Configure virtual memory or page file size in windows vista or XP to improve performance

You can manually configure virtual memory in Windows vista and windows XP by setting maximum and minimum size of paging file (pagefile.sys) and also making use of free space for storing such page files.Thereby, you can improve the performance of windows vista or windows XP.

Windows vista, XP and other windows OS use virtual memory to safeguard computers from instability and system crashes due to insufficient memory.Insufficient memory or RAM may be caused by too many resource intensive applications running simultaneously on the computer.

What is virtual memory in windows operating systems?

When you computer runs out of RAM to run a program, Windows uses the virtual memory.Virtual memory combines your computer’s RAM with temporary space on the physical hard disk.

virtual memory in windows vista or XP

How does virtual memory work in windows operating systems?

When the computer does not have enough RAM to run a program i.e. when RAM goes low on your PC, virtual memory moves unused data from RAM to some temporary disk storage space called a paging file.The default location of the page file is the root directory of the partition where Windows is installed. Swapping the data to and from the paging file, frees up RAM to complete its work.Thus, virtual memory is a temporary solution to low RAM on your computer, as your applications can continue to run smoothly.

Frequent virtual memory warnings or error messages

However, it is always better to increase RAM when you receive frequent warnings for lowvirtual memory. As a temporary solution, you can increase the size of your paging file and continue to run your programs.Though windows can automatically manage paging file size, you can also manually change the size of virtual memory, if the default size is not enough for your needs.

How to configure virtual memory in windows vista?

  • Select “Control Panel” –> “System and Maintenance” –> “System”.
  • On the left pane, choose “Advanced system settings”. Administrator privilege is required for choosing it and hence you may be prompted for an administrator password or confirmation.
  • Under “Performance” section, choose “Settings”.
  • Click the “Advanced” tab
  • Under “Virtual memory” section, click “Change”.
  • Clear the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” check box.By default windows automatically manages paging file size
  • Under Drive [Volume Label], select the appropriate the drive that contains the paging file whose size you want to change.
  • Then Click “Custom size” and type a new size in megabytes in the “Initial size (MB)” or “Maximum size (MB)” box.Both values can be set the same size.
  • Click “Set”, and then click “OK”.
  • Instead of the above two steps, you can click “System managed size”, “Set” and then click “OK”.This would make vista to dynamically manage and allocate the paging file size for the chosen drive.

Note that you can increase paging file size without a restart but decreasing the paging file size, through the custom size option, will require you to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

How to move paging file to another drive in your system?

You can move the paging file to another drive, by clicking on the “No paging file” radio button, and then selecting the “Set” button. Then choose a different drive to set a new pagefile.sys with either “custom size” or “system managed size” options.

When is system managed size useful for pagefile.sys?

System managed size option is useful for those PC users who do not want pagefile.sys to be located in the root drive of their systems, but want it to be located in another drive. However, such users can still use Vista or XP to dynamically manage and allocate the paging file size.

How to disable pagefile.sys in windows vista or windows XP?

To disable paging files in virtual memory, simply set “no paging files” in all drives. However, it is always recommended to not disable or delete the paging file.

6 comments on “Configure virtual memory or page file size in windows vista or XP to improve performance

  1. I have done this same thing in my office PC (XP) which has now become slow due to lots of programs running, mainly the office 2007.

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  2. yeah, it helps to some extent. I have done the same to my home desktop.

    Rakshit’s last blog post..Tuesday Trump #4: My Latest College Activity

  3. I am also wondering that if manually setting a virtual memory size in windows will do any good?

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  4. It seem to me that since the vista sp1 was installed it takes forever to delete a song from by library or any other dam file, i click delete and that box says time left to delete and stays there up to 2 minutes, its driving me nuts……I’m changing my virtual memory and see if it helps.

  5. This article makes the common mistake of confusing virtual memory and the pagefile. It is very unfortunate that a great deal of Microsoft documentation makes the same mistake. The pagefile is a component of virtual memory, nothing more. You can disable the pagefile but this will not disable virtual memory. Both the Windows system and the applications that is support rely on virtual memory and there is no way that it can be disabled. The situation is very diferent for the MAC with versions prior to OS X. These systems has a very simplistic form of virtal memory which could be disabled.

    Confusing Virtual memory with the pagefile will make it almost impossible to have a real understanding of either.

  6. The article does not talk about disabling virtual memory.

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