Managing Virtual Memory / Pagefile in Windows 8

Your computer has two types of memory, Random Access Memory (RAM) and Virtual Memory. All programs use RAM, but when there isn't enough RAM for the program you're trying to run, Windows temporarily moves information that would normally be stored in RAM to a file on your hard disk called a Paging File. The amount of information temporarily stored in a paging file is also referred to as virtual memory. Using virtual memory, in other words, moving information to and from the paging file, frees up enough RAM for programs to run correctly.

The more RAM your computer has, the faster your programs will generally run. If a lack of RAM is slowing your computer, you might be tempted to increase virtual memory to compensate. However, your computer can read data from RAM much more quickly than from a hard disk, so adding RAM is a better solution.

If you receive error messages that warn of low virtual memory, you need to either add more RAM or increase the size of your paging file so that you can run the program on your computer. Windows usually manages this automatically, but you can manually change the size of virtual memory if the default size isn't large enough for your needs.

There is a formula for calculating the correct pagefile size. Minimum pagefile size is one and a half (1.5) x the amount of memory. Maximum pagefile size is three (3) x the minimum pagefile size. Let's say you have 2 Gb (2,048 Mb) of memory. The minimum pagefile size would be 1.5 x 2,048 = 3,072 Mb and the maximum pagefile size would be 3 x 3,072 = 9,216 Mb.

How to change the pagefile size in Windows 8

  1. Open the System Properties, press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Pause or use the Power User menu (Windows logo key Windows logo key + X) and select System.
    Managing Windows 8 virtual memory 1
  2. If you are going to use the formula above to configure your pagefile, make note of the amount of installed memory under the System category.
    Managing Windows 8 virtual memory 2
  3. In the left pane, click Advanced system settings. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  4. On the Advanced tab under Performance, click Settings.
    Managing Windows 8 virtual memory 3
  5. Click the Advanced tab and then under Virtual memory, click Change.
    Managing Windows 8 virtual memory 4
  6. Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.
    Managing Windows 8 virtual memory 5
  7. Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.
  8. Click Custom size, type a new size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) box, click Set, and then click OK.

Note: Increases in size usually don't require a restart for the changes to take effect, but if you decrease the size, you'll need to restart your computer. It is recommended that you don't disable or delete the paging file.

Managing Virtual Memory / Pagefile in Windows Vista

If your computer lacks the Random Access Memory (RAM) needed to run a program or operation, Windows uses Virtual Memory to compensate. Virtual memory combines your computer’s RAM with temporary space on your hard disk. When RAM runs low, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called a paging file. Moving data to and from the paging file frees up RAM to complete its work.

The more RAM your computer has, the faster your programs will generally run. If a lack of RAM is slowing your computer, you might be tempted to increase virtual memory to compensate. However, your computer can read data from RAM much more quickly than from a hard disk, so adding RAM is a better solution.

If you receive error messages that warn of low virtual memory, you need to either add more RAM or increase the size of your paging file so that you can run the programs on your computer. Windows usually manages the size automatically, but you can manually change the size of virtual memory if the default size is not enough for your needs.

Find out how much RAM your computer has

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a general indication of performance that is measured either in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB): the larger the number, the faster some programs will run.

To open the System Properties, press Windows logo key + Pause

Windows Vista Sytem RAM Size

In the System section, under Memory (RAM), you can view the amount of RAM your computer has.

Change the size of virtual memory

If you receive warnings that your virtual memory is low, you'll need to increase the minimum size of your paging file. Windows sets the initial minimum size of the paging file at the amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer plus 300 megabytes (MB), and the maximum size at 3 times the amount of RAM installed on your computer. If you see warnings at these recommended levels, then increase the minimum and maximum sizes.

To open the System Properties, press Windows logo key + Pause

Windows Vista Pagefile Settings 1

In the left pane, click Advanced system settings. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.


Windows Vista Pagefile Settings 2

On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click Settings.


Windows Vista Pagefile Settings 3

Click the Advanced tab, and then, under Virtual memory, click Change.


Windows Vista Pagefile Settings 4

Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.

Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.

Click Custom size, type a new size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, click Set, and then click OK. There is a formula for calculating the correct pagefile size. Minimum pagefile size is one and a half (1.5) x amount of memory. Maximum pagefile size is three (3) x minimum pagefile size. Say you have 4 Gb (4,096 Mb) of memory. 1.5 x 4,096 = 6,144 Mb would be the min. pagefile size and 3 x 6,144 = 18,432 Mb would be the max. pagefile size.

Note:
Increases in size usually don't require a restart for the changes to take effect, but if you decrease the size, you'll need to restart your computer. It is recommend that you don't disable or delete the paging file.

