What is Windows pagefile.sys and How does it Work


Windows uses a page file to save data that can’t be held by your computer’s random-access memory when it fills up. When you can tweak the page file settings, Windows can actually manage the page file fine on its own. In this article, we are going to talk about What is Windows pagefile.sys and How does it Work. Let’s begin!

Well. the Windows page file is somewhat misunderstood. Folks see it as the cause of slowdowns because it’s slower to use the page file than your computer’s RAM, however, having a page file is better than not having one.

How The Page File actually Works | pagefile.sys

Windows Page File also called a paging file or a swap file is a file that’s used to save data temporarily. The page file then turns out to a useful when the installed RAM of your PC gets filled. The page file in Windows operating system is actually located (and hidden) at C:\pagefile.sys. However, you won’t see it unless you tell Windows Explorer not to Hide protected operating system files.


Your computer stores files, programs, and all other data that you are using in your RAM (random access memory). Because it’s much faster to read from RAM than it is to read from a hard drive actually. Such as, when you open Firefox, Firefox’s program files are read from your hard drive and then placed into your RAM. The computer uses the copies in RAM instead of repeatedly reading the same files from your hard drive.

Programs actually store the data they are working with here. When you see a web page, the web page is download and store in your RAM. When you watch a YouTube video, then that means the video is in your RAM.

Well, when your RAM becomes full, then Windows moves some of the data from your RAM back to your hard drive, placing it in the page file as well. This file is actually a form of virtual memory. When writing this data to your hard disk and reading it back later is also much slower than using RAM, it’s back-up memory. Instead of throwing potentially essential data away or having programs crash, the data is store on your hard drive.

Further | pagefile.sys

Windows will try to move data that you aren’t using to the page file. Such as, if you’ve had a program minimized for a long time and it isn’t doing anything. Then that means its data may be moved from RAM to your page file. If you maximize the program later and notice that it takes some time to come back instead of instantly snapping to life. It’s swap back in from your page file actually. You’ll see your computer’s hard disk light blinking if this happens.

With enough RAM in modern computers, the normal user’s computer shouldn’t normally use the page file in normal computer use. If you do see your hard drive start to grind away and also programs start to slow down when you have a large amount open. Then that’s an indication that your computer is using the page file – you can also speed things up by adding more RAM. You can also try freeing up memory — such as, by getting rid of useless programs running in the background.

Myth: Disable the Page File Improves Performance | pagefile.sys

Some folks will tell you that you should disable the page file in order to speed up your computer. The thinking goes like this: the page file is slower than RAM actually, and if you have enough RAM. Then the Windows will use the page file when it should be using RAM, slowing down your computer.

This isn’t really true actually. Folks have tested this theory and found that, while Windows can run without a page file if you have a large amount of RAM, then there’s no performance benefit to disabling the page file.

But, disabling the page file can result in some bad things to happen. If programs start to use up all of your available memory, then they’ll start crashing rather than swapped out of the RAM into your page file. This can also cause problems when running software that needs a large amount of memory, such as virtual machines. Some programs may even refuse to run as well.

In summary, there’s no good reason to disable the page file you’ll get some hard drive space back as well. However, the potential system instability won’t be worth it.

Manage the Page File | pagefile.sys

Windows automatically manages the page file settings for you actually. But, if you want to adjust your page file settings, then you can do this from the Advanced System Settings window. Tap Start, type Advanced System Settings into the Start menu, and click Enter to open it.

Tap the Settings button under performance. Click over to the Advanced tab and then tap the Change button in the Virtual memory section.


Windows will automatically manage your page file settings by default. Most of the users should leave these settings alone and permit Windows to make the best decision for you.

However, one tweak that may help you in some situations is moving the page file to another drive. If you have two separate hard drives in your computer, assume that one is the system drive with your programs installs on it. And one is a less-used data drive, then moving the page file to the data drive can potentially offer some increased performance when your page file is in-use. Assume that Windows will already be using the system drive if it needs to use the page file actually. This spreads out the hard drive activity rather than concentrating it on one drive.


Keep that in mind that this will only help if you actually have two separate hard drives in your computer. If you guys have one hard drive separated into multiple partitions, each with their own drive letter, then this won’t do anything. If it’s partition happen or not, it’s still the same physical hard drive actually.


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you guys like this pagefile.sys article and also find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries and issues related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: Why is ctfmon.exe Running on Your Computer

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