Is it a good idea to change my Microsoft Windows page file size?
No. We highly recommend that all users let Microsoft Windows choose the best initial, maximum, and minimum settings for their virtual memory (page file). Disabling or setting the page file size too small can reduce system performance and cause instability and crashes within Windows.
What if I just doubled or tripled the page file size?
This may help with preventing instabilities and crashing with Windows. However, a hard drive read/write times are much slower than what they would be if the data were in your computer memory. Having a larger page file is just going to add extra work for your hard drive, causing everything else to run slower.
This should only be done when encountering out of memory errors as a temporary fix. For a more reliable fix, we recommend adding more memory to the computer instead of increasing the page file size.
I have plenty of RAM, should I disable the page file?
No, the page file is what helps keep your computer stable. Although you may think there is enough memory in your computer to handle all the programs it runs, you can still exceed that limit, which may cause program errors and even system crashes. Some programs also rely on there being a page file. If the page file is missing or not available, the computer will get random errors or the programs will not work.
Should I disable the page file so it can be defragged?
Many people recommend disabling the page file so that it can be defragged. While it is true that Windows Defrag will not defrag any file in use, there are Defrag utilities capable of defragging this section of the hard drive without needing to disable the page file. For earlier versions of Windows (Windows XP, NT 4.0, 2000, and Server 2003) we recommend PageDefrag, which defrags locked files including the page file as the computer boots into Windows. Later versions of Windows no longer support this utility.
I read the page file size should be 1.5x or 2x the amount of memory installed.
There are hundreds of online sites and optimization pages that claim the page file size should be 1.5x, 2x, or something similar to the amount of memory installed on your computer. However, this does not take into consideration other important factors and system settings that may be unique to your computer. Again, let Windows choose what to use instead of relying on some arbitrary formula that worked on a different computer.
Ok, but should I put the page file on another partition or drive?
On a different partition
No. Storing the page file on a different partition of the same drive as Windows increases the hard drive seek times and will reduce system performance.
On a different drive
This may deliver a slight increase in performance, however, we still recommend this for computer enthusiasts looking to tweak their computer for a minimum performance gain. If you plan on putting the page file on a separate drive, create a partition large enough for the page file on that drive and only keep the page file in that partition. For almost every Windows user, we still recommend letting Windows manage the page file on the primary drive.
I have an SSD, should I use a non-SSD for a page file?
There are people that suggest using an HDD as a second drive for a page file, reducing the overall read/writes done to the SSD, and extending the life of the drive. However, today's SSD are rated to transfer 20 GB+ of data daily for 5-years and often have a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours, which is well beyond what the average user does on their computer. Moving the page file to a slower hard drive can cause the computer to have to wait for the slower HDD to catch up to the SSD.
How about putting the page file on a USB flash drive or hard drive?
No, again this will reduce the system performance. While it is true the access times on flash memory can be faster than a hard drive, the transfer speeds over USB are much slower.
How do I see how much my page file is using?
See viewing Windows virtual memory or page file settings for further information about accessing this information.
I still want to change the page file settings.
Before changing your page file settings, make a note of the current settings so that you can change it back later if your computer is not performing well.
Ha! I've changed my page file and have seen improved performance.
Great! It's not uncommon to experience a system performance increase after changing the page file size or disabling the page file. However, as mentioned above, doing so may decrease the overall stability of the computer, so it's a good idea to be prepared to revert the changes, if necessary.
How do I change, recreate, recover the page file back to default settings?
Open the virtual memory settings and under the Change option check the "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" or "System managed size" depending on your version of Windows. Reboot the computer after changing the settings. If you are having troubles getting into Windows boot it into Safe Mode.
- How to view Windows virtual memory or page file settings.
- My computer is going slow.
- See the page file definition for further information and related links.
- Microsoft Windows help and support.