Managing Virtual Memory / Pagefile in Windows XP

When your computer is running low on Random Access Memory (RAM) and more is needed to complete your current task, Windows uses hard drive space to simulate system RAM. In Windows, this is known as Virtual Memory, and often called the Pagefile. The default size of the virtual memory pagefile (appropriately named Pagefile.sys) created during installation is 1.5 times the amount of RAM on your computer.

You can optimize virtual memory use by dividing the space between multiple drives and by removing it from slower or heavily accessed drives. To best optimize your virtual memory space, divide it across as many physical hard drives as possible. When selecting drives, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Try to avoid having a pagefile on the same drive as the system files.
  • Avoid putting a pagefile on a fault-tolerant drive, such as a mirrored volume or a RAID-5 volume. Pagefiles do not need fault-tolerance, and some fault-tolerant systems are slow because they write data to multiple locations.
  • Do not place multiple pagefiles on different partitions on the same physical disk drive.

#1 - Find out how much RAM your computer has

Windows XP System Properties page

To open the System Properties, press Windows logo key + Pause. In the System section, under Memory (RAM), you can view the amount of RAM your computer has.

#2 - change the size of the virtual memory paging file

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings might also prevent you from completing this procedure.

    Windows XP Pagefile Settings 1
  1. To open the System Properties, press Windows logo key + Pause

  2. Windows XP Pagefile Settings 2
  3. On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click Settings.

  4. Windows XP Pagefile Settings 3
  5. On the Advanced tab, under Virtual memory, click Change.

  6. Windows XP Pagefile Settings 4
  7. Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.
  8. Under Paging file size for selected drive, click Custom size, and type a new paging file size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) box, and then click Set. If you decrease the size of either the initial or maximum page file settings, you must restart your computer to see the effects of those changes. Increases typically do not require a restart.

Notes:

  • To have Windows choose the best paging file size, click System managed size.
  • For best performance, do not set the initial size to less than the minimum recommended size under Total paging file size for all drives. Use the following formula for calculating the correct pagefile size. Minimum pagefile size is one and a half (1.5) x amount of memory. Maximum pagefile size is three (3) x minimum pagefile size. Say you have 4 Gb (4,096 Mb) of memory. 1.5 x 4,096 = 6,144 Mb would be the min. pagefile size and 3 x 6,144 = 18,432 Mb would be the max. pagefile size.. Usually, you should leave the paging file at its recommended size, although you might increase its size if you routinely use programs that require a lot of memory.
  • To delete a paging file, set both initial size and maximum size to zero, or click No paging file. Microsoft strongly recommends that you do not disable or delete the paging file.

Managing Virtual Memory / Pagefile in Windows 7

Your computer has two types of memory, Random Access Memory (RAM) and Virtual Memory. All programs use RAM, but when there isn't enough RAM for the program you're trying to run, Windows temporarily moves information that would normally be stored in RAM to a file on your hard disk called a Paging File. The amount of information temporarily stored in a paging file is also referred to as virtual memory. Using virtual memory, in other words, moving information to and from the paging file, frees up enough RAM for programs to run correctly.

The more RAM your computer has, the faster your programs will generally run. If a lack of RAM is slowing your computer, you might be tempted to increase virtual memory to compensate. However, your computer can read data from RAM much more quickly than from a hard disk, so adding RAM is a better solution.

If you receive error messages that warn of low virtual memory, you need to either add more RAM or increase the size of your paging file so that you can run the programs on your computer. Windows usually manages this automatically, but you can manually change the size of virtual memory if the default size isn't large enough for your needs.

Change the size of virtual memory

If you receive warnings that your virtual memory is low, you'll need to increase the minimum size of your paging file. Windows sets the initial minimum size of the paging file equal to the amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer, and the maximum size equal to three times the amount of RAM installed on your computer. If you see warnings at these recommended levels, then increase the minimum and maximum sizes.

To open the System Properties, press Windows logo key + Pause

Windows 7 Pagefile Settings 1

In the left pane, click Advanced system settings. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Windows 7 Pagefile Settings 2

On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click Settings.

Windows 7 Pagefile Settings 3

Click the Advanced tab, and then, under Virtual memory, click Change.

Windows 7 Pagefile Settings 4

Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.

Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.

Click Custom size, type a new size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, click Set, and then click OK. There is a formula for calculating the correct pagefile size. Minimum pagefile size is one and a half (1.5) x amount of memory. Maximum pagefile size is three (3) x minimum pagefile size. Say you have 4 Gb (4,096 Mb) of memory. 1.5 x 4,096 = 6,144 Mb would be the min. pagefile size and 3 x 6,144 = 18,432 Mb would be the max. pagefile size.

Note:
Increases in size usually don't require a restart for the changes to take effect, but if you decrease the size, you'll need to restart your computer. It is recommend that you don't disable or delete the paging file.

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