In Windows operating systems is used the so-called swap file pagefile.sys (hidden and system, usually located on drive C), representing a kind of «extension» of the computer’s memory (or virtual memory) and providing work programs even when the physical RAM is not enough.
Windows also tries to move unused data from RAM to the paging file, and, according to Microsoft, each new version makes it better. For example, the data from the RAM collapsed and unused for some time the program can be moved to the swap file, so its eventual discovery may be slower than usual and cause the hard disk of the computer.
If you disable the paging file and small size of RAM (or if you use resource-intensive computer processes), you can get a warning message: «your computer lacks sufficient memory. To free memory for normal programs, save files, and then close or restart all open programs» or «to prevent data loss, close all applications.
By default, Windows 10, 8.1 and Windows 7 will automatically detect its parameters, however, in some cases changing the pagefile manually can help to optimize system performance, sometimes it may be expedient to disable it, and in some other situations it is best to change nothing and to leave automatic determination of the size of the paging file. This guide is about how to increase, decrease or disable the pagefile and delete the file pagefile.sys from the disc, but also about how to properly configure the page file, depending on how you use your computer and its performance. Also the article is present video instruction.
The swap file of Windows 10
In addition to the swap file pagefile.sys that was in the previous versions of the OS, in Windows 10 there is a new hidden system file swapfile.sys also located in root of the system partition and, in fact, also represents a swap file, not used for ordinary («desktop app» in Windows terminology 10), and for «Universal apps», previously called Metro applications and a few names.
A new swap file swapfile.sys required in connection with the fact that for universal apps has changed the ways of working with memory and, unlike conventional programs that use the swap file as standard RAM, the file swapfile.sys is used as the file storing the «complete» status of individual applications, a kind of the hibernation file specific applications from which they can in a short time can continue to work during treatment.
Anticipating the question of how to remove swapfile.sys its presence depends on whether a normal paging file (virtual memory), i.e. it is removed in the same way that pagefile.sys that they are interrelated.
How to increase, decrease or delete the paging file in Windows 10
Now about setting the paging file in Windows 10 and how it can be increased (although here, perhaps, it is better to just set the recommended settings of the system), to reduce, if you think you have enough RAM on your computer or laptop, or completely disabled, freeing space on your hard drive.
The paging file setting
In order to go to the settings of the paging file of Windows 10, you can just start typing the word «performance» in the search box, then select «customize view and performance».
In the opened window choose the «Advanced» tab and under «Virtual memory» click the Change button for virtual memory settings.
The default settings will be set to «Automatically select paging file size» and today (2016), perhaps this is my recommendation for most users.
The text at the end of the instructions where I explain how to properly configure the page file in Windows and what sizes to set for different size of memory, written two years ago (and now updated), though, most likely, will not bring harm, still is not what I would recommend to do for beginners. However, such an action as moving the page file to another drive, or setting a fixed size for it can make sense in some cases. Information about these nuances you can also find below.
In order to increase or decrease, i.e. to manually set the paging file size, uncheck automatically determine the size, select «Specify size» and set the desired dimensions and click «Ask». After that apply settings. Changes take effect after you restart Windows 10.
In order to disable the pagefile and delete the file pagefile.sys from the C: drive, select «No paging file» and then click «Ask» on the right and answer Yes to the resulting message and click OK.
The paging file from the hard disk drive or SSD disappears immediately, but after restarting the computer, delete it manually up to this point will not work: you will see a message stating that it is used. Later in the article there is also a video showing all of the above operations to change the pagefile in Windows 10.
How to reduce or enlarge the paging file in Windows 7 and 8
Before I talk about what the paging file size optimum for the various scenarios will show how you can change the size or disable virtual memory Windows.
To configure the settings of the paging file, go to «computer Properties» (right click on the icon «My computer» — properties»), and then in the list on the left select «system Protection». A faster way to do the same — you press Win + R on your keyboard and type sysdm.cpl (suitable for Windows 7 and 8).
In the dialog box, click the Advanced tab, and then click on «Settings» under «Performance» and also select the «Advanced» tab. Click «Change» under «Virtual memory».
It is here you can adjust your virtual memory settings:
- To turn off virtual memory
- To decrease or increase the Windows swap file
Additionally, on the official Microsoft website has instructions on how to configure the paging file in Windows 7
How to increase, decrease or disable the pagefile in Windows — video
Below is a video manual on how to configure the paging file in Windows 7 8 and Windows 10, ask its size or remove this file and move it to another drive. And after video you can find recommendations about how to correctly configure swap file.
Proper configuration of the paging file
There are many different recommendations on how to properly configure the page file in Windows from people of all levels of competence.
