I've read a tons of articles about whether to disable or not to disable PageFile in Windows. For example: http://lifehacker.com/5426041/understanding-the-windows-pagefile-and-why-you-shouldnt-disable-it

The point to not to do it is usually, that if it is disabled and system runs out of RAM, it wil crash.

Ok, but what happens when the pagefile is enabled, but system runs out of RAM AND pagefile is also full. Will it also crash?

So is there any difference between (Windows 7 64-bit)

8 GB RAM, pagefile disabled


4 GB RAM, 4 GB pagefile

? Will one crash and the other won't if full?

Well, I mean from the operating system point of view. Not the difference that one is using a harddrive (slower) and the other one not.

  • I just tried this on one of my systems, In my case it was a single .NET application allocating 20+ GB of data for testing purposes. After a while, the program stopped allocating memory, Windows asked me to close the application, but even after hitting cancel, Windows forced the application to exit. It looks like Windows won't crash when the system "runs out of memory" but an application might. Related: "Can a full pagefile slow down my PC?". – jrh Jan 17 '17 at 20:07

The result is unpredictable, but it will be preceded by extreme lagging and/or freezing (they are different). An 8GB RAM system with no pagefile is what I used to run and would like to run, but M$ ISOs on their dreamspark state like to unpack into RAM, which makes for a problem when you download something like SQL Sever and you're using 5GB of RAM because you multitask, but I digress.

More Info

Page file disabling is typically user discretion, not to mention the article you cite is 3 years old. Three years ago I wouldn't have just disabled it, not even made it smaller. But now, with machines with +8GB of RAM I definitely turn it off. Some people recommend a page file size of 1.5x-2x the amount of RAM in the machine, but if you want a single file that generally will not be used taking up 12-16GB, go for it. If you do that much multitasking where you require a page file that size, then you probably would not want the slowness that comes with paging.

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    Well I'm in the same situation as you.. So is the result of those two scenarios the same? I mean will the pagefile save me when it is full or it has the same problem as RAM, and it only prolongs the time when the system "fails" (lagging, freezing..). – Joudicek Jouda Mar 21 '13 at 17:28
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    @JoudicekJouda The pagefile will save you when your physical RAM starts to fill up (there must be some arbitrary percentage), but Windows 7 in all it's wisdom will warn you when it hits that arbitrary mark and suggest you close programs. It is then up to you the user to decide if you want to close the suggested program, or close other programs. – MDMoore313 Mar 21 '13 at 17:34

I installed once a Windows 7 OS which for some reason required manually enabling swap. This, combined with the fact that the OS had few RAM ended up in a mess. Applications were not opening, Task Manager was showing mojibake and some sort of overflow was damaging all programs. All got fixed once I COULD manage to enable swap again. So no, it's not recommended to try this.

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