Controlling the Size of the Windows Page File

by Barry Dysert
(last updated October 26, 2015)

2

The Windows page file is a system file stored on your disk drive at C:\pagefile.sys. The page file is used to allow virtual memory to work correctly. (Understanding virtual memory is covered under another tip.) This file is typically sized to the amount of physical memory in your computer. So if you have 16 GB of memory in your system, the size of the page file will also be 16 GB. Windows controls this file, so it is recommended that you leave it alone.

If, for some reason, you want to control the size of the page file yourself, how you start depends on the version of Windows you are using. If you are using Windows 7, click the Start button, right-click Computer, and select Properties. A Control Panel screen appears that displays some information about your system.

If you are using Windows 8, you display the same screen by displaying the Control Panel, clicking on the System and Security link, and then clicking the System link.

Regardless of the version of Windows you are using, you should now follow these steps:

  1. At the left side of the screen click Advanced System Settings. Windows displays the System Properties dialog box; the Advanced tab should be displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box.

  3. In the Performance area of the dialog box, click the Settings button. (This is the first of three Settings buttons in the dialog box.) Windows displays the Performance Options dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Advanced tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Advanced tab of the Performance Options dialog box.

  6. Click the Change button. Windows displays the Virtual Memory dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  7. Figure 3. The Virtual memory dialog box.

  8. Clear the first check box on the dialog box. (The one that specifies Windows automatically managers the paging file size.)
  9. In the list of drives on your system, select the drive where you want a paging file located.
  10. Click the Custom Size radio button.
  11. Specify an Initial Size and Maximum Size setting, in megabytes, for the paging file.
  12. Click Set.
  13. Repeat steps 6 through 9 for each drive on which you want a paging file.
  14. Click OK and close all other open dialog boxes.
  15. Restart your system.

 This tip (12629) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Creating a System Restore Point

System restore points are created automatically at strategic times in the operation of your computer. You can also manually ...

Discover More

Changing File Explorer's Default Startup Location

The File Explorer can start in either of two locations. This tip tells you how to set its default startup location to one of ...

Discover More

ConFavor

Navigating to favorite files or folders need not be a time waster of click through a tree structure. ConFavor makes this type ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Combining Drives in Storage Spaces

Need to add some addition drive space to your system? Why not consider adding what Windows calls a 'storage space?' This tip ...

Discover More

Understanding ZIP Folders

Need to move a lot of information to someone else? The answer may be to store that information in a ZIP folder. Here's the ...

Discover More

Moving Files or Folders

A common operation within Windows is to move files and folders from one location to another. Here are the two major ways that ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 1?

2015-10-26 12:32:19

Barry

You might want to make the page file smaller to free up some disk space. I have never done this, though, so I can't comment on what it may do to your system. Best case is that it will slow it down a bit as it needs to do more paging to disk. Another likely scenario is that it may limit the number of simultaneous applications you have running. Worst case is that your system would become inoperable.


2015-10-26 12:14:28

Scott Renz

What would be possible reasons for changing the size?


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.