For example, one of the developers of Microsoft Sysinternals recommends that the minimum size of the paging file equal to the difference between the maximum amount of memory used at peak load and physical RAM. While the maximum size is the number multiplied twice.
Another common recommendation is not without reason — to use the same minimum (initial) and maximum size of the pagefile to avoid fragmentation of the file and, as consequence, decrease productivity. This is not true for SSD, but may be quite meaningful for the HDD.
Well and option settings, which have to meet more often than the others — disable the Windows swap file, if your computer has enough RAM. Most of its readers I would not recommend to do that, because in case of problems during startup or operation of the programs and games, and can not remember that these problems can be caused by disabling the paging file. However, if you have a strictly limited set of software that you use, and these programs work fine without a page file, this optimization also has the right to life.
The transfer of the paging file to another drive
One of the options settings of the paging file, which in some cases may be useful for performance — moving it to a separate hard disk or SSD. In this case we have in mind is a separate physical drive, not a partition on the disk (in the case of the transfer of the logical partition for the swap file, on the contrary, can lead to performance degradation).
How to move the paging file to another disk in Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7:
- In the settings of the paging file (virtual memory) in Windows, disable the paging file for the disk on which it is located (select «No paging file» and click «Ask».
- For the second disk, which we transfer the swap file, set the size or set it to system managed and click «Ask».
- Click OK and restart the computer.
However, if you want to move the paging file from the SSD to the HDD to prolong the lifespan of the SSD — perhaps this is to do and not worth it, unless you have an old SSD with small capacity. As a result, you will lose in performance and the longer lifetime can be very insignificant. More info —(also true for 8s).
Note: the following recommendations (in contrast to that above) was written by me about two years and in some points not quite relevant: for example, for SSD I recommend to disable the pagefile.
In various articles related to Windows optimization, one can find recommendations to disable the swap file if the RAM size is 8 GB or even 6 GB and don’t use automatic selection of the volume of the paging file. The logic of this is if you disable the paging file, the computer will use the hard disk as additional memory, which should increase performance (RAM is faster), and manual exact size of the paging file (it is recommended to specify the initial and maximum size the same), we free up disk space and remove running tasks to configure the size of this file.
Note: if you are using SSD drive, it is best to go to the trouble of setting the maximum number of RAM and completely disable the pagefile, it will extend the life of your solid-state drive.
In my opinion, this is not true in the first place, should focus not so much on the size of available physical memory, but rather on how the computer is being used, otherwise you risk to see the message that Windows is low on memory.
The author recommends reading:
- — what to do and why this is happening?
- (for watching videos and games)
Indeed, if you have 8 GB of RAM, and the computer usage is browsing and a few games, it is likely that disabling the pagefile will be a good solution (but there is a risk to encounter a message that not enough memory).
However, if you mount a video, doing photo editing in professional packages, work with vector or three-dimensional graphics, design houses and rocket engines, use a virtual machine, 8GB RAM will be enough and the swap file will be needed in the process. Moreover, by disabling it, you risk losing unsaved documents and files when there is memory pressure.
My recommendations on adjusting the paging file size
- If you are not using the computer for specific tasks, and the computer 4-6 gigabytes of RAM, it makes sense to specify the exact size of the page file or disable it. If you specify the exact size, use the same size for the «Initial size» and «Maximum size». With this amount of RAM, I would recommend to allocate 3 GB for pagefile, but other choices are possible (more on that later).
- When the size of memory 8 GB or more and, again, without any special problems, you can try to disable the swap file. In this case, keep in mind that some older programs without it may fail to start and report that there is insufficient memory.
- If you work with photos, videos, other graphics, mathematical calculations and drawings, running applications in virtual machines — it’s what you constantly do on your computer, I recommend to let Windows determine the amount of the pagefile regardless of RAM size (well, except that with 32 GB you can think about disabling).
If you are not sure how much RAM you need and what size of swap file would be correct in your situation, try the following:
- On the PC, launch all the programs that, in theory, you can simultaneously run office and Skype, open a dozen tabs of YouTube in the browser, start the game (use your scenario).
- Open the Windows task Manager while everything is running and on the performance tab, look at the size of the memory involved.
- Increase this number by 50 to 100% (exact numbers not ladies, but would recommend 100) and compare it with the size of the physical RAM of the computer.
- That is, for example, on the PC 8 GB RAM, 6 GB is used, increasing two times (100%), resulting in 12 GB. Subtract 8, set the paging file size 4 GB and can be relatively quiet because of virtual memory issues will not occur in critical cases.
Again, this is my personal opinion on the swap file, on the Internet you can find recommendations that differ from what I suggest. To follow is up to you. If you use my version, you most likely will not face a situation where the program will not run because of insufficient memory, but the option to completely turn off the swap file (which I don’t recommend for most cases) can in a positive way to affect system performance.