What is win386.swp?

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Windows logoBelow is a listing of questions and answers to those questions relating to the Windows Win386.swp file.

Common questions

How can I change the Win386.swp file location?

Win386.swp may be stored on drive other than your operating system drive. Reasons why this may be beneficial:

  • If little or no space is available on the drive where win386.swp is located, moving the swap file can save space.
  • If a faster hard drive is installed onto the computer, moving the swap file location may help in increasing the performance of the computer.

How to move the swap file location in Windows 9x and Windows ME

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. In the System Properties, click the performance tab.
  3. Click the Virtual Memory button.
  4. Select the option "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings."
  5. Specify the hard drive where you would like the file win386.swp to reside.

After setting custom virtual memory size, file changes from C:\<windows directory> to the root of C:\ drive

This behavior is by design to help inform any individual examining the computer that a custom virtual memory setting has been selected.

After deleting the Win386.swp file, it re-appears

Windows swap file is created by Windows and if it happens to be removed, Windows should recreate the file unless it has been disabled.

When storing the Win386.swp file on a removable media device and attempting to eject the storage medium from that device errors occur or the computer freezes

Windows needs to access Win386.swp for many crucial system tasks, so the device containing this file should not be removed or ejected. Doing so will result in system errors until the disk is re-inserted.

When booting from a removable media the performance tab may show that the computer is running in MS-DOS compatibility mode

Change the location of the win386.swp file to a non-removable media.

Is Win386.swp a computer virus?

While it is not impossible for a virus to be in the Win386.swp file, it is very unlikely that you have a virus on the computer.

There are several users or so-called hackers who claim that they have infected your computer with the Win386.swp virus. This file is not a virus, but to some users it may appear to be a virus as the file grows very large in size as well and re-appears after deleting the file.

If someone claims to have sent you a virus through a chat channel, but you have not downloaded or accepted any files, they are probably trying to mislead or frighten you.

To educate yourself more on the topic computer viruses, it is recommended you review our computer virus help section.

Additional information