The Windows paging file is a special file that stores data that your RAM cannot hold when it reaches its limits. Your system RAM has a limit. If your system tries to exceed this limit, it can transfer some data to the paging file.
This is not the most efficient way to manage system memory. However, a swap file is essential and will keep your system in good working order.
So, here’s what a Windows 10 swap file is and how it works.
What is a page file?
Your computer has an installed amount of RAM or RAM. Not sure how much is in your system? Enter system information into the Start menu search bar. When the system information window opens, scroll down and find Installed Physical Memory (RAM). Along with this, the amount of RAM installed on your computer is indicated.
RAM contains all the information related to open programs, such as the working storage area. RAM helps keep your computer active by storing regularly used data. Plus, RAM is much faster than your old hard drive, and even faster than your SSD.
You want your RAM to be used. That is, you need enough RAM to keep your system running fast and to hold enough data that doesn’t slow you down. But if you run out of RAM, your computer may take longer to complete normal tasks.
When RAM runs out, the paging file comes into play.
A paging file (also known as a paging file) is a file on your hard drive. When your RAM fills up, Windows moves some of the extra data to the paging file. Thus, the paging file acts as a type of virtual memory, allowing data to be exchanged between the hard drive and RAM.
How does a page file work?
Windows tries to use the paging file efficiently. This means that it looks for data that you are not currently using, but is still stored in your RAM. For example, if you (like me!) Are sitting with many different application windows open but minimized, Windows may move some of the background application windows to the swap file.
Moving the data for these files frees up active RAM space for the applications you are using (potentially helping them run faster and smoother) and is easily retrieved from the paging file when you open a window.
The paging file is self-managing. You don’t have to mess around with the paging file settings except in certain situations. Typically, the paging file size is 1.5 to 3 times the installed RAM.
For example, on a system with 4 GB of RAM, the minimum is 1024x4x1.5 = 6144 MB [1 GB of RAM x Installed RAM x Minimum]. Whereas the maximum value is 1024 x 4 x 3 = 12,288 MB [1 GB RAM x Installed RAM x Maximum].
It is also not recommended to increase the paging file size to the maximum, as this can cause system instability.
Can I disable the swap file?
Can I disable the page file?
Disabling the paging file to improve system performance is a myth. If you have a system with a relatively small amount of memory, disabling the ability to transfer some data to the hard drive will only hurt overall performance (although it will save several gigabytes of hard drive memory).
In the worst case, disabling the paging file will cause programs to crash if you run out of RAM, since the extra data has nowhere to go. Malfunctioning programs can cause system instability, so it’s not worth it.
Even with 16GB of RAM installed on my computer, I keep the paging file intact!
Running Low on Virtual Memory
One of the common problems that warns people about a paging file is running out of virtual memory. You may receive an error message like this:
“Your system is low on virtual memory. Windows increases the size of the virtual memory paging file. During this process, memory requests for some applications may be denied. See Help for more information. ”
This message means that not only is your RAM full, but the paging file is breaking at the seams. Thus, you need to increase your virtual memory, such as the paging file. Remember, tampering with your swap file is not common, but this is one of the exceptions.
How to increase the paging file size
If you really need to increase the paging file size, you can manually edit it. As mentioned above, you should only do this in exceptional cases.
1. Go to Control Panel> System and Security> System, then select Change Settings.
2. Click on the “Advanced” tab. In the “Performance” section, select “Settings”.
3. Click the “Advanced” tab. Under Virtual Memory, select Change.
4. Deselect the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.
5. Increase the size of the paging file by 1.5-3 times the installed RAM. When you’re ready, click Install.
Click OK to exit the virtual memory management window. You have changed the size of the paging file.
Upgrade your RAM for better performance
Increasing the paging file size is only a temporary solution to the virtual memory problem. If you frequently reach your virtual memory limit and have to tweak the paging file, you should consider installing more RAM
Installing more RAM is a cost-effective way to improve the speed and performance of your system. What’s more, there are countless tutorials on the internet that detail how to do this! Unsurprisingly, upgrading your RAM is one way to make your PC blazingly fast!