What is Pagefile.sys and should disable it?

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Windows uses a page file to store data when the computer’s RAM is full. While you can tweak the settings of the page file, Windows can handle the page files themselves. Windows file pages are often misunderstood. People give it a reason for slowing down the computer because it’s slower than the computer’s RAM, but having a page file is better than no file.

1. What is a file page and how it works

A file page is a file on a computer hard drive, also known as a swap file, pagefile, or paging file. It is located in C:pagefile.sys by default, but you will not see it unless you ask Windows Explorer to present these protected operating system files.

Your computer stores files, programs and other data that you are using in RAM (temporary data memory) because it reads on RAM much faster than read from the hard drive. For example, when you open Firefox, Firefox’s program files are read from your hard drive and placed in RAM. The computer uses copies in RAM rather than rereading the same file from the hard drive.

The programs that store the data that they are working on. When you view a website, the site is downloaded and stored in RAM. When you watch a video on YouTube, the video is stored in RAM.

When your RAM is full, Windows will transfer some data from RAM back to the hard drive, putting it into the page file. This file is a virtual memory. These data are written to the hard drive and read much slower than using RAM. It’s a spare memory, instead of throwing important data away or causing programs to crash, data is stored on your hard drive.

Windows will attempt to transfer unused data to the page file. For example, if you have shrunk a program for a long time and do not do anything, its data can be moved to RAM. If you zoom in on the program and notice that it takes a while to get back, it is being swapped back into the page file. You will see your computer’s hard drive lights blinking when this happens.

With enough RAM in modern computers, the average user’s computer does not use a page file. If your hard drive starts to work hard and programs start slowing down when you open a large number of programs it is a sign that your computer is using the page file. You can speed up by adding more RAM. You can also try to free up memory, for example by removing useless programs that run in the background.

2. Disable the page file to improve performance?

Some people recommend disabling the page file to speed up the computer. Because they think the page file is slower than the RAM, and if you have enough RAM, Windows will use the page file that should be using RAM, slowing down your computer.

This is not really true. Everyone has tested this theory and found that while Windows can run without a page file if you have a large amount of RAM, performance will not increase when you disable the page file. If you still want to delete, you can follow the steps below.

Step 1: Open Control Panel.

Step 2: Find and open Advanced System Setting.

Step 3: In the Perfomance section, select Setting.

Step 4: Click Change.

Step 5: Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size of each drive, select No paging file and choose another drive for System manage file.

However, disabling the page file can lead to some problems. If the programs start using all of your available memory, they will start to crash instead of being swapped from RAM to the page file. This can also cause problems when running software that requires a large amount of memory, such as a virtual machine. Some programs may even refuse to run.

In short, there is no good reason to disable page files, except you will get some hard disk space, but the potential system instability is not worth the price.

3. Manage page file

Windows will automatically manage the settings of the page file. However, if you want to adjust the page file settings, you can do this from the Advanced System Settings window. Click Start, enter Advanced System Settings on the Start menu and press Enter to open it.

Click the Settings button under Performance.

Click the Advanced tab and click the Change button in the Virtual memory section.

Windows will automatically manage the page file settings by default. Most users should not change this setting and let Windows make the best decision for you.

However, a tweak may be useful in some cases when moving a page file to another drive. If you have two separate hard drives in your computer, assuming one for the system drive with installed programs and one for data usage, transfering the page file to the data drive may be possible. Increase performance when page file is in use. This will expand the operation of the hard drive instead of focusing on a drive.

Note that this will only help if you actually have two separate hard drives in your computer. If you have a hard disk partitioned into multiple partitions, each drive has a drive letter, the performance will not increase. Whether it is partitioned or not, it is still the same physical hard drive.

In a nutshell, page files are an essential part of Windows. Even though it is rarely used, it is important that it is available for situations when programs are using a large amount of memory.

Having a page file will not slow down your computer, but if your computer is using multiple page files you probably should use some extra RAM.