine RAM. However, on systems with more than 4 GB or RAM, swap space should be set between 2 or 4 GB.

In case your server has sufficient RAM memory or does not require the use of swap space or the swapping greatly decreases your system performance, you should consider disabling the swap area.

Before actually disabling swap space, first you need to visualize your memory load degree and then identify the partition that holds the swap area, by issuing the below commands.

# free -h 

Look for Swap space used size. If the used size is 0B or close to 0 bytes, it can be assumed that swap space is not used intensively and can be safety disabled.

Check Swap Space

Check Swap Space

Next, issue following blkid command, look for TYPE=”swap” line in order to identify the swap partition, as shown in the below screenshot.

# blkid 
Check Swap Partition Type

Check Swap Partition Type

Again, issue the following lsblk command to search and identify the [SWAP] partition as shown in the below screenshot.

# lsblk
Search Confirm Swap Partition

Search Confirm Swap Partition

After you’ve identified the swap partition or file, execute the below command to deactivate the swap area.

# swapoff /dev/mapper/centos-swap  

Or disable all swaps from /proc/swaps

# swapoff -a 

Run free command in order to check if the swap area has been disabled.

# free -h
Disable Swap Partition

Disable Swap Partition

In order to permanently disable swap space in Linux, open /etc/fstab file, search for the swap line and comment the entire line by adding a # (hashtag) sign in front of the line, as shown in the below screenshot.

# vi /etc/fstab
Disable Swap Partition Permanently

Disable Swap Partition Permanently

Afterwards, reboot the system in order to apply the new swap setting or issuing mount -a command in some cases might do the trick.

# mount -a

After system reboot, issuing the commands presented in the beginning of this tutorial should reflect that the swap area has been completely and permanently disabled in your system.

# free -h
# blkid 
# lsblk 

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Matei Cezar

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4 Responses

  1. S. Daniels says:

    These instructions are rather outdated for any linux with a desktop:MATE, xfce, Gnome or KDE/Plasma. Firstly, the program Gparted very nicely displays swap size, location and UUID. “blkid”, especially on a dual-boot or system with multiple OSes is just going to display a lot of confusing and unhelpful entries.

    The KDE partitioner is inferior, but adequate. The centos-swap is fairly specific to CentOS Linux, this should be explained in the article. A swap file can also be used in place of a dedicated partition, this should also be mentioned.

    “Vi” is very much overkill for editing fstab. “Vim” is easier than “vi” for newbies in every case, and “pico /etc/fstab” or “nano /etc/fstab” are more appropriate here.

    Finally, for José , 30GB is seriously wrong. I suspect he somehow changed a data or system partition into a swap partition. He can “manage flags in Gparted” to inspect it for contents.

    I’m just a hobbyist, but have nearly 20 years experience, since a Debian bootable CD, the first Linux installation disk that did not need a floppy to boot, came out in 2000.

  2. Matei Cezar says:

    You can shrink the swap partition to a smaller size. 30G of swap is kind of large file or partition for swapping.

  3. Kunal Ghosh says:

    If there is sufficient RAM (8GB), computer may never access swap space. What is the benefit of disabling swap in this case? Conversely, how will swap cause problems if the computer never accesses it.

  4. José Luis Rosales says:

    In my case, I have 30 GB. free 0 GB. I should not disable?

    total used free shared buff/cache available
    Memoria: 7.7G 1.6G 4.6G 196M 1.5G 5.6G
    Swap—–: 30G 0B 30G

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