Swap file

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope
Swap file

A swap file, sometimes called a page file or paging file, is space on a hard drive used as a temporary location to store information when RAM (random-access memory) is fully utilized. 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 megabytes in size. By default, swap files are hidden.

Below is a listing of common Microsoft operating system default swap file names and locations.

Operating system Swap file name Location
Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, and 11 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