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To disable secure virtual memory in 10.7, one does the following:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.virtualMemory DisableEncryptedSwap -boolean yes

However, are there any benefits to disabling secure system memory? I'm not concerned with security as much as I 'm concerned about system speed.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

According to MacWorld, the advantage of disabling encrypted swaps should be “just a slightly less overhead on the page in & out process”.

So yes, there is a minor performance gain, but it won’t be a huge performance boost. To me, it’s not worth the security risk (of potentially having unencrypted passwords and other sensitive data in swap memory).

You’d get a much bigger performance boost if you’d disable virtual memory completely:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist

To re-enable it:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
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Thanks for your answer! I was hoping for some statistics, but I guess that's not feasible. –  sudo rm -rf Mar 24 '12 at 18:06
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Technically: you can't disable virtual memory – with OS X, there's more to VM than external swap files. Unloading the dynamic_pager daemon can boost performance but it's not without risks: see answers to Disable Mac's dynamic_pager? and to Why would I disable swap file in Mac OS X? –  Graham Perrin Apr 27 '13 at 12:13
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