Relevant specifications

Windows 8.1 enterprise (not my choice)
128GB SSD (actual capacity: 118GB)


The laptop is used for fairly lightweight data office work. The hardest I'm ever pushing those sweet 16GB RAM is probably when running local scripts, I checked the task manager, and it says that I'm using 4.5GB RAM when running that.
Evidently, my current memory situation is pretty overkill. However, despite my best efforts to rummage through appdata junk, drive cleanup, restore point deletion, and whatnot, the best I can do is about 20GB worth of storage space on my SSD. This lack of space has been a problem in the past, as I sometimes process very large database files.
What seemed like an obvious choice to me was to tone down the pagefile, which is currently sitting at 16.3GB, of which I assume that almost none is ever used.

My considerations

Windows recommends about 5.6GB virtual memory, but I've been seeing a lot of people recommending calculations for optimal virtual memory allocation that is based on the installed RAM. I am wondering if there is a very good reason for this, or if the general assumption is just that people have the appropriate amount of RAM installed for whatever they use their PCs for. Because that clearly doesn't apply to me.
I've also read that the virtual memory is sometimes used during system failures, so I don't plan on removing the paging file completely, but I am considering to put it down to the 5.6GB that Windows so handily suggests.

Questions in summary

  • Should I chop down my virtual memory a good 10GB?
  • Is there a good reason that I shouldn't do this, reasonably assuming that I never exceed 16GB memory usage?
  • Am I overlooking something critical here?

1 Answer 1


You may reduce the pagefile, taking under consideration its following uses:

  • It needs to be large enough to contain the crash dump file created during a system crash.
  • Peak system commit charge cannot exceed the limit that is the sum of physical memory (RAM) and all page files combined, which is the total amount of memory that can be allocated to running processes.
  • It allows space for swapping out less-used pages when RAM is insufficient.

As you say that you never have a situation where more than 16 GB of memory are required, the recommended size is certainly enough to contain the crash dump file if you have not changed it from its default setting of minidump (more info).

  • Thanks. This clears up what memory dumps are. I haven't changed it from its default. You call it "minidump". Is that equivalent to what the article calls a "Kernel Dump"? EDIT: Never mind, it says a few lines further down that the default is basically the exact same as a Kernel Dump.
    – Cebbe
    Nov 1, 2018 at 11:37

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