Swap file

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Swap fileAlternatively referred to as a page file or paging file, a swap file is a file on a hard drive that is used as a temporary location to store information not being used by the computer RAM. By using a swap file, a computer can use more memory than what is physically installed in the computer. However, if the computer is low on drive space the computer can run slower because of the inability of the swap file to grow.

It is normal for the swap file or page file to grow, sometimes growing several hundred megs in size. Below is a listing of common Microsoft operating system default swap file names and locations. Finally, by default, the swap files are hidden.

Operating system Swap file name Location
Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7 PAGEFILE.SYS C:\
Windows 95, 98, and ME WIN386.SWP C:\
Windows 3.x 386PART.PAR C:\WINDOWS

Memory terms, Operating system terms, Paging, Virtual memory