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I've noticed that Windows 8 sets smaller page files by default. Windows 7 systems seem to create a page file the size of the RAM (eg 4GB of RAM means that Windows makes a 4GB page file). In Windows 8 (and 10), the page file is a fraction of the RAM size- a PC with 2GB of RAM and a PC with 4GB of RAM both have a 704mb page file by default.

What is the reasoning behind this? How does Windows decide, and why is it smaller than in older versions of Windows? I haven't found much about this online at all.

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This happens because of the new dump setting "Automatic dump" in Windows 8.

The “System Managed” page file has been updated to reduce the page file size on disk, primarily for small SSDs but will also benefit servers with large amounts or ram.

The “Automatic memory dump” is not really a new memory dump type. In previous versions of Windows, we already have Mini, Kernel, and Complete memory dump options. The Automatic memory dump option produces a Kernel memory dump, the difference is when you select Automatic it allows the SMSS process to reduce the page file smaller than the size of RAM.

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