Best way to disable swap in Linux

Solution 1:

  1. Identify configured swap devices and files with cat /proc/swaps.
  2. Turn off all swap devices and files with swapoff -a.
  3. Remove any matching reference found in /etc/fstab.
  4. Optional: Destroy any swap devices or files found in step 1 to prevent their reuse. Due to your concerns about leaking sensitive information, you may wish to consider performing some sort of secure wipe.

man swapoff

Solution 2:

It used to be that only swap partitions in /etc/fstab were used automatically, however, systemd may be changing that slightly. You might need to do:

systemctl mask dev-sdXX.swap

(change sdXX) to your real formatted swap partition, which, begs the question of why you have a swap partition if you don't want it used...

If you are not using systemd, then, removing the swap entries from /etc/fstab should be sufficient (as far as I know).

Maybe the real solution is to get rid of the swap partitions, so they won't be used accidentally. To remove the swap partitions, I would use fdisk to change the partition type from swap to something else, and then reformat the partition or use: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/old-swap-partition in order to zero it out and prevent its use.

See also Set up use of swap partition with systemd.

Solution 3:

If you are really sure you want to disable swapping (note: this is not recommended, even where you are pretty sure that physical RAM is more than enough), follow these steps:

  1. run swapoff -a: this will immediately disable swap
  2. remove any swap entry from /etc/fstab
  3. reboot the system. If the swap is gone, good. If, for some reason, it is still here, you had to remove the swap partition. Repeat steps 1 and 2 and, after that, use fdisk or parted to remove the (now unused) swap partition. Use great care here: removing the wrong partition will have disastrous effects!
  4. reboot

Solution 4:

On Raspbian 10 (Buster), the clean answer would be:

To disable it until the next reboot, as stated in */etc/fstab*:

sudo /sbin/dphys-swapfile swapoff

To disable swap on boot:

sudo systemctl disable dphys-swapfile

(It turns out I couldn't find that information anywhere...)

Solution 5:

On my Linux Mint box (version 19.3 (Tricia), based on Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver)) without a swap partition or without any swap at all, systemctl reported that swapfile.swap failed during every start. It could be disabled with the command:

sudo systemctl disable swapfile.swap

The swapfile.swap is a 'special' part of systemd, which you can read about in man, using the man systemd.special command.