I'm running Windows 7 x64 on my laptop (MacBook Pro 15") with 8 GB RAM. I have an SSD (128 GB) for storage, and as such every GB of space is pretty precious.

So, I recently noticed that the page file is taking up a full 8 GB of disk space - the same size as the physical RAM. I was wondering, is this truely necessary? I'm hesitant to completely disable the page file, but perhaps I could at least reduce it in size dramatically? Or maybe disabling it entirely would be preferable even?

  • 1
    Disabling it runs a small chance of crashing your computer. There are a couple benchmarks out there dealing with this. One specific benchmark had a 8GB/noPageFile computer that kept crashing on one test. – surfasb Jul 16 '11 at 19:45

How much page file you need is tricky. It is not only for storing stuff that gets kicked out of RAM but it also determines how much Virtual Memory Windows has. Virtual Memory usage can be really high even for processes which use relatively small amounts of actual memory.

I would not recommend turning off the page file. There are some things that make use of the page file outside of the normal memory related uses. Memory dumps during blue screens are done to the page file, for example.

There is an elegant solution to this problem though. Windows allows you to set a custom range for the page file. You can set the initial size as something small, like 512MB, and the max size to 8193MB. This way the page file will start out at 512MB, and remain at 512MB, unless Windows needs more. If Windows needs more it will grow the page file as needed, up to the limit of 8193MB. The page file will be reset back to 512MB next time you reboot.

Growing of the page file does cause it to be fragmented. This could cause performance problem on a hard drive, but with an SSD it is not a problem.

  • 1
    Turning the pagefile off has a small chance of crashing your computer. I'm not a fan of dynamic size pagefiles myself, but this is a good solution. My solution would be to just make the pagefile smaller. At minimum I would recommend 2GB. – surfasb Jul 16 '11 at 19:43
  • 1
    Windows Thin PC has pagefile disabled by default, I guess Microsoft thinks it is OK also....microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/solutions/virtualization/… – Moab Jul 16 '11 at 19:48
  • This sounds like a good suggestion. Thanks for the reply. I'm a bit worried about BSOD though. Shouldn't Windows warn me, really? If I have 8GB physical RAM and say 2GB (min.) dynamic RAM would that do me good probably? – Noldorin Jul 16 '11 at 20:39
  • Crashes is only a risk of you disable the page file entirely. Just having a dynamic page file won't cause any problems. By default Windows has a dynamic page file, it just starts out really big. Even a small page file won't cause you any problems as long as it can grow. – Mr Alpha Jul 16 '11 at 21:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.