Feb 172008

A hidden file or files on the hard disk that Windows uses to hold parts of programs and data files that do not fit in memory. The paging file and physical memory, or random access memory (RAM), comprise virtual memory. Windows moves data from the paging file to memory as needed and moves data from memory to the paging file to make room for new data. Also known as a swap file.

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.

Change the size of virtual memory (Page file size) in Vista using the following procedure

click the Start button>Control Panel

click on System and Maintenance

click on System.

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

On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click Settings.

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

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 3 times.

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

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  18 Responses to “Change the size of virtual memory (Page file size) in Vista”

  1. I trully think that in vista that setting needs to be left to windows

  2. very helping :)
    thanks alot
    i got much place freed by this pagefile ;)

  3. Hi!

    I did this change in Vista and i got a problem. My vista wont start, it wants to do a repair when i start it but when i select it, vista try to load it and it just becomes a black screen. I’ve tried to boot in safe mode but it hangs on crc.sys or something like that. Tried to boot from cd but nothing happens. please reply an answer.

    Best regards Alex

    This appears to be a very confused article. I hope no one takes the screen shot where the page file size is shown seriously. The values shown are rediculous and don’t agree with the text.

    Best advice: Set the pagefile to “System Managed Size”. Contrary to many uninformed sources, this configuration is NOT inefficient. The values chosen by Microsoft designers were not arbitary but the result of a great deal of research. The author has provided no reasons whatsoever why they should be changed.

    If you receive warnings from Windows then manually set a higher initial value. There should be no need to change the maximum value. There is no need or benefit in setting the initial and maximum values the same.

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA

  5. RE: Larry Miller/pagefile

    Larry, I agree Windows is generally good with setting the pagefile at a reasonable size, however from what I understand, when Windows has the pagefile set to “System Managed Size”, Windows automatically increases and shrinks the pagefile based on the memory load. Isn’t this bad for fragmentation of the pagefile? Wouldn’t a better alternative to “System Managed Size” be to set the pagefile to a fixed size (setting the MIN/MAX to the same size)? This fixed size could be some value within the range of what “System Managed Size” would otherwise set the size to. With a fixed size, once the pagefile is defragmented, it will never be fragmented again because it will always remain on the same location on the harddisk. Larry, what are your thoughts on this?

  6. There seems to be a great deal of confusion about what a “system managed” pagefile actually is. It is really very simple. On bootup Windows sets the initial pagefile size to 1.5 x Physical RAM with a maximum of 2 times this value. Of course, if RAM size has not changed no changes will be made. That is all “system managed” does. The pagefile does not grow and shrink according to need.

    If the initial size is adequate, no expansion or fragmentation will ever occur, even after months of heavy continuous use. In most cases the system chosen value will accomplish this.

    If the initial size should prove too small, then expansion will occur. But this is not normal operation, only a reaction to an exceptiopnal need. If this occurs during normal operatrion then the initial size should be adjusted upward. In any event this expansion is temporary, the pagefile will revert to it’s initial size during a reboot.

    A fixed pagefile is fine, provided you have quessed right about it’s size. And you had better be right. If you guess wrong, you risk severe performance problems or an application failure. If you have allowed expansion this will be prevented. A system managed pagefile has all the advantages of a fixed pagefile, yet still retains the ability to expand to meet exceptional needs. This is a completely free safety net with no performance implications unless it is actually needed.

    Windows designers have put a great deal of research into pagefile management and it has been tested more than most people can imagine. Many VERY experienced people use a system managed pagefile and are fully aware of all the arguments against it’s use. It is not just used by beginners who supposedly don’t know any better.

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA

  7. I just built a brand new AMD Phenom II 940, 8GB OCZ RAM, 1TB HD, etc… To make a long story short, the person I built the PC for plays Second Life. Using System Managed Size is not sufficient to run these for some reason. I don’t know if it’s a memory leak in the new version or what, but the PC complained Low Virtual Memory, please close programs… Yada yada. I put the virtual memory initial size to 16000MB and max size to 50000MB. So far no problems. I mean, should the max size really be limited in System Managed Size?

