Virtual Memory & Page File Settings

April 1, 2009

Windows Virtual Memory system works  by writing data that won’t fit into RAM into a page file that holds the overflow. For efficient operation, the page file should be unfragmentedand positioned either on its own physical disk drive (preferably a disk that’s seldom used), or on the Windows disk but not on a drive that’s really just an alternate partition on the same physical drive as the Windows installation drive.

To configure Page File sizes and locations, you must be logged on as a Computer Administrator. Right-click My Computer and select Properties to open the System Properties dialog. Select the Advanced tab, and click the top Settings button under Performance. Select the Advanced tab and click the Change button under Virtual Memory.

After first installing Windows, there will probably be a page file located on drive C: (or the boot drive) with the System Managed Size option selected. You can create page files on more appropriate, faster drives and leave the original file as is, or delete it.

To create a new page file, select a drive letter in the upper part of the dialog and select either Custom Size or System Managed Size. If you want to prevent the page file from fragmenting, create it on a freshly formatted or defragmented drive or and set a custom initial size at 1.5 to 3 times the amount of physical RAM installed in your computer. To prevent the page file from growing or fragmenting, set its maximum size at the same amount. The new file will be created and used immediately.

If you are not sure what your system’s memory demands will be, leave the page file set to System Managed Size and let Windows manage it.

To delete a page file, select a drive letter in the upper-hand part of the dialog and select No Paging File. The file will be freed and deleted when you restart Windows.

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