How to modify Paging File in Windows?

Apr 18, 2013

Want to increase paging file of your Windows XP system? A paging file is a hidden space on the hard disk, which Windows uses as if it were a RAM. When a computer runs our of RAM, paging file or virtual memory comes to rescue. Moving data from and to paging file (Pagefile.sys) frees up RAM and all open programs run smoothly. The default paging file is created during installation of Windows operating system. But the size and location of paging file can be easily modified. In fact, properly changing paging file size can help in optimizing performance of an Windows XP computer.

Microsoft Windows creates the default paging file during installation. The default calculation for 32-bit system tells that minimum paging file size is 1.5x of the actual RAM on a system. Similarly, maximum paging file size is 3 times of the RAM. So, if your computer has 1GB RAM, your default paging file or virtual memory size will range from 1.5GB to 3GB. Note: you can use more than 4GB page file with 32-bit Windows XP.

Windows XP Paging File

Steps to change Windows XP paging file:

  1. Click Start and open Control Panel.
  2. From the Control Panel items, open System.
  3. When System Properties window appears, go the Advanced tab.
  4. Under Advanced tab, look in Performance section and click Settings.
  5. Performance Options window will appear. Go to the Advanced tab.
  6. Look in the Virtual memory section. Click Change button.
  7. In the Virtual Memory window, selected drive where you want to set or edit your page file.
  8. Select Custom size, and enter a new value in the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) fields.
  9. Press the Set button, then the OK button. The system may tell that new settings will be effective after a reboot.
  10. Then press Apply. Then press OK and OK to close the open settings Windows.

Note: In order to save the settings, the system may ask you to restart your computer. Press Yes to restart your computer or No to restart later.

If your system has more RAM, naturally your programs will run fast. So, if your physical memory is low, you may want to optimize or speed up your computer by increasing paging file size. Yes, that’s possible. But don’t forget: physical memory (RAM) is always better than virtual memory and unnecessarily increase in page file size will not improve your system performance drastically. Similarly a low pagefile size may lead to errors or slow down your Microsoft Windows system. So, change or modify page file wisely.

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