    John Sacul

  8. Damn useful and precise Thank u

  9. Hello Everyone! are this statement above is really a good idea or just a trick to crash a computer?..I have an Acer Laptop Vista Home Premium with 2G ram – 34 bit OS . .While im playing an Online Game with a memory of 500MB . .i opened the Windows Task Manager too see how much Ram is going to be consumed while im running those Online Game alone…im shock of what ive seen..because the proccess reaches 91% CPU Usage 66% Physical Memory 75%. .eventhough i did not open any application except that online game…i didnt even open internet browsers..i already close all applications that is hidden in my taskbar…but still Proccess didnt change.. Can Anyone help me about this?.. thanks :)

  10. Angelo, I think the RAM usage also indicates on what VGA you use. If you don’t want to change your VGA, just change the game settings to lower resolutions or lower graphic detail.

  11. Larry…thank you for your explanation of how the page file operates. I was looking at my pagefile size, which was system managed. It said the recommended size was 3067MB, which corresponds to my RAM * 1.5. However, it says my actual managed page file was somewhere around 2054 or thereabouts. Why is the pagefile size smaller than the recommended amount when the system is managing it? That was why I was assuming that the system was changing the size based on current conditions. It appears that way. There is plenty of space on the HD. The memory has never been updated. Just curious.

  12. It is my understanding that data contained in the page file is not permanent, it is just temperary holding place till it can be used by cpu like RAM, but only used when amount of RAM is insufficient. The page file is constantly changing, so wouldn’t the area set aside for paging be constantly fragmented anyways? Why would a changing size of page file have any effect on fragmentation? It is going to happen anyways. You can also see using how much use of page file is even going on using task manager. If you have sufficient RAM, you shouldn’t need a huge paging file. In this case, not using system managed size and assigning a larger amount of space than will probably ever be required is just a waste of storage space.

    Correct me if I am wrong in any way because I like to have best understanding possible.

    Please correct

  13. A very simple solution to fragmentation and performance issues is to give your page files there very own partition on your hard drive with the partition set at a minimum value of 3 x the size of your ram. Once this is done let windows manage. And turn off page file in your operating system partition.

  14. How to do this:
    1.Click on start menu and right click Computer.
    2.Select manage in the scroll down menu.
    3.Click on Disk Management in the tab menu
    4.Right click (c:) Partition, then click on shrink volume.
    5.After it computes available space,select the amount being 3 x the amount of installed ram. eg. 2g ram select 6000mb.
    6.This will then become unallocated space, right click then format as NTFS, select a drive letter and7 name page files.
    7.Once formatted follow the steps in the original thread top of this page when you get to the last screenshot,select your newly created drive then click on system managed size and hit set.
    8.Now all you have to do is select (c:) check the box that says no paging file and hit set.

    This will take about five minutes and you won’t have to worry about it again.

  15. Must be the owner of a bottle of wine opened, brandishing bottles Huan, excited.

    God saw the bottle away the lives of vulnerable ashes in an instant about to become worthless, very sorry, we ran fast, one rescued the bottle.
    Kai does not open the wine was angry owner threw aside the bottle raised his head and was disappointed to say against God; “O God! God! Why did you not allow the owner to open me?”
    God answered; “Child, I bear to see your short life ended so soon ah!”
    Upon hearing the bottle, a sigh; “Thank you, my God, I thank you for saving me, but God! You know? Greatest value in my life with open ah! Only people willing to open I drink it drink alcohol in order to better reflect the value of my existence. “

  16. you know what I don’t like about Vista? is that it’s not as fast as other OS like XP and win7. As for other reasons, I still think Vista is a lot better.

    These tweaking tips are of great help to us Vista users. I believe that best fix for memory problems is to actually to buy more RAM for the PC.

    Before reading this post though, I’ve been following a guide similar to this one which works well for me.. It also gives a step by step way on how to get into your virtual memory and adjust the settings, so you might as well wanna check it out for comparison.

  17. Wow.
    Great comments. I am studying for my Windows Tech Specialist certification.. what a great discourse.. glad I stumbled into here..
    A Mouse…

  18. great tut ,currently i exactly follow the tutorial and my it works :)

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