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Mac OS X has the ability to use "secure virtual memory", meaning that anything from RAM that is swapped out to disk is encrypted. This improves security by making sure no passwords / keys are ever written to disk unencrypted. It's enabled by default since 10.8

Is there something similar under Windows? (Specifically windows 7) Is it possible to encrypt the Windows page file (swap / virtual memory) under Windows?

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Starting with Windows Vista and WIndows Server 2008 this feature is now available. In an administrator command prompt (Start > All Programs > Accessories > right click Command Prompt and Run As Administrator) the following command:

fsutil behavior set encryptpagingfile 1

Will enable windows pagefile encryption. A reboot is required for this to take effect. According to InfoWorld, this is very secure, using one-time keys just like Mac OS X "Secure Virtual Memory":

In Windows 7 (and Vista), you can enable pagefile encryption. But even better: There is no key management. Windows creates and deletes the encryption keys as needed and there isn't a chance the user can "lose" the key or require a recovery event. It's crypto security at its best.

To simply check if pagefile encryption is enabled, use the command:

fsutil behavior query encryptpagingfile

To disable it, the command is:

fsutil behavior set encryptpagingfile 0

followed by a reboot. Note that this method of pagefile encryption requires that the volume on which the windows page file resides be NTFS formated.

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I had a non-standard pagefile configuration (having it on a partition not associated with a drive letter but mounted as a directory inside my other partition), that I made by directly editing the registry. That was working fine, but enabling encryption in this particular situation caused the system to restart at boot (actually because of a SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION blue screen). I used the registry editor (regedit at command prompt in the windows recovery utility) to mount the SYSTEM hive and disable encryption (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\FileSystem\EncryptPagingFile = 0). –  Ale Jan 11 at 15:29

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