Apr 192008

The page file is an area of your hard disk that Windows uses as extra memory space to store files and data that are currently being used. Of course, since Hard drives are magnetic storage devices, and not dynamic like RAM, the data stored in the page file stays there until it is cleared or over-written.

This data may possibly contain unencrypted passwords or other sensitive information since many third party programs do not bother to encrypt data that is being passed to the memory, even though it may end up on the page file. A simple registry change can force Windows XP to clear the page file each time it shuts down. Note that enabling this will increase the time it takes your system to shutdown.

Procedure to follow

Click on Start—>Run type regedit click ok

Navigate the following key from left pane

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

From the right pane double click on ClearPageFileAtShutdown key change the Value from 0 to 1

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  2 Responses to “How to Clear the virtual memory when shutting down XP”

  1. This change may be useful in a highly secure environment. But it really only makes sense as a part of a comprehensive security policy. There are no shortcuts to security. There are other ways to access sensitive data, and usually requiring less effort, and these must also be considered. For the average user this setting is of little value.

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA

  2. I do alot of gaming on my PC and I seem to get the message about “increasing the size of the virtual memory” very often. I did some searching and found these instructions on clearing the virtual memory. Usually I hesitate to do ANYTHING that tells me to mess with the Registry!!! Actually, unless you KNOW what you’re doing, you should NEVER edit the registry. However, I gave this one a shot because it seemed like a legit website and I know just enough about the registry to get me by. So, I gave it a shot. Since I tried these instructions, I have not gotten the message about increasing the size of the virtual memory. Therefore, I give these instructions 2 thumbs up!! Oh, and it did not do anything damaging to my Registry. Thanks!!

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