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I have a Windows XP machine (it is a VM running in Xen) that I would like to backup. I have enabled ClearPageFileAtShutdown by following MS KB 314834. If I cleanly shutdown the XP machine and then mount the drive in another machine (which is trivial since the machine is virtual) I still have a large pagefile.sys. I was hoping that enabling ClearPageFileAtShutdown would result in a pagefile.sys with a size near zero.

I have two questions.

First, is it possible to have pagefile.sys be deleted, or have a drastic size reduction, at shutdown?

Second, can I exclude pagefile.sys from my backup?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

How to Clear the Windows Paging File at Shutdown - only means the content of pagefile.sys will be cleared, but pagefile itself will not be deleted.

can I exclude pagefile.sys from my backup? - it depends on what tool you are using and how you backup (whether you are simply backing up vhd file to a network share or you are backing machine while it's online).

is it possible to have pagefile.sys be deleted, or have a drastic size reduction, at shutdown? - yes, it can be disabled, but I wouldn't do so. You can also control its size from Advanced System settings

I would use freely-available built-in tool ntbackup to backup to a network share while machine is up and running, and it does allow to exclude pagefile.sys/hiberfil.sys

Recommendation for pagefile size is 1.5*RAM.

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As you say, I don't want to disable the page file. I am concerned that if I exclude pagefile.sys from my backup that I will not be able to restore my system. – StrongBad Nov 14 '12 at 11:23
You will be able to restore with no problems, this is not so that critical. Most advanced tools, either for SOHO or enterprise level backup solutions exclude this file by default. – Volodymyr M. Nov 14 '12 at 11:26

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