What isWindows swap file

The PAGEFILE.SYS is a disc file used as Windows’ virtual memory when there is not enough RAM for all running programs. Portions of applications are temporarily stored on disc until needed. The size of the swap file in Windows can be modified through the system control panel.

Understanding PAGEFILE.SYS in Windows


PAGEFILE.SYS is a crucial component in the virtual memory system of Windows operating systems. It acts as a disc file that temporarily stores portions of running programmes that cannot fit in the computer’s physical memory (RAM).

When a computer runs multiple programmes simultaneously or opens a programme that exceeds the available RAM, the operating system moves some of the data from the RAM to the PAGEFILE.SYS on the hard disk drive (HDD) to free up the memory for other active applications.


The Windows operating system uses PAGEFILE.SYS to create a virtual memory system that expands the available memory on a computer. This expansion allows the computer to run larger applications or more programs than the actual RAM can accommodate.

The computer’s architecture and the available RAM space determine the creation and usage of PAGEFILE.SYS. When a computer needs more memory than the available RAM, the operating system pages out some inactive memory from the RAM and stores it in the PAGEFILE.SYS.

Therefore, when an application attempts to access the paged-out memory, the system retrieves it from the PAGEFILE.SYS and keeps it in RAM again. This process is called paging in and paging out.

Why Change the Size of PAGEFILE.SYS?

The size of PAGEFILE.SYS can be changed based on the RAM installed on the computer, the number of applications that will run simultaneously, or the computer’s performance requirement.

For example, if a computer has 4GB RAM and one wants to run multiple applications, it is recommended to enlarge the PAGEFILE.SYS memory limit to 8 GB. Increasing the size of PAGEFILE.SYS ensures that the computer will not stop working due to insufficient memory.

On the other hand, increasing the PAGEFILE.SYS size beyond the recommended limit may negatively impact the computer’s performance as it results in frequent paging in and paging out.

How to Change the Size of PAGEFILE.SYS?

To change the size of PAGEFILE.SYS in Windows, follow the steps below:

1. Click on the start button and open ‘Control Panel.’
2. Select ‘System and Security’ and click on ‘System.’
3. Click on ‘Advanced System Settings,’ then navigate to the ‘Advanced’ tab.
4. Under the ‘Performance’ section, click on ‘Settings.’
5. In the Performance Options window, go to the ‘Advanced’ tab, and click on the ‘Change’ button under the ‘Virtual Memory’ section.
6. Uncheck the ‘Automatically manage paging file size for all drives’ checkbox.
7. Select the C: drive (or any drive on which you want to change page file settings), choose ‘System-managed size’ or ‘Custom size,’ and set the desired page file size.
8. Click the ‘Set’ button to apply the new virtual memory settings.

The conviction

In The conviction, PAGEFILE.SYS serves as a crucial component in Windows operating system’s virtual memory system. It helps the computer perform better by temporarily storing portions of the application on the HDD when available RAM is insufficient. Although PAGEFILE.SYS plays an essential role, its size should be set appropriately to avoid negatively impacting the computer’s performance.

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